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To consign or not to consign? That is the question?

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Inactive Etsy Member 8:26am Nov 30, 2011 EST
What is your personal opinion on the general matter?

My personal conundrum is this- A local art house found me via a local search on Etsy and they love my work and think it will sell well in their shop. They contacted me and I said I might be interested depending on terms and such. They sent me a copy of their consignors agreement and it states they would receive 35% of the sales. That seems high to me as it's close to wholesale percentages. I have had another shop approach me about consignment at 10% which I know is low but it's in a smaller town (and I completely trust them since I know them personally and know them to be of the highest moral standing) hints the low consignment percentage.

I had my head wrapped around a figure like 20%. What do you guys think?

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Inactive Etsy Member 9:06am Nov 30, 2011 EST
any opinions
I wish I could help...the consignment offers I have received were 60/40 splits...it seems that is closer to the industry standard. And, I would have to agree to sell my items here for the same price as they sell them in the shop, so no inflating to cover the disparity. I haven't decided yet.
50/50 or 60/40 seems to be normal for consignment. I count myself lucky that I found a place that does 70/30.
Imagine if you got this convo:

Can I borrow all of your inventory for a month?
Of course, YOU have to bring it over here to ME and I'm going to show it to all of my friends and let them try it on and stretch it out and stuff - my friend Lucy might get some of her red lipstick on it, but I'm pretty sure it'll wash off when I give it back to you.
Lucy's friend Michelle has sticky fingers sometimes and things tend to disappear around her but I promise I'll watch her real close if she's standing by any of your stuff.
AND - guess what?! If my friends like something and want to buy it I'll give you 60% of the price you usually sell it for. I'll just go ahead and keep the remaining 40% for myself.
And, oh, not sure yet - but I may move two states over in a couple weeks but I'll for sure remember to get your stuff back to you somehow because, of course, you won't know where to find me after I move with all of your stuff! Ha! ha!

So can I borrow all of your inventory? I'm looking to make some money but I don't want to actually spend my own money to do it. I just wanna use your stuff instead. Lemme know!

Sounds kinda silly, huh?
This is basically what consignment is.

YOU are financing someone else's shop. YOU are paying to buy supplies, make the item, and hand it all over to them to stock their shop and make it look nice and plump.
Both of those offers are very generous. Consignments are usually 60/40. Might be worth a try for a year, just to see how sales go. We went this route and discovered we could make a lot more money online. And we didn't have to deal with other people, which can sometimes complicate things.
I think that while Molly's perspective is valid, we also need to understand that a consignment arrangement allows those of us who do not have a brick and mortar shop the opportunity to display merchandise in another venue where there is already foot traffic. The shop owner is paying for the square footage, the electricity, the employees, etc. and their percentage is intended to cover that, as well as a small profit. It is not an entirely selfish undertaking.
Molly - Well said! And so true.

If you're thinking of selling on consignment - think long and hard before you give your stuff away. This is especially true for small items that typically get handled by customers.
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Inactive Etsy Member 9:21am Nov 30, 2011 EST
lol Molly! I understand all of that and it is hilarious, but I was thinking of the exposure from it... lol
the percent seems reasonable. and putting your eggs in more than one basket, i.e. selling in more than one venue, is always good. here are some things to consider: how long has the place been in business? what customer demographic shops there? does that match your customer demographic? will you get less if customers use a debit/credit card? where will your products be placed? do you need to provide display stands, etc? best of luck to you!

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