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Wibu to approach shops to sell my merchandise?

(25 Posts)
ApignamedJasper Thu 21-May-15 15:30:50

I make and sell handmade jewellery in my spare time and I've been thinking about ways I could potentially get more sales as at the moment it's pretty much been limited to talking to people I know and showing them samples but have had some interest doing this and even had a few commissions!

I live near a few towns that are quite popular with holidaymakers and I was thinking about approaching shops in these towns to as them if they would consider selling my jewellery in their stores. Not big 'named' jewellers but little independant crafty type shops (there are a lot of them in touristy towns around here!). Is this an ok thing to do? I don't want to look like a complete amateur but I'm nowhere near the stage of opening my own shop (financially etc) and I have no idea how else to go about it. Would it be rude to ask shop owners for this?

helenahandbag Thu 21-May-15 15:32:27

My friend does this with her jewellery. She sells through little boutiques and tattoo/piercing studios.

FirstWeTakeManhattan Thu 21-May-15 15:33:49

Two little gift shops near us sell local handcrafted items. I think it's fairly usual to be honest. Nothing to lose OP!

Flossyfloof Thu 21-May-15 15:36:11

I think it's a fine thing to do but can't you sort yourself out an Etsy shop? They would have to take their cut and you might find em selling your hard work for a ridiculous price of which you only get a tiny percentage.
Around here they have little cabinets in tea shops as well so if you decide to go ahead you could ask them as well as little art galleries? Best of luck it would be nice to see some pics of your work!

HubertCumberdale Thu 21-May-15 15:39:16

My workplace has a shop, and yes we are OK with people doing this. Actually we're trying desperately to get the word out that we're open to this sort of thing as we want more stock from talented people!

Just go in knowing what you're after. Do you want to sell outright to the shop? Or do sale or return etc. Have an idea of what % you want the shop to take. They may have a standard or it may be negotiable.

AuntyMag10 Thu 21-May-15 15:40:56

I think there's no harm in asking, all they could say is no.

FannyPlant Thu 21-May-15 15:41:12

I've been thinking about doing this.

slalomsuki Thu 21-May-15 15:42:38

A friend of mine does this but sells through hairdressers also which seems to be a good outlet and slightly less seasonal. She changes the range if there are special events coming up is christmas or Halloween and seems to do OK with it all.

Good Luck

suzanski Thu 21-May-15 15:49:41

I did this, but was amazed at the mark-up. Some shops wanted to buy at a third of the price they would sell! So be ready to bargain hard so you're not making your jewellery for peanuts. Why not post a pic for us?

ApignamedJasper Thu 21-May-15 15:57:04

Whew! Ok thank you MN jury, was just a bit worried shop owners might not appriciate it for some reason! Guess I'm just nervous and overthinking a bit smile

Have included some pictures, the twisty one are leather macrame bracelets with glass beads (they are samples so not quite finished off properly yet!) and the others are bracelets/necklaces/earrings made from a mixture of glass, crystal and gemstones. The long one is a re-furnished necklace that was broken and I remade it with new beads to give it a new lease of life (one of those magnetic ones that can be wrapped around to make a necklace/bracelet smile )

ApignamedJasper Thu 21-May-15 16:00:47

^re-furbished (autocorrect, sorry)

Ooh, there's some black/white freshwater pearls in there too.

Freestripe Thu 21-May-15 18:18:43

They look lovely OP!

NRomanoff Thu 21-May-15 19:55:23

I would buy these. Definitely approach shops op , it's how business is done. It's how I started my own business (not jewellery) but approached business to sell our products. Now we shave a wait list. Good luck

NRomanoff Thu 21-May-15 19:56:29

have not shave. No idea why my kindle wants to change have to shave. grin

Ceic Thu 21-May-15 20:07:29

Before you apporach potential suppliers, I suggest you prepare a few things first:-

- wholesale price list (as a PP said, they'll want to mark up by approx 50% so try to get your wholesale price to suit a typical retail price)
- a carefully-chosen list of suitable shops
- promo materials, eg business cards, website, flyer, social media pages, quality photos of stock
- samples of your work that you can carry with you and show them

Once you're prepared, go and visit them. Perhaps email or post them a letter first?

Good luck!

ApignamedJasper Thu 21-May-15 20:23:29

Some good ideas there Ceic, thank you. I had thought about doing a website/Facebook page and so on but don't have a very good camera (only have a tablet) and am having trouble getting decent photos of the stock.

I have been asked before about business cards so might make that a place to start smile

gemdrop84 Thu 21-May-15 20:45:59

Yes do it! They're lovely! I also make jewellery and sell craft supplies, beads etc and have done this myself. I'd also advise having a look at

NickyEds Thu 21-May-15 21:22:22

I did. I made finger puppets, hand puppets, craft kits among other bits for kids (pre-motherhood!).Ceic had some good suggestions. You need some business cards (these don't have to be expensive), samples, wholesale prices, supply (be realistic about how much you can give them to sell), exclusivity (I stocked three shops but they were in different towns- I also agreed not to sell the stuff that was stocked in the shop at the craft fair in that town ie I wouldn't compete with the shop at the craft fair).If you're prepared to listen to the shop owner about what they can sell you can do really well.

NickyEds Thu 21-May-15 21:24:42

Oh and packaging is far more important than you can ever imagine! Your stuff looks lovely so I'd invest some time and research into really good packaging.

Ceic Fri 22-May-15 14:07:00

YY to both your posts, Nicky!

OP - have you tried selling your products at fairs or markets?

ApignamedJasper Fri 22-May-15 15:22:37

I would like to do that Ceic but have had difficulty so far as I'm not sure where to start, plus in my local town they tend to have fairs and things on a Saturday and I work on Saturdays! It would be nice though, then I can talk to customer directly smile

Icimoi Fri 22-May-15 16:41:36

Well, that's what they do on The Apprentice.

Mind you, it may help that they come into the shop trailing a BBC Cameraman and Nick or Karen.

Dowser Fri 22-May-15 16:51:02

We make crystal gemstone chakra bracelets which I attune to reiki.

We left some with a health shop owner and sold three ( to the staff I think). We're pleased with the three we sold. It allowed OH to buy thirty pounds of new supplies.

That was in 6 months. It's a hobby or a labour of love.

We certainly won't be retiring on the profits.

It's a real shame but it's a hard market to get into.

SuperFlyHigh Fri 22-May-15 17:18:03

Yes that's absolutely fine link below is to a local gift shop where when I was in the other day they had (don't think on website though) a collaboration with a local jeweller (West or South Norwood) to do gold/silver jewellery.

I would also only because they seem nice approach suppliers like Lisa Angel (they seem to be big on handcrafted stuff and 'unique' jewellery. Also set up an Etsy shop but then you have to advertise it.

I've got a friend (Emma Ware) who does quite well but her designs are very unique. As far as I know she approaches various shops to sell her designs but like I say, her designs are extremely unique!

I'd also suggest craft markets/jewellery markets etc to get an idea of who would be interested and see if anyone actually is.

Not the same but sort of my mum's friend is a greetings card designer - again very unique but unusual and pretty, she spent ages selling cards in her local bookshop where she worked, trawling round fairs to do with cards and then eventually found several suppliers... whether through an agent or not she now sells them that way and was able to give up her bookshop job - but like I said - it takes blood, sweat and tears!

Good luck!

SuperFlyHigh Fri 22-May-15 17:21:20

OP - just seen - you need to call in favours re the camera (friend?) to take pics and also if you can't can someone else hoik your jewellery round the fairs on Saturdays?

Or earmark when fairs are held and take time off for those. All as Ceik says are good ideas but you need to decide where, when you sell them etc.

I can think eg of a few hair salons that have your sort of alternative vibe but would more than likely if approached sell your designs or think about it.

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