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Consignment

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Hate to pile on, but at that rate they will be out of business quickly.

If it's you thinking of charging that for consignment, you better run the numbers again.

 

If you do leave your work there make sure you have a signed consignment agreement and keep your eye on the store in case they go broke and you lose your work.

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Here is what i don't understand, if 30 % was the norm once and that rate worked for the galleries, why doesn't it now? The price of art should have risen along side the gallery's expenses so the 30% should still work. Why did a rate of 30% jump to 50% ? The artist is still having to fork out their expenses that have gone up yet the artists are receiving a smaller chunk of the pie than before. How can the artist make bank when the portion of the pie that worked for them before has gotten smaller?

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Because society does not value art work as much anymore.  Becasue the economy is tanking.  People are watching their money. So the market for art is shrinking.  Harder to sell, less items move per day/week/month/year. 

 

Plus I don;t think that the prices for stuff like pottery have changed all that much over time.  Hence the "real dollar" value (buying power per dollar) of potters work has actually decreased.  So the margin gets thinner and thinnner for us. 

 

I just checked the math........ $20 today is the same buying power as about $6.60 in 1980.  So it you were selling a mug for about $6.50 in 1980... and you are selling it for $20 today.... you have only kept up with general inflation.  How that general inflation compares to your materials and firing costs... I'm guessing you'd have lost ground since fuel has gone up far greater than general inflation... and we pay for the shipping of heavy stuff in the price we pay for materials.

 

best,

 

......................john

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But 50% was the general rule in the late 90's so that seems a large jump from the 1980's to the 90’s. I hear tales of the art hayday of the 80’s and 90’s so it would seem the jump happened while art was being valued not as the appreciation was in decline.

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Around here the consignment rate ranges from 20-60%. 20% involves volunteering 8 hours a month in the gallery to get it. 60% seems really steep to me and the artists displaying all say they just increase the prices of their items to offset the large portion going to the gallery. Personally doing that bothers me on a honestly level but maybe it's just me. I mean if I sell a plate for $20 myself is it acceptable to sell it for $32 elsewhere? What is the "rule" for that kind of thing? So far I am keeping my prices the same no matter where I am selling, I just get less from some venues sales, am I doing this wrong?

 

Terry

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Here's the bottom line ... for me anyhow ... All the galleries I have known charging less than 50% are gone.

Gone.

I don't know all the ins and outs of exactly why ... But they could not survive on that little income.

 

Most of the galleries of good American Crafts in the United States are 'Mom & Pop' outfits.

One or two people trying to keep American Craft alive in their community.

 

Can you imagine trying to do that?

Being on a mall next to Import stores, trying to convince people to buy higher priced wares?

Having bills to pay and turning your back on a 700% mark up rather than 50% mark up?

 

Today's generation loves hand made but does not care who hand made it.

They see more value in supporting villages in the Amazon than their own neighbors.

 

So, whose fault is it really?

What is it about our work that makes it better than a Chinese potter working on an assembly line?

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Its the difference between a painting done by individual artists and the starving artists painting made by an assembly line of sky painters, tree painters, rock painters, and water painters that make a formula landscape painting not a artistic creation.

 

The gallery owners job is to promote and sell. I think many dropped the ball. Seems instead of thrusting up the individual artist and showing the public why handmade is worth more, they instead did not encourage the artist to raise their prices. Encouraged them to keep their prices down so they could sell more to compete with mass produced imports but up the % so they could make up the difference for themselves. They also started stocking those same cheap imports in their shops yet calling it art making no difference between the individual artist and the mass productions. Many art and craft promoters followed a very similar path. Even etsy is following the same path.

 

It is sad.

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Its the difference between a painting done by individual artists and the starving artists painting made by an assembly line of sky painters, tree painters, rock painters, and water painters that make a formula landscape painting not a artistic creation.

 

The gallery owners job is to promote and sell. I think many dropped the ball. Seems instead of thrusting up the individual artist and showing the public why handmade is worth more, they instead did not encourage the artist to raise their prices. Encouraged them to keep their prices down so they could sell more to compete with mass produced imports but up the % so they could make up the difference for themselves. They also started stocking those same cheap imports in their shops yet calling it art making no difference between the individual artist and the mass productions. Many art and craft promoters followed a very similar path. Even etsy is following the same path.

 

It is sad.

 

While I understand your position and agree with many points, I cannot agree with you totally.

 

Most of the Galleries I have dealt with over the years were run by ordinary people trying to promote American Crafts and pay the bills.

Many I know of have NO IMPORTS of any kind on premises. They had a horrible time surviving 9/11 and the financial crisis.

Some had to bring in imports to keep the lights on. Some had to revert more and more to consignment because they could not afford to buy outright.

You do what you have to do.

 

Should I mention some of the stuff those artists did to them ... like under selling them from their studios and websites, telling people not to pay the markup price because they would get it to them cheaper ... even pulling work from the store in order to do this. There are awful people on both sides.

 

BUT ... the real issue here is ...

What makes our work worth more than any other pottery work?

What is the benefit to the buyer ... what will make them want to pay more?

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Of my 6 outlets-wholesale/consign only two are import free.

I do shows that keep imports out and always do well at those-not all try to police this as folks always do not tell the truth about where its made.

I as a fair board member can say its a hard job to keep out imports as its always a non discloure on the paperwork and photos.We try hard to keep them out but every year we find some sneaking in and have to act.

Its a constant job every year policeing this for any show that tries.

 

As far as sales heyday in the 80's and 90's-I was there selling pots and for me at least its better right now then in was then. This is the best time-maybe because I'm downsizing production or cutting shows but almost all my sales have been on the increase over past times.The reason for that at shows is simple I have built up a huge return costimer base over the years-gallery sales to some degree mimic this as well but not as much.

Many factors for brick and mortar -display space-traffic flow etc. One outlet just redid the entire layout and my pottery sales have risen sharply as the display is seen better now by customers and the shop is less crowed looking.

Mark

Chris Campbell and GEP like this

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