Wondering what criteria you use to determine if you continue to keep your art in a gallery or gift shop? Obviously sales is a big factor, but we're encountering a huge "hassle factor" at one of our gift shops that has us reconsidering if it's worth it.
As we end the year we have one gallery closing, one that we exited when they arbitrarily raised their commission percentage without changing our contract and went to quarterly reporting, a new one opening in the new year, one that continually sells and sends us monthly checks, one new gallery that we just entered and are in the "wait and see" mode and then we have a gift shop that sells pretty well but doesn't seem to know how to run it like a business.
The "problem child" gift shop doesn't do any kind of regular monthly reporting, it takes repeated phone calls to determine if we've sold anything and now when they provide us a list of what has sold, we have to send them an invoice to obtain our commission. Sales have been good. although earlier this year they reconciled our inventory and cut us a big check. They didn't think they had sold much, but weren't really sure. However, pieces were missing so they did pay us for the missing pieces, we don't know if they were stolen or if their bookkeeping is just that bad. This is a gift shop that it is not easy for us to visit, involves pretty much an all day trip to get there and back.
Just wondering how to factor in the huge "hassle factor" into our decision making when sales have been good. Obviously it's a "no brainer" decision if sales were lousy. Any thoughts / suggestions?
What about wholesale? If the throughput is decent, and you have proven sellers, it might be a viable option. No more inventory management or chasing down money. You can be as generous as you like with buyback or trade options. You could even tier your pricing so they get the best deal if they buy without option to return unsold goods.
I know it is hard to turn away sales, but if it is bothering you enough to post about it then I would cut them. Put that time into finding a gallery or shop that won't be a PIA. There isn't a lot we can control, but this you can. You have a choice. I know I have delt with galleries and clients that were not worth the trouble, but I didn't want to turn away money. I could have been using that time and energy in much more productive ways. You don't have to put up with the hassle, this is the beauty of owning your own business. There is a lot of negative in being a small business owner, so I like to take advantage of the positives when possible. Now I need to remember to take my own advice:)
I have tried to eliminate the hassle factor as much as I can after spending too much time chasing down my money & failing that trying to chase down my jewelry in stores that were less than well run, I stick with a few tried & proven venues. A local gallery & a shop in a world famous Gardens that I just started selling at but forsee no problem with as they are so professional. The local gallery is as well, it has been in business for over 20 years & is overseen by a board.
Ruth, I know you must hate to cut out a good selling venue for your work. It would probably be very hard to "teach" those people how to run their shop well. How about this idea? Buy yourself a small notebook from Walmart or Kmart. Inventoy your work in the notebook. You can list each item with a description and a price. Write your name on the front and a description of the type of artists you are. Date everything in the note book. You can even keep using the notebook as you add more work for them to sell. Once your pieces have sold and you are paid highlight the piece with a yellow highlighter. You can also keep duplicate information in a notebook you keep at home. Then, you know exactly what was in the shop and can keep good track of it at home as well as at the shop. That might reduce some of the hassle factor and help to make it more worth while for you.
Jacki - we're already tracking all of this on a spreadsheet and sending them an update whenever we submit new pieces.
I think you have to work out if the hassle factor is worth the sales level and only you can do that. It is possible they're just not bookwork people, but if your items are selling then their forte may be in selling.