So you have been painting for a while and have decided to take the plunge into consignment.
This is happening out there quite a bit apparently, as the number one question that I get asked on a daily basis is some form of this:
"How do I consign in your shop?".
There is nothing wrong with asking this, of course, but as we all know...it's not always what you say but how you say it.
I can't speak for other owners, but here are some tips from the other side of our counter.
The thing to have foremost in your mind is that you are attempting to sell yourself and your product. Act like it by treating the conversation as such and following some of these guidelines:
1. Introduce yourself. Whether via email or in person, introduce yourself! Who are you?
2. What do you do? Again, whether by email or in person, show your product. Have your portfolio ready. Send it if you are emailing your request to consign.
3. Show interest in the shop you are asking to sell your product out of. Know something about the place. Come in a time or two.
4. Be polite. ...Duh.
5. Check your timing. Ask if this is a good time to discuss your line. For example, a busy special event is not the best time to approach a harried owner about what she can do for you. Introduce yourself and express your interest in coming back at a more opportune time. This goes a LONG way. Trust me.
Now these five things seem extremely basic but literally these things have happened only a handful of times. In all of the times I have been asked. Not surprisingly, those few people are now designers here.
Every shop is different. We, for example, don't do typical consignment. I personally have three main furniture designers aside from myself that contribute to the shop and a rotation of local artists that contribute their wall pieces, jewelry, soap, and other items. Our lineup of contributing designers are part of the family, and I like to keep it small. Our shop is small, and we want to invest in a few people that we know well. It's about the stuff, of course, but even more so about the relationships we have with our family of contributors. You can have the prettiest stuff in all the land, but if you don't show, don't follow up, and show no interest or support in the business we are building...no thanks! That may sound harsh, but this is not a one way street. It's a partnership, and will be no matter where you go.
When you start hitting the shops looking for a place to call home, make sure you are prepared and do your homework. This is a business, ya'll, and there are a lot of people doing it. Make sure you talk to others that consign, get a feel for the general environment. Set your sights on where you want to be and set yourself apart from the crowd by following the five tips. Build your brand on a foundation of not just great work, but your business prowess and willingness to be a valued member of a shop's family.
Now, get on out there and wow 'em!