Sunday, 28 June 2015

Selling in a real shop, what to look out for.

The perfect gift shop

Now you have  perfected your craft making skills and you would love to get you items out there for people to buy them. It may seem perfect to get them in a real shop.  So how to go about it?  What to look out for? What are the pro's and con's?

To start with find a shop that is a good fit with your products. Don't feel you have to stick with craft shops because sometimes what you make can be a perfect fit for a different shop. Do you make slate cheeseboards? Try the local deli or cheese shop.  Do you make appliqued shoe bags? Try the shoe shop.

Before getting in touch visit the shop as a customer. Find out a bit about the shop if you can, ask around. How long has it been there? Is it busy? What do people think of it?

How long has the shop been there? Is it busy?

Then go and visit the shop to enquire if they are interested in stocking your items.  Make an appointment to see the person in charge and leave a business card.

A business card is a handy tool. Make yours eye-catching!

When you go to go to your appointment be prepared and professional. Turn up on time. Bring samples of your work. Make sure they are in a neat case or folder, not the bottom of your rucksack.
Be prepared in what you want to say about you and your work.  If you make jewellery, clothes or bags or other items you can wear, wear them. Why would anyone feel the need to stock your  items if you don't wear them yourself?

If they turn you down, don't be disheartened, just try somewhere else. It may just be that they are on the look-out for something else or they feel that it would clash with some items they already stock.

If your  items are accepted, start with just a few, never more than you can afford to lose and make sure you have an itemised receipt of all stock left on every occasion.

You need to remember that you are handing your precious, handmade, beloved stock over to a shopkeeper.  Ask yourself - do you trust this person?  This is one of the reasons why meeting face-to-face is so important.  Good communication is VITAL. This is from both  parties. Creative people are often busy with their craft and shopkeepers with their shop but it is important that both parties answer each others queries promptly and accurately.  Don't go into business with a shopkeeper who won't answer your questions!

Before handing over your stock you need assurances concerning the selling of your stock.
  • commission percentage
  • VAT collection if appropriate
  • damaged/lost or stolen stock
  • payment- where, when and how
  • return of items no longer on show
  • intervals of restocking
 Get all agreements down in writing and signed by both parties.  If the shopkeeper is unwilling to do so WALK AWAY.

Pro's of having your items in a shop

Someone does the selling for you
Products will be sold alongside other good quality items (if you choose the right shop!!!)
You may get tips and advise from the shopkeeper
Products are on view all day

Con's of selling in a shop

You will pay commission
Footfall may be low (make sure to do your homework!)
Stuff gets handled a lot - it may get damaged
Things may get stolen

Well that is it for now. The next article will be about that hot potato - PRICING.  

Please feel free to leave comments  and suggestions