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Selling 101; Part 2

Here is the conclusion of my Selling 101 tips

Pricing: There are lots of different formulas available for pricing your work. Most of them don’t take the human element into account. Labor is subjective. What’s easy for one person might be hard for another. Labor also includes travel, research, advertising and anything else that goes into making your product and making it available to the public. It’s also important to take the marketplace value of your items into account. You may be able to get more in a particular location than another. I charge less in person than I do online. More work goes into my website than shows. I don’t do a lot of events so when I do I want to give people an incentive to shop directly from me.

Payments: When you get paid and how are the most important elements of any working arrangement. Find out the payment dates and methods when you get a copy of a contract before you decide if you want to sell in a particular shop. Some shops pay monthly, some will only pay you once you’ve made a certain dollar amount. Some may take rent out of what they owe you or they may invoice you rent separately. Most will either cut a check or send you a digital payment through Paypal or something similar. If you are comfortable with cash that’s fine just make sure everything is documented.

Just because you are supposed to get paid a certain way on a certain date doesn’t mean that always happens. Unfortunately, this may be one of the few things you may only find out through experience. Some new shops get overwhelmed, things happen. If not meeting their contract requirements becomes a habit, you might need to reconsider if this arrangement is worth it for you.

Fees: It takes money to make money. Always know what it’s going to cost to sell your work. Almost all events have entrance fees. You must also consider your time, and any supplies you might need like food or any special displays.

Shops have different ways of charging you. You could be charged a monthly shelf rental fee, a consignment fee when something sells or both. Some shops also deduct credit card fees. Also take note of who is responsible for paying sales tax. Most likely the shop will do it.

Communication: Always have a way to communicate with whomever you’re working with. There are usually multiple people involved in any event or shop. Some shops or events will assign you someone to contact directly with any concerns or questions. Or you may have different people handling different things. Make sure you are communicating to the right person about the right thing and that the person at the other end knows who they are communicating with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If they don’t get back you, give it some time and try again. The last thing you want is to be unprepared or end up being surprised by a requirement at showtime or a mistake on their end that you’ll have to adjust to. The worst thing that ever happened to me was when a gallery owner decided to close her gallery. Not only was I not notified, she disappeared with several hundred dollars of my inventory. This wasn’t something I could foresee, obviously. Regular contact is important from both sides of the arrangement.

Advertising: There are lots of resources online about how to advertise. The bottom line is that no matter where you sell you are going to have to do your own marketing. Do not rely on the platform/venue to do it for you. Internet platforms come and go and as the big ones get bigger the idea of “built in traffic” is getting more and more diluted. The event/shop may not know how to advertise well or might just rely on the local paper. Think of your products as a destination. How are you going to get people to want to come to you?

I would recommend doing research on your target market first. If you are selling online read about SEO. Everyone should have at least one social media account regardless of where you are selling. As always try to think outside the box. My business cards have every platform I sell on printed on them. Think about placing ads on sites/publications that cater to a market that compliments what you make as well as directly to your customers. They key is to get the most for whatever budget you set.

Goal: Each venture should have its own individual goal that fits into the big picture for your business. Figure out what purpose this endeavor is fulfilling before you take it on. Setting a financial goal can be tough. Breaking even is a good goal to start with. Also think about exposure for you brand. Are you trying to drive traffic to a website or social media account? Networking is always important. Make as many connections as you can. How many items do you want to sell? Are you trying out a new design or product? Every experience is a resource. You will always meet new people and learn new things with each new venture. Get as much as you can put of each experience.

Thanks for reading!

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