Raleigh Small Business Women, Raleigh Crafters, Raleigh Handmade

Are You Considering Consignment?

Torrey Hill Inc is a shop located at 216 S Main Street in Fuquay-Varina that sells “handmade in NC” creations.  Vendors rent spaces to sell their creations in.  At the end of each month, each vendor receives a commission check on anything that has sold. 

If you currently sell online, or at craft shows, and are seriously considering renting a space in a local store; go to the store and see what kind of items they have.  Check to see if the items they have will fit with your items.  Are they similar in quality theme?

Call and make an appointment with the owner (or whoever is in charge).  Don’t just go in and expect the owner to stop what they are doing to talk to you about your product(s). If you didn’t previously know about the store, and simply happened upon it, please have a business card you can leave.  Also, take one of theirs.  Do not show the owner photos of your creations on your phone.  Take your time, and send some photos of your items in an email once you get home.

After you’ve made contact and have an appointment, make sure you have the following: • Photos of your work. A line sheet is a nice touch.  If you don’t know what one is, do some research • Have a website, an Etsy shop, or Facebook page for your business • Have some type of packaging/branding to make your items look professional

Everything won’t sell at every location.  I can’t tell you how many times I’m asked, “Do you think this will sell here?” Just because I like an item, and I think it should sell gangbusters, does not mean that it will.  I have no way of knowing what people will spend their money on in any given week (I’d be rich if I did – LOL).  It also takes time to build a following, and for customers to know you are at this particular store.  Some people who are new to selling in these kinds of stores, don’t understand why every one of their items didn’t sell the first month.  What sells at one store, may not do well at another.  What sells one month, may not budge the next. Sometimes it’s not what you are selling; but the color, or the price. You can’t be everything to everybody.

If you choose to rent a space with a store, help them help you.  Read your contract/paperwork.  Pay your rent on time.  Chances are, they are also paying rent and are depending upon your money to do so.  If they have a Facebook page, like them, and share their posts.  Promote the store, tell your customers about the store, and suggest they might want to shop there.  You will be helping a store that is helping you.  It’s a win-win situation.

Don’t simply put your items in the store, and not return to check your space.  You are spending good money on renting this space, and it’s important to keep it looking it’s best so that it’s pleasing to the customer to look at. Most store owners will straighten things up, but ultimately it’s your job.  You can also check to see what you are running low on if you make it a practice to go in regularly. Send the owner a head’s up email before you go in, so they know when to expect you.  If you have created something new, or want to bring in a product you haven’t brought in prior, ask the owner if that would be ok.  You don’t want to compete with another vendor. 

If you have seasonal items that haven’t sold, it’s ok to mark them down for quick sale, but don’t let them linger too long past an appropriate amount of time.  Christmas items should not still be out in March. Taking out these products can make your space look “new and fresh” and may appeal to customers who have already seen these items.

Know what you have there.  Have an inventory list, and a price for each item.  Know exactly how much commission the store keeps from each sale.  Keep up with your list, and you’ll know exactly what sells at that particular store, and you’ll know what you need to make more of.

Selling your crafts on consignment can be a rewarding experience if you do your part, communicate with the store owner, and make sure to understand what is expected from everyone involved.

Raleigh Small Business Women, Raleigh Crafters, Raleigh HandmadeBeth Newbern-Hallam owns and operates Torrey Hill Inc in Fuquay-Varina, specializing in NC handmade creations.  Beth is a member of Vend Raleigh, and more than a dozen crafter/mompreneur Facebook groups.  You can find her on Twitter , Facebook and Pinterest.

Cary Heise
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  1. Beth,

    This is great information! Thanks so much for giving the perspective of a store owner. I’ll be sure to share this article with friends!

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