On being an Artisan, part 2

The entire reason for my previous post was to inform artisans that there is always the fine print, there is always something that they are not telling you.  I did not know that there was such an unfair discrepency in the rent paying and commissions at the artisan store.  How can someone (store owner) be so stupid to not see how their negative and unfair behavior may actually annoy some people.  So here is some of what you may need to know when you consign your soap or anything else.

1. Most artists pay a commission on the sale of their product.  The average seems to be anywhere from 25% - 40%.  It is not usually any less, but may reach 50%; 

2. Find out if there are any additional hidden fees, such as advertising;

3. If you feel you need insurance for your products, you are the one that is responsible for that.  Because the store owner does not own your product, they cannot insure it;

4.  Which leads to a very important point, your product belongs to you and only you.  Nobody can tell you when you can pick up/remove your product.  They may prefer non-store hours, and you may have signed something stating non-store hours, but you take your product when you want;

5.  Do not agree to an exclusive arrangement.  This is when one business wants to be the only business in town/area to carry your product.  These are people that are being selfish and silly and are thinking rather high about themselves.  A friend of mine that makes soap consigns here products at a hair salon/gift shop, and this store owner wants an exclusive.  The thing is, if my friend could make enough money from this one store, then go for it.  But if you are making a measly few dollars then don't;

6.  Do you supply the display materials?   At my store, we had some extra supply materials that the artists were welcome to use.  We often we didn't have the right or complementary displays, so the artists would bring in their own. A nice display sells the product.

7. Do you have to have your products coded and priced?  In the beginning of our store, the artists would bring in a box of say, little stained glass items.  None priced or labeled or even ready with fishing line to hang them up.  For a couple of years we would code, label, string these items but realized it was time consuming.  And I mean, we would spend all day getting this stuff ready for sale.  So don't depend on the store owner to do all this for you.

8. Do you have to have bar codes?  Probably not, but if you are selling to any store chain they will want bar codes.  A lot of stores will have bar code machines and can make some right at the store for your product.

9. Hanging paintings or stained glass?  Make sure that the supporting hardware is strong enough and don't rely on the store owner to supply these.  We had this really nice carving at our store once, and when the front door got banged open, it caused this carving to fall off the other side of the wall and break.  This was sad really, as this was expensive, but this carving had not been hung up with proper heavy duty hardware.  Our fault, their fault?

10. People and stores that consign your products will not take care of them like you do.  I can't count the times that I have checked on my products to discover that they are covered in dust, labels ripped, bars damaged, etc.  I've had to trim these bars and put them in my dollar basket.

11.  Testers.  People like testers and if you don't supply them, they will make some for you.  For instance, I sell a bug repelling essential oil blend at the artisan store.  Now I did figure that people would open a lid to smell it, but I did not count on people opening every single bottle and using it.  Every bottle is down 10 - 20 percent of my filling it.  People don't seem to realize that this is actually stealing.   And if you do supply a Tester, people will still open the ones that are not testers.  This kept happening at our store, so we started using fluorescent yellow paper for the tester label, and this helped a little, but people would still keep opening the sealed bottles.  We then had to have a display of the essential oils and keep in the full bottles out of reach. 

12.  Signing a contract.  I would really think twice.  Perhaps sign a 2 month contract just to test the store.  Take the contract home with you first and read it carefully.  We didn't have a contract at my store, but we did give the artists an information sheet re: display materials, pay outs, etc.  And I might add, I didn't have a contract where this Dic took it upon himself to take my money to pay for his rent.

13.  I have found artists to be an interesting group of people, from every walk of life.  And I suppose like very other occupation, some have really high opinions of themselves.  One painter took his paintings from our store because we didn't "promote the artist" - being him.  Excuse me?  I'm not your mother.  This is a natural soap shop people!  I lent you space to sell your paintings that aren't selling, and somehow this is my fault?!

I did go to the artisan store last night, but the Dic was there, so I left.  I think my boyfriend and I are going to go there today after the car show today. 

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