Consignment Shop Work
Sue O’Kieffe (in a comment) recently wrote “what is your philosophy/formula for doing work on consignment? i have done shows where any sales were between buyer and seller, and no consignment fee was expected, so i was able to set my price for what i wanted and felt was fair. when i sell on consignment i never feel as good about the price because I come out on the short end, invariably. i understand about galleries needing to charge a fee because it is their business, too, but i am leery of shops who won’t buy wholesale. maybe if i had a balance of both or a majority of clients who were wholesale, then consignment wouldn’t feel so *not right* to me.”
Animals VI, Digital Â© Diane Clancy
Great question, Sue .. and one that several other people in comments expressed an interest in my answering. So here goes ….
I agree – I want to maximize my profit for selling to people. I put a lot of work into the original artwork and then in preparing the work for sale. This is true when I am uploading (and re-uploading and re-uploading) images at CafePress for people to buy merchandise with my paintings on them. It is also true when I prepare prints, cards or ACEOs for sale at Etsy, fairs, wholesale or person to person. It just plain takes me a lot of time – and materials. There is not a very high profit margin in any of it (for me anyway). Then remember to subtract Etsy and PayPal fees and this reduces the margin even more.
Wholesale sales are good because I get paid a chunk of money all at once. It is the repeat wholesale buys that are very sweet. Most of the marketing is done, I know they like my work and my product and it is fairly simple. Of course, I get only half of my usual price – since most retail is 100% markup – so I have to sell to then at 50% 0f my usual price. That leaves not much profit for me since my materials are archival and top quality.
Consignment is all over the map in terms of % in my experience. I have had a few stores (including maybe this new one) who charge me 10 – 15% markup. That is a good % from my perspective. I have some of my work at a few galleries who charge 50% commission. I don’t really care for it, but the 2 places are galleries of higher end crafts and arts where I want my work to be – for the exposure and for my resume. If a store I did not consider high end or particularly desirable, offered 50%, I would pass.
More often, it is 40% that most stores take. I can live with that because the extra 10% is my profit. Not a lot of money when talking about a $4 card, but this is the market I am in. One really big benefit is that THEY are the ones who are there and there and selling to my customers. They are the ones who are doing the advertising (for the most part) and who are paying the rent. That works for me. I have had consignment % at 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50% … all over the map. I have been offered 55 and 60% and that is a flat no!
I am going to continue talking about this tomorrow … and bring in fairs too … because that is partly what I am comparing these experiences to. There are a lot of layers to this question for me. Thank you for asking!
~ Diane Clancy
Technorati Tags: Sue O’Kieffe, consignment, CafePress, Etsy, galleries, fairs
Very interesting and clearly explained. Thank you for writing this post because this info is rarely discussed. Galleries in Austin ask for 60% (!!) and that’s not funny! One of the hardest things I suppose is to price the work and to really get what you deserve. Thanks.
Hey, ae you okay? Heard you are experiencing snow storms. Keep warm and stay creative 🙂
Great post, and love the piece below!
Also something I ran into (not selling artwork, but honey my bees made) is that on consignment your product sits there until it sells. It is not at your disposal and if you had a chance to sell it you couldn’t. Like you I dislike it.
Good for you for making your art commercial, as I am told it is a very difficult thng to do. You seem to be a canny business woman, and make sure you get the best prices!
Wow. I had no idea. This is good information to know, more for me as a buyer than as a seller currently. It makes you more aware of the struggles — and not just in making art — that artists go through.
Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative and clear response to my query. It gives me some perspective on the topic, but bottom line is I would still rather sell wholesale, especially for $4 greeting cards.
very interesting Diane, thanks for sharing!
Hi Neda, Wow! 60% that is very steep! It is a hard thing to figure out – because you also want to price things so they will sell – but it is worth your while. Thank you for the encouragement!
Hi Sandra, thank you for saying so!! I am glad to have people enjoy!
Hi Bobbie, I didn’t know you sell honey! But, yes, that would be the same thing. Also, with honey, there may be a shelf life. Luckily I use archival materials so I think they should be fine.
Hi Beverly, Thank you so so much for your encouragement!! I am glad you think I am a canny business woman. I know I try hard! If I can sell my work many times over, then it will financially work for me – and I think it also enhances people who own my artwork in various forms.
Hi Debi, Thank you so much for your comment … it really lifts me up!
Hi Sue, thank YOU for asking the question! I still want to ask you about that … with wholesale you get $2 per card, right? But you see that as a good deal?
Hi Nicola, thank you for your comment!!
~ Diane Clancy
i like the abstract work!