Consignment or Not? The Solution

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Original Post

Several years ago I had a brilliant solution to the question, "Do you do consignment?" and it has been very successful for me. It has enabled me to get my work into museum shops as well as boutiques.

Part of the consignment problem is that a store will always push the merchandise that they have money invested in. Secondly, they might display one's items carelessly. I've had mine stacked in a corner, not even displayed in one boutique.

After that incident, I came up with the following solution. When asked if I "do consignment", my response is to offer them a 2 for 1 deal.
Generally most shops do purchase merchandise and might not want to invest money in the "unknown" or they don't have a large budget.

Here are some fact: All items look better the larger and more unique the display is and it shows customers that the buyers of the shop like and have faith in the artist. So, if they purchase 10 items, I will leave an additional 10 on consignment. This way, the display looks much more complete and interesting and the store has invested money into selling my items. Also, I get money upfront with the potential to double my earnings. If the display attracts more attention, then there's always the chance the customer will buy some of the items left on consignment. Be very specific as to which is on consignment and which has been purchased when writing up the sale.

This has worked very well for me. Because of this setup, it gives me the excuse to stay in touch with the store owner more frequently and helps the seller figure out what is popular and selling.

Unless a shop only sells on consignment, this has worked for me every time. It becomes more of a partnership and I have often helped with the display of my items as well.

Posted at 8:10pm Jul 29, 2010 EDT


Serynanne says


This is very helpful to me. I am currently looking into consignment and this is a great starting point!

Posted at 8:13pm Jul 29, 2010 EDT

That's a really good idea! Lots of shops will also approach you and say 'well if your items do well, we'll eventually move into wholesale,' that could help remedy that a bit. I do a large amount of wholesale and often find myself unable to keep up with stocking my consignment shops, its a bummer since my items do well at many of these shops - that might be a solution! Thanks for sharing whats worked for you!

Posted at 8:13pm Jul 29, 2010 EDT

momadonnas says

Shamar-What percentage off do you offer to wholesalers? I've been wandering how to sell to shops for them to resale and make a profit for the both of us.

Posted at 10:27pm Jul 29, 2010 EDT

Hiyatoots says

good info, c

Posted at 11:18pm Jul 29, 2010 EDT

Momadonnas, That's a very difficult but excellent question. I price most of my etsy products somewhere in the middle between wholesale and retail. Generally store owners at the least Keystone the price which is doubling it. Many add more. However, you can't wholesale something if it doesn't warrant at least doubling the price for shop owners. Only you can figure out if you are making a profit from this price.
In terms of etsy, I will change the price to the retail price so that I am selling the item for the same price. This is important if you hope to continue selling to this shop in the future. Hope this helps.

Posted at 5:21pm Jul 30, 2010 EDT

If you are already doing well with these consignment shops, offer them the 2 for 1 special as a way of convincing them to move you over to their "wholesale" account. I would just have a heart to heart with your stores that you are doing well with and point out the practicality of their buying from you. It's will cut down the extra time you put in and put money in your pocket now. I would offer either the special or straight wholesale and explain to them that you can't keep up with the demand and you'd like to limit your stores. Good luck. I'd be interested to know what happens.

Posted at 5:26pm Jul 30, 2010 EDT

oddoneout says


Posted at 2:47am Aug 19, 2010 EDT

KajaDesign says

Great idea! I have been doing consignment for a couple of times, and I am not always satisfied with the outcome. If the shop does not display my things the way I want to I will have made a huge amount of things, and will get it all back again, without earning any money. And what do I do with all the things that comes back??

On the other hand, consignment that works is a great display and an awesome way of getting your designs out!

Posted at 4:27am Aug 19, 2010 EDT

Consignment seems like kind of a "foot in the door" strategy...a way to get designs out there to test their popularity. If they are flying out the door, why wouldn't a store just buy them from you outright?

Posted at 7:11pm Aug 19, 2010 EDT