Artists who create handmade crafts have a variety of sales avenues available. Several of these options, such as setting up a retail store or an online business, can be cost prohibitive for some crafters. One method of selling that benefits both the artist and a retail store owner is consignment sales. When an item sells on consignment, the artist places the item in a retail store at no cost and collects payment after the item sells.
Research the businesses in your area to identify shops that you would like to carry your products. The businesses should carry complimentary products to the items that you produce. After you establish consignment sales in your area, you can look at other locations in your region.
Contact the store owners. Ask them if they are interested in consigning your products and request a meeting so they can review your product line.
Present each store owner your complete product line or the products that you would like for them to carry. Leave samples, brochures or catalogs and a price list with the store owners. If they do not immediately agree to carry your products, request their business card and follow up with them in a few weeks.
Negotiate terms of the consignment sales with the store owner. Some store owners will charge a percentage of your sales per item or they may charge a shelf space fee -- or a combination of these methods. Make sure that you understand all of the fees involved before you place your items in the store.
Complete a written consignment agreement with the store owner. The agreement should state that you are the owner of the products and request that the store’s insurance cover your products in the event that they are damaged. Keep a copy of the agreement and provide one for the store owner’s files.
Contact each store owner monthly to ask if you can provide additional assistance or new products.
Some artists use consignment as an introductory method for sales and after the initial placement sells, the retail store owner can then purchase more product with a traditional wholesale arrangement.
Your price list should include your wholesale information such as price per item, minimum purchase numbers or dollar values. While you will not use the wholesale restrictions during a consignment period, this information will be helpful to the store owner if your products sell well and he decides to convert to a traditional wholesale buyer status.
Hire an attorney to help you draft a simple consignment agreement that you can use for all of your accounts.