If getting your work into a retail space is part of your plan, then here you’ll find a few things to consider when approaching shops…
Research the possibilities
Make a list of the places you’d like to sell your work in, research them thoroughly. Check out the websites, do they sell on-line?. Ask about - do you know anyone who’s already got their work in the shop? Think about your work and if you think it fits the shop.
Make sure both you, and your work are tidy. Check for imperfections or marks on your work – just as you would when you pick up something to buy in a shop.
Chat about you and your work. Sometimes it helps if you can sum it up in a paragraph so the shop can pass the info onto the customer. This adds a valuable back story to your work.
Get your price right
Make sure you’ve thoroughly worked out your prices. When you’ve got multiple items, the shop will want to know your wholesale price - the price you get paid by the shop when they buy your work. Make sure you’ve done your calculations so that you’ll be making a profit and covering your costs. Generally work on the thought that a shops mark-up would be double your wholesale price plus VAT making the retail price. This mark-up is there to cover the shops costs and tax and could vary between businesses. Be open and clear about price and also take advice from the shop, they know their customers and will let you know if your price expectation is not realistic for their space.
Are they talking SOR?
Rather than buying your work from you there and then, the shop may want to take your work SOR (sale or return). Your work is displayed in the shop and they pay you when the work is bought by the customer. The shop may then want to take a percentage of the retail price as their cut – again make sure you are always covering your costs + profit. Get a receipt when leaving work with a shop, this is useful if you’re keeping track of lots of shops, then arrange a time to go back and visit to see how things are going. Be proactive with SOR. You won’t get the money upfront but you will need to check regularly for sales. Keeping in touch builds a relationship with the shop.
Are you going to need stock of the product? Consider what you would do if the shop owner asked you for several of the same item in a short time frame?…
It could happen that a shop suggests ways to make an item even more saleable. If they do – don’t take offense. Listen to their ideas, they might suggest useful ideas that could have taken you a while to discover.
Leave your mark
When dropping in without an appointment, leave a business card and/or samples if the decision maker isn’t there. Follow this up with a call to the shop to arrange a time to go in and see them.