January 11, 2012

How To Get Your Handmade Items In Stores


Several people have asked me how they can get their products into brick and mortar stores.  I'll let you know that it's not a quick process, and rejection is common.  I don't even remember all of the shops that I approached in the beginning.  But I do know that I am very grateful for those who gave me a chance.


1.  Be sure that you are making a quality product.  If you have been working at your craft for a while, then you are probably ready to approach shops.  You don't want to be known as someone who makes a faulty product.

2.  Gather a list of shops.  You can do an online search or ask other crafters who make similar items to yours.  Some of the search terms I used in Google were "consignment shops", "handmade shops", and "list of brick and mortar handmade shops".  Check out local shops to see if your work fits in with what they sell.   Consignment stores are also a great place to start.

3.  Contact shops.  You do not want to walk into a shop unannounced.  Send out emails to the shops from the list you made stating what you sell and provide links if your work can be found online.  You might choose to attach a few photos of your items.  Make each email personal by using the shop's name.

4.  Wait for a response.  This could take some time.  In my experience, most people will reply even if it's just to thank you for your interest.  Many owners want only local artists featured in their shop, and they will let you know that.  Some shops may contact you for a face to face meeting.

5.  Know what you want from the shop.  If a consignment shop has contacted you, be sure to ask about their terms and how much they take from each sale.  You want at least a 60% (you) / 40% (them) split.  This way you won't have to raise your prices much if at all.  Also, make sure they will cover the cost of a stolen item.  Shops may also ask if you're interested in selling wholesale.

Once you've had some experience selling in one shop, it's much easier to get your items into other shops.  Before long, shops will be contacting you!  Currently, my items are selling in 4 physical shops and an online store (besides my own).

I hope these tips help you with your business! 

-Mandy


P.S.  Check back tomorrow for a really exciting giveaway!  Also if you're interested in promoting your site on this blog, visit the sponsor page.  :)