Selling on consignment – from the retailer’s perspective
Part Two about Consignment! Read Part one here all about how you can decide whether or not to sell on consignment. Hint: it isn’t an easy yes or no choice.
Let’s say that you already went through the process of trying to decide whether or not to sell on consignment. And let’s say that you think that you and your line of jewelry are ready to sell on consignment and maybe even some wholesale.
Have you looked into what store owners are looking for in a relationship?
Like many jewelry artists, I had my share of bad experiences with consignment.accounts. I was prepared to turn down any future consignment agreements, and then I met the right store owner – one who showed me that we can all expect better from our business relationships.
Meet Liz Tucker, owner of Poppy in Columbia, Missouri. Liz uses so much care and integrity in her business and this shows up in the artists that she carries, the loyal clients who have shopped with her for years and most of all in the timely consignment checks that her artists receive each month.
In fact, Liz takes enormous pride in those checks:
“I love seeing the reports of how much my artists are receiving each month and I take so much pride in the fact that those checks clear!”
Her driving ethos? That you and she both succeed.
When Liz first purchased her shop from the previous owner, it was a huge and potentially risky investment. She was acutely aware, then and now, that what she bought was precious and that each and every dollar mattered, and that it mattered to her artists too. Understanding that risk is core to the way that she treats the artists’ work that she carries – and this is what she looks for in return.
She works to maintain that trust, and to make sure that her staff are looped into this ethos. Lots of her staff are artists themselves and understand how important it is to manage clients with care – everything from managing ring resizing and repairs to ensuring that each sale is rung up under the correct artist’s name.
The results show up in the numbers at the end of the year too. My jaw dropped when she told me that her loss rate—that is, the missing inventory and other inventory mistakes—is less than 1%. (Editor’s note: As a long-time retail worker, I can tell you that this figure is shockingly and impressively low).
I sat down with Liz to get her perspective on what she looks for in the artists that she wants to carry in her shop. Here, in no particular order, are some of the qualities that she looks for:
Always price your work appropriately and price it for profit!
“If I’m already selling a pair of silver hoops at $80 with no problem, and you present your line with silver hoops that retail for $40, I don’t feel incentivized to sell your $40 hoops. Ultimately this would hurt my relationship with the artist already there.”
“It would also impact my bottom line. Pricing really speaks to the longevity of the artist – if they aren’t making enough, will they still be around in a few years? You need to value your time and creativity – price it like you’re worth it!”