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  #21  
Old 06-22-06, 02:20 PM
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Hi, we're newbies to this forum and still feel like newbies ast times with our craft. My husband and I do stained and fused glass. Finding this thread was so timely for me. We quickly became so addicted that we decided to try to sell our pieces in order to be able to keep buying more supplies! So far we have done about a dozen art fairs, some high end and some not so high end..and have good results. Another artist at one of the fairs loved our work so much that he told a gallery owner about it and she wants us to bring in some examples this weekend. The info I found here will be very helpful, especially on pricing. I believe this gallery works on the wholesale plan. If I would price a piece at $100.00 for an art fair, what would be a reasonable price to expect from the gallery? Our work is very unusual and we know of no one doing anything like it in our part of the U.S. We almost always sell out of these pieces at art fairs. Thanks so much.I enjoy the forum!
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  #22  
Old 06-22-06, 11:02 PM
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Hi Everyone, What great information here! This is my first year selling through a gallery, I'm sure my work is underpriced but have the fear if it is marked any higher I'll be stuck with it. My work seems to be selling well, the gallery owner is working with me by marking the items higher to see what the market will bear. She is doing 50/50 on the consignment items so of course she wants to make the most possible. I did set up an appointment with the owner early in the season, she pointed out the pieces that most appealed to her. I left with the promise that she'd order $1000 to start which I would deliver a week before her opening (seasonal) the balance would be payable in 30 days. That left me with a couple months to work on more pieces similar in style to what she had chosen. When I arrived to deliver (with an appointment) she had a difficult time choosing because I have many different "styles" and wanted to be able to best display them in one case. I ended up leaving most of my inventory, much of it on consignment. In hindsight, I wonder if that was a mistake- why buy out of pocket when I'm willing to leave it there with no investment on her part, leaving her to invest in other artist's work. Does anyone have an opinion on this? Last year I sold to a store, they paid immediately, bought everything I could make but didn't have the knowledge or atmosphere to promote my jewelry. (think jewelry pinned to cork vs. showcases) I feel I'm in a better place now but I sure miss that instant payment to rebuild my supplies I depleted over the winter! I would so love to be able to get retail prices for my jewelry!
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  #23  
Old 06-23-06, 06:20 AM
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Baileygirl: Let's start with you. If you are selling out at every show, I have a stinking suspicion your work is underpriced. That is your best indicator, especially if your work is so unique that there are no local comps. You may want to give your prices a little nudge upward and see what happens. If everything still sells out, give another little nudge. Stained glass is an easy media to underprice - as it is heavy in labor and relatively light in materials. Be sure to pay yourself - your time is valuable.
The great thing about doing a show where you are face to face with the buyers is your ability to read their responses and adjust accordingly.
As to a wholesale price, the gallery owner is going to expect to pay $50-60 for a piece that retails for $100.
Cyndi: I think that was kind of stinky for the gallery to consign the work after the promise of wholesale. I am sure the dynamics of a seasonal shop is different and that the beginning of the season is probably a little tight, but she did make a commitment to you. And you did your best to accommodate her. I would consider it a lesson learned, but if the work is on consignment perhaps you could move it some of it elsewhere.
As far as getting retail for your jewelry - that involves a lot more work on your part. It could be art shows or a table set up on the main drag of town in front of a friend's store. Or perhaps a trunk show (which can be a lot of fun - sort of like Tupperware) either in a borrowed storefront or someone's house. You send out invitations, serve food and show off jewelry. The one-on-one contact (and peer pressure) can make this work really well. Perhaps an Open House, since you are in a seasonal area. Pick a date when a lot of people will be coming through and get the word out by posting fliers. Build a mailing list from the attendees to use for the next one so you can invite people directly. If you use e-mail, it will really keep your costs down. Studio Tours are another way to build interest if there are other artisans nearby.
I have to run - our power was out for 9 hours yesterday and I need to do last nights paperwork.
Maria
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  #24  
Old 06-23-06, 07:47 AM
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Maria- She did buy the promised amount but I'm wondering if by leaving an additional 1500. worth I spoiled my chances of her buying more soon. She has sold 10 pieces already and it's early in the season. My thoughts at the time were it's better to have the additional stock there with a chance of selling than home with me. The area that I live in doesn't really support my selling at retail. This gallery is in a tourist area several hours from me that gets a tremendous amount of visitors. I do well locally (home shows, craft fairs) with my "regular" line of jewelry which includes gemstone, mineral beads and sterling but not my own lampwork. I find locally it's very hard to get the prices I should on jewelry made with my own beads. It's a niche market for those who want one-of-a-kind pieces. I'm hoping for internet sales via my website and other online venues but it is so hard getting where you need to be in the search engines. Probably if I dared sit and do the math with time, supplies and overhead my "retail" price would be nearer to what I should be getting wholesale. I had several pieces on consignment, the owner asked how much-I told her I had to get at least $25 for this particular style, she said we'd have to work with that one, she marked them at $75 and had no problem selling it. It seems much of pricing is the experience of knowing what people will actually pay in a particular market. The gallery I'm with now has asked she be the only one I sell to in her particular area which I did agree to.
Would you recommend doing business with only one or two places (in different areas) or spreading out and doing a little (even consignment) in as many places as possible?

Cyndi
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  #25  
Old 06-23-06, 08:40 AM
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Cyndi - If she can sell all the work - perhaps it will work out. That is a lot of inventory to have tied up in one location, though.
Pricing is a very hard subject - and you do need to be consistent. I had an experience with a potter who wanted me to help him price his work. I did, and the work sold very well. Went two miles up the road to visit our competition and he had placed work there as well. No problem (different neighborhood), but the work was priced at about 2/3 of what I was selling it for (since he had them set his prices as well). I had a little talk with him and he raised his prices to match my pricing structure and his work continued to sell well until the day he died.
Most artists I know who are doing this as a living have their work in dozens, if not hundreds of places, all over the country. When I go to wholesalecrafts.com there is a place for the artist to note how many wholesale accounts they have. Accents in Glass (dichroic fused glass jewelry) has 68 accounts. Bella Originals (lampwork jewelry) has 6. Milon Townsend (lampwork sculpture) has 300. If you can support the production needed, you can certainly get your work out there to as many places as you can handle (better for production work). Or you can emphasize the exclusive nature of your work (the one of a kinds) and have a really good showing in a couple of key locations.
I have been tweaking the search engines a bit, with some success. Choose your key words and meta tags well. You can also do a little research. Punch in a search phrase that you think should bring up your work. Check out the web sites that do come up. My mouse lets me right click and bring up the source - which with a bit of digging will reveal the meta tags they used in describing their site. Very illuminating. Your computer may have a different way of doing it. If all else fails, find a geek.
Off to work!
Maria
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  #26  
Old 06-23-06, 10:38 AM
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Thanks so much Maria- lots of great info there! Off to do some following up!

Cyndi
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  #27  
Old 06-25-06, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for all the info, Very useful and informative!
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  #28  
Old 06-25-06, 03:18 PM
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You are welcome! I am glad this thread is helping and keep me posted on how you are doing.
Maria
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  #29  
Old 06-25-06, 10:09 PM
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wow thanks for this thread

such great info here. I really appreciate it. I am trying to decide where to present my aquatic series of sculpture. I dont have many, maybe 7 ready and a few parts in the kiln waiting for coral/fish/plants. What would be a minimum number to have ready before presenting a selection. I was working towards a dozen. I have no Idea why a dozen, just seemed reasonable. I was going to take a trip to the east end to get contact info for appointments and scope out where they might fit well. Seasons starting full swing next week.
Thanks for all this great info and the great questions!
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  #30  
Old 06-26-06, 06:14 AM
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I think more important than quantity is variety - to show what you are capable of doing. So, if the dozen (always a good number) shows more than just variations on the theme, you should be in good shape.
The lovely thing about aquatic work is that you can gauge pretty accurately if the work will be a good fit. And you can use vacationing friends as scouts for possible contacts in tourist areas.
Good luck!
Maria
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