If your art or craftwork lends itself to the gift market, what better place to sell a substantial portion of your inventory than through a store that has an existing customer flow. I recommend placing some of your artwork within a retail establishment as this broadens your sales opportunity. The key to making this end of your business work are the terms that you arrange with the store.
The first thing to consider - does the store attract a customer that wants to purchase your type of artwork? Go shopping in the store and see what type of merchandise the store sells. Will the store's merchandise work with your artwork? Does the mix of merchandise complement your work? Too many of your competitors for comfort?
Although I should warn you, merely looking at what the store stocks can be a little misleading. For example, a fine men's clothing store at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas displays and sells fine glass art. Although the merchandise in the store may not suggest art in any form, there exists a strong synergy between the buyer of the men's clothing and the glass art. An enormous amount of work sells through this store because the artwork is in line with the interests and tastes of the store's clothing customer.
Therefore, absolutely seek out the retail markets for your specific niche. Expand your conception of what you think are venues to sell your artwork and pursue them as well.
The second thing to consider - where in the store where your art be displayed? Will your artwork be relegated to a back shelf in a corner somewhere or will your work be given great exposure in the front of the store where people first enter? Negotiate the placement of your artwork ahead of time, and not after you've all ready committed to putting several of your pieces into the store.
The third thing to consider - the actual deal you structure with the store owner in regards to payment. There are many types of payment arrangements and any of these may work for you.
One common payment arrangement - the store will buy your artwork at a wholesale price and pay within a certain time frame, typically within 30 days of delivery.
Another common payment arrangement - a commission basis in which you are paid a percentage of the overall sale. This type of arrangement is consistent with a very common gallery arrangement, which is normally a 50/50 split.
If you find the store owner is hesitant in buying your pieces straight out wholesale, suggest a commission and in that way, the store will not loose any money should your pieces not sell. Put a time frame on this agreement, for if your pieces do not sell within that time frame you have the right to pull your pieces from the store and place them somewhere else.
The most important aspect to success is the relationship that you develop with the manager or owner of the store, and this all begins with your introduction. Make it a positive first impression! Understand their needs to create a successful business and how you can aid in their goal. Indeed, placing your artwork in a good retail location will not only increase your sales, it will also increase store sales.
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