Home » Bootstrapping, Branding, Business, Consignment, Marketing, Sales, Startup

How to boost sales with consignment

6 February 2013 10 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

Are you looking for a mid-season boost to get into a few more stores? A great way to break into stores is to offer your products on consignment. I did this when I first started my handbag line, and again when I launched Simply Sarah.  I wanted to be in Jennifer Kaufman, Lisa Klein and Fred Segal (hip stores in Los Angeles) so badly that I offered them consignment and it worked!  They were totally on board since they didn't have to lay out the cash for my bags, and when they started to sell like hotcakes, they became lifelong paying clients.  When launching my Handy Hold All ®, I had a lot of explaining to do about the product so sometimes it was just easier to send 6 units and let them see what their customers had to say – it worked every time.  

If you are willing to stand behind your product, and really believe in it, so will the buyers.

Here are a few things to be aware of to be sure you get paid when doing consignment:

  1. Be certain of the stores clientele and give them the proper items so they sell well – not all designs sell well in every store.
  2. Be sure to make a real invoice for your items so it is clear what you expect to be paid.
  3. Make arrangements to follow up after 30 days and let them know that you expect to be paid at that time for what has sold.
  4. If sales are going well, then restock the store and start again with a clean invoice each time so things don't get messy.
  5. The only downside is that they can be slow to pay, or that the items are all returned to you because they didn’t sell.  But that most likely won't happen if you do our research.

All in all, I see it as a win win – if they do sell, you have a lifelong customer, and if they don't you, you probably got new eyes on your stuff anyhow…….which will pay off eventually!

Homework:  Call 5 stores this week that you want to be in and get them to take a few items on consignment.

Share

10 Comments »

  • Bethany said:

    I’ve only done consignment once with a small local retailer – not a large out of town one like Fred Segal (which I would LOVE to be in). How do you really keep accurate tabs on them at the 30-day interval? Did you send someone in to do a physical inventory? Did you follow up with them by phone? If I’m 1000 miles away, how do I avoid being taken advantage of.

  • Nicole said:

    I have a line of essential oils for dogs. I am hoping to get into small pet stores and even health food stores. What should I ask the store owner or discuss as far as how much I should make? How do you determine this-example:

    If I sell an item for $10, how much will the store keep?

  • Bhavna Patel said:

    Thank you for sharing Sarah. Some blogs say don’t do consignment but I think a mix of consignment and wholesale could be a good balance.

  • Anna Pieta said:

    What is an appropriate amount of time to allow a store to have your products before you pick them up if the store is not the right fit and items are not selling?

    Thanks,
    Anna

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    I would say 30 days…….

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    I think it is a good balance personally…..until you don’t have to do it any more :O)

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    The store will make it up around 2.3% from your wholesale price.

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    Great question……you need to send an invoice with the goods and follow up regularly to check in. You’ll have to go with your instincts (gut) in the store quality……to avoid being taken advantage of.

  • Bethany said:

    A salon I was trying to get into for the past couple of months agreed to sell my product on consignment. The owner said she’d sell it at my retail price ($135) and just take 10% when a unit sold, then cutting me a check for the units sold minus the 10%. I’m confused about how to include an invoice because in my mind I always associate an invoice with an item someone has purchased – and she hasn’t purchased my product wholesale, she’s selling them on consignment. How should a consignment invoice be worded differently then a regular purchase invoice? Also, is the owner’s proposal for payment good or should I suggest something else? Thanks!

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    Wow that is the best deal of the century. Usually stores pay you wholesale. For consignment, just make a full price invoice less 10% and give her that with the goods. When she sells an item, cross it off and have her pay you. Good luck!!

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.