Selling Your Jewelry on Consignment

By: j3wlbiz
Selling your jewelry on consignment through shops and galleries can be a nice source of income. But consignment arrangements do bear a risk for the artist, because the shop or gallery owner holds several pieces of your jewelry for which you haven't received payment yet

Since in a consignment arrangement you (the artist) retain ownership of your merchandise until it's actually sold, you must take responsibility for protecting your property. Here are a few pointers to make consigning your jewelry safer for you:

1) Many states have consignment laws to protect artists. Each state's laws are different, so it's a good idea to check with your state legislature to be sure you know your legal rights and responsibilities before entering into a consignment agreement.

2) Check out a shop or gallery carefully before approaching them about consigning your work there. What kind of care do they appear to give the merchandise that's already in their shop? Do you like how they display things? Do they already have items that resemble your work? Does the shop itself appear to be well cared for? Is it easy to get to, and does it attract shoppers who are in your jewelry's target market? When it comes to choosing your consignment shops or galleries, an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure!

3) When you first consign jewelry to a shop or gallery, start with just a few pieces until you feel confident that this consignment relationship will be successful. It's not a good idea to start out by consigning more jewelry than you can afford to lose, before you've had a chance to "test drive" the shop.

4) Use a professional, legally-binding consignment contract that clearly spells out what is expected of the artist and of the shop. It's a good idea to have an attorney look over the consignment agreement to be sure it doesn't have any loopholes that could spell trouble for you. In fact, you may want to provide your own consignment contract that's been OK'ed by your attorney.

5) Consignment shops and galleries can go in and out of business quickly, especially if the owner is inexperienced or doesn't have a sound business plan. You may want to stick with only proven shops that have been in business for several years, or else consign a small amount of jewelry in a new store that hasn't had a chance to prove itself yet.

6) It's important to keep good records of your jewelry consignment inventory and every other aspect of your consignment arrangement with the shop or gallery. This includes having a record of every piece of jewelry plus any jewelry displays you have loaned to the shop. You should also keep a record of when you delivered your jewelry to the shop, how long the shop agreed to keep and display it, the retail selling price, the agreed-on consignment fee for the shop, and your agreement regarding when and how the shop will pay you and return any unsold merchandise to you.

7) Keep in close touch with the consignment shop or gallery once you've delivered your jewelry there. If it's local to you, stop in periodically and check on your jewelry; are you satisfied with the condition it's in, and with where and how it's being displayed? If it's in another town, call or email frequently to check on things. Invest a little effort into developing a good relationship with the shop or gallery owner.

8) Set a specific time limit (for example, three months) for the shop or gallery to sell your jewelry, and state it in your consignment agreement. If your work hasn't sold within that time frame, arrange to have it returned to you. It doesn't make financial sense to let your inventory sit any longer than necessary without earning you a return on your investment.

9) Discuss with your jewelry business insurance agent any additional insurance coverage recommended for consigning your work to shops or galleries. This may include damage, loss, theft, liability, etc.

In summary, there are risks and rewards involved in consigning jewelry to shops or galleries. Successful consignment selling hinges on choosing a good shop or gallery for your work, keeping detailed records of your arrangments with the shop, using a consignment agreement or contract, and protecting yourself and your jewelry from the possible risks.
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