Friday, February 1, 2008

Monsters and Questions

New Valentine-y monsters! I'm trying not to make anything too specialized for holidays so that I can sell them throughout the year.


And a question for all you plushie makers...
Who sells to stores? Do you do wholesale or consignment? And how do you approach stores?

I've been approaching stores and it's pretty scary. Less so when the store owner gets excited about my work. But it's easy to psyche myself out. I'd love to be more prepared. Any suggestions?

5 comments:

Ms Frapcious said...

I'm the same way about approaching store owners so don't feel bad. I put some work in a few stores for the december holidays and it was all on consignment.
After seeing all the great work on this site I got to thinking how koooool it would be to have an Indie All Plush Store here in Atlanta.

And the not-to-valentiny-plush monster is just right.

greenstarstudio said...

hey karen- i sell my Knitimals™ in retail shops; some consignment, some wholesale. it's hard to approach a shop owner (who wants to be shot down right?!), but i've been making them and selling them on my own for almost a decade, and if i can give you some 2cents advice... if you're not totally confident in the store (like if the owner rubs you the wrong way, or says "i guess we can try a few here") i wouldn't do it. there are SO many people making so many "similar" (to the untrained consumer eye--- i mean, we can look amongst ourselves and see the truth, but not all sellers and buyers can), that if the shop owner isn't going to highlight you or do their best to show your work off in the best light, it's not really worth tying up your inventory in a place that maybe won't yield much of a sale. its also really important to KNOW the store and the clientele--- as well as being honest about the other crafters/artists selling in that shop. if your work is substantially more (or less expensive) it might stand out (and not in a good way). The one thing i've noticed here in "small-timore" (baltimore is a teeny place it seems), is that some folks who are newer to this business, or who AREN'T in it for "business" (but say, a hobby) aren't being thorough in their pricing--- they aren't marking up enough for retail overhead or to really cover their operating expenses and materials; so those of us who DO (because this is our sole income, our art & our business), suffer because those same untrained eyes see "cheap" doll over "quality". that doesn't mean, by any stretch, that expensive dolls are better than inexpensive ones, but i think it does mean that we all need to be aware of the business we are operating in. along with that, you need to be prepared to really engage in this part of art selling... it can be tough! i have some clients i have a really hard time getting money or correspondence from; and others that sell my work so fast i can barely keep up! anyway--i think you need to look at the whole "going into retail" thing as a commitment and an endeavor you're prepared for on all fronts. otherwise (and sometimes i wonder about this), you may be further ahead staying online and having ALL the control! i hope that helps. xo, danamarie

Claire said...

I so second Green Star! Listen to her.
That said, if you're looking to get your work into shops, Alicia Paulson from Posie Gets Cozy had an awesome article about selling to shops.
http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/2006/01/wholesale_retai.html

Karen's Monsters said...

Thanks Greenstar! That's great advice. And I'll have to sit down this evening and read that artice (thanks Claire). I really appreciate your responses. And if anyone else has anything to add. Keep 'em coming!

greenstarstudio said...

hey karen--- if you want to e-chat, please email me. i've been doing this for a while, and while i don't think i'm an expert, i've had enough ups and downs and things i wish i knew before hand (you know?). i'd be happy to help where i can! xo, danamarie

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