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sharing sales space with a non-potter


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#1 clay lover

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 06:22 PM

I am looking at a new venue, a permanent space in a collection of booths, all run by a managing staff.

The place has been in business for 4 years, very well organized, clean, mostly buy-sell of gift type items, jewelery, home decor, small furniture, nice clothing, Baby clothes, Christian books, a card shop and a lunch counter in the back. 18 different vendors, with various sized booths.

I would need to sign a year contract , pay rent and they take 15% on top of the rent and pay the taxes and cc fees. They advertise, have good foot traffic, the parking lot is always full, and have a very well thought out contract. All the booths look good and the contract requires it. The take Credit cards, do gift wrapping and handle all sales. I do not have to work the booth at all. They are open 6 days a week 10-6 and longer during holiday shopping. There are no galleries in this town or near by.

I have a friend who is a painter, VERY nice woman, good painter, good work. she is having trouble keeping her booth at this place stocked as well as the managers want her to. And having a little trouble with the rent. Management is OK with sharing space.

We are talking around about sharing the booth rent and the space. She would get the wall space, I would get the shelving and floor space. I know her well enough to not be worried about that part.

Have you done something like this? Good points and bad, what should I be considering?


Is a painter a good match with a potter? There are some open booths, should I look for a different type artist to share with?

#2 GEP

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 08:05 AM

I don't think booth sharing is ever a good idea. Much better to give your pots a dedicated space so customers can look at them without any distraction. It the short term you will save money, but you'll hurt yourself in the long term by hampering your sales. I think you should only enter this venue if you are willing and able to have your own booth. Same goes for your painter friend! That's the other aspect that I don't think is wise ... you should resist the urge to help another artist financially. With friendship and emotional support, no problem! But financially she needs to make her own way. Bottom line is, if she loses her booth, she's going to be fine.

I've done group booths and partner booths and I can see how much it hurts sales. And I've watched many of these "partner" arrangements crash and burn.

These are just my opinions, so maybe other people have other experiences to share.

Mea
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#3 Chris Campbell

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:14 PM

My perspective is more from the angle of trying to sell hand made work in a buy/sell venue. Your higher prices just make their low prices look even better.
The biggest part of selling hand made work is the story, the connection to an artist, the emotion ... If you are not there, who tells your story?. I urge you to ask them for references from any other potters who are successfully selling there before you sign a one year contract.

Sorry for the answer to the question you weren't asking! :)

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#4 JBaymore

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:27 PM

My perspective is more from the angle of trying to sell hand made work in a buy/sell venue. Your higher prices just make their low prices look even better.
The biggest part of selling hand made work is the story, the connection to an artist, the emotion ... If you are not there, who tells your story?. I urge you to ask them for references from any other potters who are successfully selling there before you sign a one year contract.

Sorry for the answer to the question you weren't asking! :)



What she said. ;)

best,

......................john
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#5 Mark C.

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:37 PM

I agree with all above posts. I do not think this will be a good venue for hand made items anyway and you should be able to have customer contact. I would look for a better outlet for your work.
Mark
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#6 clay lover

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:44 PM

I agree with all above posts. I do not think this will be a good venue for hand made items anyway and you should be able to have customer contact. I would look for a better outlet for your work.
Mark



Hey, I'm asking for all thoughts from those who have 'been there,done that'. I am wary about the total lack of 'hand made ' in this venue, but there are no galleries other than buy-sell in my area. I have not commited to this, at all, still looking at it. Thanks for the perspectives.

#7 Chris Campbell

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 01:16 PM

I used to have an annual home show and got tired of carrying the whole load so decided to try having other work for sale too. When I shared with another artist who was a painter, she got very @&@!! when my work sold and hers didn't. I repeated the error and partnered with a jewelry person whose work did not sell because people were looking for pots. I partnered with another potter whose work was totally different and that worked well because I bought her work wholesale and resold it myself. I even had to accept orders for more.

So, I've been there and done that .... I can honestly state that trying to sell hand made wares in a buy/sell venue ( done that too! ) ... is still a much bigger problem than sharing with another artist. Honest!

Hey, I've have made just about every mistake you can! :D

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#8 Mark C.

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:40 PM

Clay Lover
Ok if this helps I have done co-op galleries -rented sales spaces-consignment-wholesale-shared booths at shows-19 years of studio sales-open artist studio sales-retail-whatever for past 40 years-lets just say I have some experience just not exactly what you described.I have had pottery stolen -not been paid as galleries close up and run with the cash-wholesaled with zero payment due to crooks who ran with the goods-also have made lots of money with honest folks as well.
I'm saying this is not a good situation and to avoid it-This advice is from 40 years of above situations.You can suggest to someone not to walk off the cliff but you cannot keep them from doing it.
Been there and almost done that.A parachute may be helpful here.
Mark
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#9 GEP

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 05:05 PM


I agree with all above posts. I do not think this will be a good venue for hand made items anyway and you should be able to have customer contact. I would look for a better outlet for your work.
Mark



Hey, I'm asking for all thoughts from those who have 'been there,done that'. I am wary about the total lack of 'hand made ' in this venue, but there are no galleries other than buy-sell in my area. I have not commited to this, at all, still looking at it. Thanks for the perspectives.



claylover, I think several of us on this forum have been telling you for a while to start looking for venues outside of your local area. My suggestion would be art festivals in Georgia, Carolinas, or Florida.

Mea
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#10 clay lover

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 05:49 PM

Thanks, Mea. I have 2 galleries in larger towns, they sell well for me. I do a few medium sized 2 or 3 days indoor shows in that SE area. I was just thinking it would be appealing to have a space that stayed up that I could develope to be the look I want and be able to easily restock since it is close.

The next level of shows is going to be a jump for me and I don't know that I am ready to make that much bigger a committment to heavier production. Right now I'm selling everything I make, not the worst problem to have, I guess.

#11 Chris Campbell

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:04 PM

Clay lover .... if you are selling everything you make now then good, good, good for YOU !!! You are getting ready for your next jump and you will be successful.

The reason I am down on the buy/sell venue is because every town has one of these ... they make their money on the stall rent and the 15% is gravy ... they don't care if you sell because you are committed to paying the rent whether you sell or not. People other than the owners do make money there, no question ... but the buy/sell people are able to mark their work up 3 and 4 times and still have a low price ... you can't compete with them. Also, these venues do not attract the type of buyers who are looking for your quality hand made pottery ... yes, they like hand made but they don't care what hand made it or where.

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#12 GEP

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:37 PM

Thanks, Mea. I have 2 galleries in larger towns, they sell well for me. I do a few medium sized 2 or 3 days indoor shows in that SE area. I was just thinking it would be appealing to have a space that stayed up that I could develope to be the look I want and be able to easily restock since it is close.

The next level of shows is going to be a jump for me and I don't know that I am ready to make that much bigger a committment to heavier production. Right now I'm selling everything I make, not the worst problem to have, I guess.


I'm with Chris, this is terrific. You can be choosy, so just say no to this one!

Mea
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#13 clay lover

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 05:00 PM

I really value the input and advice from you guys.



Make more pots!

#14 Idaho Potter

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:45 PM

Yes, yes and yes again to all the above comments. I've been through all the stuff Mark C. wrote about. Being a member of a co-op can be wonderful--until it fails, and it will. Galleries that you can keep an eye on that actually promote your work are wonderful, too--until the owner dies, and everything that was in the gallery "disappears". If you are a production potter--look for wholesale outlets for things that you can produce efficiently so you can make a profit.

I've been fortunate that the times I partnered with another artist (painters) they had work made into prints as well as fine art originals for a much higher fee and I had mugs, small bowls etc. plus my sculptures in the higher fee category.

I agree with Chris, the buy/sell places don't care if you sell, they've got theirs. As with any new venture it is ultimately your choice, but the galleries you are in seem to be doing what is needed to satisfy your needs and their own. Congratulations on selling all you can produce--that even makes me hopeful.

#15 Dinah

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:24 PM

CAVEAT EMPTOR.ie. Buyer Beware. I've held back commenting, but after my recent studio tour with Skagit Artists Together during the 3rd weekend in July, I received an email from a very old long established co-op gallery in Edmonds, WA. asking me to consider applying for membership. They had toured my studio and thought work ever such a good fit for Gallery North. Well, I gently pointed out that I had been a member of Gallery North for several months a few years ago...I wished them well. Location is not everything, but the type of work being exhibited is. I also sent ringers in to determine the expertise of the Gallery Sitters and how they would "frame" my work if asked. Well, Dear Reader, it was much as you might suspect. Cursory treatment. Vague knowledge of ceramics. No reference to my crib sheets in my file. I walked. Lost money. But I walked. Caveat Emptor.
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