Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Venturing into Consignment Again.....Is it worth it?

Good Sunday Morning!

Well, it has been a very busy week for me!  Firstly, I'd like to remind you that my Christmas in July Sale ends today at 6pm.  For the last week, I have offered 40% off everything in my shop.  You will automatically get the discount if you enter the coupon code CIJSALE40 at check out.  There are some GREAT deals!  I hope you have time to take advantage of them!

Secondly, I thought I'd write about consignment.  I've had some experience with putting my jewelry on consignment in the past.  And while I do currently have jewelry in a local sporting goods shop, the owner chooses to buy from me wholesale instead of contracting with me to have my jewelry on consignment.

Contracting!  That is the key work with consignment.  The first two shops I had my jewelry shown in worked with me on a verbal agreement.  Consequently, I knew what "cut" they would take but not having a contract lead to some problems.  The first problem was that I never knew when I'd be paid for the items that sold. The next problem was that I didn't know how long they would keep my jewelry on display.  In a nutshell, both shops closed.  Largely in part due to gift boutiques not doing well in a slow economy, the marking up of my jewelry to maximize their profit (but slow the sales of my pieces), and lack of good business sense and management.  I remember, at the last boutique I had my jewelry in, I sold half of my stock of Viking Rings (pearl wire wrapped rings) in the first week they were offered.  All that was left was in the same size.  The manager did not order more nor did she want me to swap out sizes.  Strange!

So, a couple of weeks ago, when I saw an advertisement for consignment I thought about it for a few days.  Right away, I knew this experience would be different due to the fact there was an application process for artists that wanted to have their work shown.  The gift shop was in our newly designed EcoPark on the Mississippi River.  I decided to try consignment again and went to work, putting together my application.  

My first thought was that I had forgotten how much work it is!  I went through files and files of the pieces of jewelry I had stocked that had a nature theme and my nature photography.  I filled out the application with an artist's statement.  I burned my digital files to disc.  I sent the application in to the EcoPark.  Within two days, I had a response. They wanted to work with me!  I was excited!  We set up an appointment for me to take in some of my pieces and put them on display.

This is what I noticed AND what you should note if you are considering consignment;

1) The manager of the gift shop was organized.  She had me set up my creations on the displays I brought.  We walked around the gift shop together to decided where best to put my jewelry.  Over the years, I have learned that display is of upmost importance.  At the last consignment shop, the display ended up looking so crowded, it could have been mistaken for a garage sale!

2) We went through the jewelry together, discussing the merits of each piece, how they would best be displayed, and which best fit the nature them of the EcoPark.

3) She had me write down the inventory in groups of the type of item (rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc), including the price and description.  Of course, I already had this information written down for her.  However, she insisted (and I agreed) that having it written on the contract was best so we BOTH had the same information!  How true!  In the past, I was always the one to provide that information to the seller.  How refreshing for me to have the shop manager want to gather the information in such an organized fashion.

4) I know, from the contract, that my jewelry will be on display for the next 60 days.  I know they will keep 30% of the sale price.  I know I will be paid the month following the sale of any items.  I know she will contact me if an item sells quickly or if they want more of a certain item.  Based on my past experience, I did not raise my base retail price for the consignment.  My items sell at the price point I have set.  We agreed it was best not to fool with that!

5) I was able to reaffirm that display is so important when agreeing to a consignment situation.  I will be able to go into the EcoPark to check on my displays and see how things are going.  I know that I want to order some more commercial looking earring cards.  The shop manager was nice enough to put my earrings in a display case.  I want to take full advantage of that and new cards would work on the display better than the plastic hang tags I have.

So, to sum it up, I am very excited about my new consignment experience.  Surely, it is a lot of work to get ready for a business agreement, such as this.  But, I'm hoping it is worth it.  It certainly was a pleasure to work with a manager so organized and efficient!  I'm very optimistic and look forward to the next 60 days!  I'm confident that the work behind consignment is worth it!

Have a Stupendous Sunday!  Thanks for stopping in!



  1. I've had some disorganized consignment deals in the past too...not good!
    This sounds like a very organized shop and the contract is definitely nice to have.
    Good luck!

  2. Thanks! I hope it is a good experience. I plan to report on it after about a month! I hope you stop back!

  3. Contracts are SO important. I'm really glad you found a shop that was organized and trustworthy!

    I had a such horrible experience with consignment that I am not sure I will ever pursue it again (though your post sounded quite safe to me). Long story short, I was under contract with a boutique owner and we had done a lot of the things you mentioned, she seemed really nice, etc...

    It ended up that I moved out of state to earn my Master's degree (the boutique is in my hometown, 12 hours away). We agreed that my jewelry would still be up in the shop. But as soon as I moved, I stopped hearing from her. I emailed her over 6 times asking about payment for my items, asking for them back, I called the boutique but she was always "unavailable". I still have not been paid for my jewelry, nor have I received it back. Unfortunately my education cost is too great for me to hire legal help to sort out the matter, so just a lesson learned... :(

    I'm so glad you wrote this post, because so many people go into consignment with the illusion that people won't try to take advantage of them. It's really helpful to see all your good points about what you should look for to do business, etc. Great post! Though I hope my tale is a word to the wise...

    Wishing you much success with the boutique!

    Erin from EBT :)

  4. Thanks for your reply. How terrible! I really could have expanded on some of the things that happened with my non-contract consignment shops. Neither ended up great, although both started well. I think it really sums it up in saying that both gift boutiques I was associated with, closed! Poor business management! And to boot, another mistake I made was that the first shop was owned by a friend and I ended up having to ask to be paid! The second shop was owned by an acquaintance of my husband. So, this is truly a business arrangement! I'm hoping it has a better outcome.

    As for your experience, I applaud you for sharing it with others. It sounds like you really learned from the experience. I wish you well with your education and congratulate you for putting that first!

    Please stop back! I enjoyed hearing from you!

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