Selling to Boutiques
Are you tired of setting up at shows or sitting outdoors when the weather is unpleasant? Perhaps you’re just interested in forming more consistency to your design business with regular customers who purchase several items at a time. If so, then marketing to boutiques might be for you.
Before making this decision; however, ask yourself a minimum of the following two questions:
Can you afford to sell your jewelry or gift items at wholesale?
Can you produce enough of your product to handle the volume that will needed by selling wholesale.
There is considerable disagreement regarding how to price items. That discussion is not part of this information. It is, however, important to know that wholesale is often half of your normal or retail selling price. If you normally sell a bracelet for $35, wholesale is $17.50. The question is “can you make any profit by selling that bracelet for $17.50?” You might think of it differently by asking yourself how many of the bracelets you need to sell at $17.50 to earn the profit you want. If you enjoy making that piece and it works up relatively quickly, it may be feasible that you can make less on each single replication. Yet, it is certainly possible that you cannot afford to sell your bracelet at half of your own retail price. This is NOT written in stone. Just know that the boutique owner will “keystone”, or at a minimum, double your wholesale price when marketing it to customers. I’m often told that I should not consider that doubled price and concern myself with whether or not a customer would buy the piece at that price. I do know, however, that if very many of my pieces sit in a shop too long because they are overpriced, the store owner will not purchase others. The bottom line is that you and the boutique owner must both be able to make a profit.
The second question above refers to how much product you want to produce. Most boutiques either stock more heavily or reorganize their displays during the peak times when changing out the seasonal clothing. For example, an owner may not want to display summery jewelry with the new fall fashions. If you are visiting boutiques in one geographical area, they will largely make seasonal changes at the same time. Can you call on a store and sell items on Monday and still have enough product to show another store on Wednesday? Do you want to invest in the supplies for that much product at one time?
After considering these questions, you may wonder why in the world anyone would want to sell jewelry to boutiques. Is there an “up” side? There are many reasons why this type marketing might be perfect for you. Once you have established several boutique customers, you can begin to count on the consistency of purchases they will make. If you and the boutique are a good match, it’s a win-win relationship. The boutique owner can also begin to count on you to provide the new colors and styles without having to struggle to find the right jewelry at market. Some boutiques may even want to give you color charts for the new clothing that will be arriving and let you get a jump start for your designs. Also, when you chat with boutique owners, you will learn what customers say about the designs. Are many of your pieces the wrong length? Are they too dainty? Are the pieces too heavy? If you live close enough to the boutique, you may want to offer to lengthen or short a piece of jewelry for a customer.
One of my favorite reasons to sell to boutiques is the friendships that develop. You and the owner will quickly realize you are on the same side and the owner will trust your judgment, depend on good quality and note your fair pricing. This can give you a good feeling of accomplishment when you visit a shop. Selling to boutiques can be very rewarding.
Once you have decided to market to boutiques, there is a sequence of events that may work for you. Please watch for the continuation of this discussion in Making a Boutique Your Customer.
Dream Catcher Designs
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