I get a lot of questions around how to sell your work. So today I thought I would tackle the “how do you find the right stores to sell your work?”
It is easy, and not so easy. The process is easy. The work and follow through isn’t. So if you want to go this route buckle up for the ride.
There are three main ways to get your work into stores. I am not talking about consignment here, but rather you sell to the store at a wholesale price and they in turn sell to the public at retail.
1) You can get a rep. who works directly with the stores presenting your work and getting orders for your business. This might sound like an easy route but… you first have to have an established number of accounts for a rep to even look at you. They need to know your work is selling, the types of stores your work is selling through, and if it is a match for the stores and markets they work in. Finding a good rep can be a difficult process and they are generally going to work the hardest for their clients that pull in the most dollars.
2) You can participate in a trade show where buyers come in and see your work, start to get to know you, and possibly write an order. Most buyers need to see your work multiple times before they buy unless you have a very unique product. These touch points don’t necessarily all need to be at a trade show, some of it can be through your marketing. So you still need to know what stores are a good match for your product and you want to sell to. The down side of trade shows, are most are very expensive to attend and you need to do a lot of pre-work and follow-up.
3) You can go direct to stores. To find stores you want to court it is easiest to either find another artist where your work would be complementary to their work in the same shop. This can be an artist in the same medium or different. For example, you could find another jewelry artist who has similar work, in the sense that it would appeal to a similar market or a fashion label that your jewelry works really well with. Once you have an artist’s name, find out what stores sell their work. Then see who else those stores sell and then who sells their work. Fanning out this way you can quickly come up with a list of stores to begin contacting.
As you have probably noticed all of these methods can take a lot of work and you need to be ready to put yourself out there and hear a lot of no’s. No doesn’t mean never, it just means not right now. There can be a lot of reasons which don’t have anything to do with your work as to why you might receive a no now from a shop but later will turn into a yes.
But as I am sure you have heard me say in the past, before you do any of this, make sure you have your pricing correct so you can sell at wholesale and make money. And make sure if you do any art/craft shows or online selling your retail prices never undercut your wholesale customers.