Two exciting things happened this last week. The first is that a good friend of mine, Elecia White, and I discussed glass fusing and Etsy on her podcast, Making Embedded Systems: The Show for People Who Love Gadgets. While fusing glass is not exactly embedded systems, we do use lots of gadgets like kilns and tools. The episode is called “Hot” and here is the link, http://embedded.fm/episodes/2013/8/12/14-hot . I had a lot of fun, so Thanks, Elecia! for giving me the opportunity.
While on that site, you should check out Elecia’s other podcasts. She is a very creative and excellent engineer and loves trying new gadgets to create new gadgets that will make you smile when you hear/read about them.
The second is that I braved walking into a local store to learn more about how to get my glass sold in stores. It was a wonderful learning experience and there were definitely some interesting lessons learned.
1. Wholesale pricing, what does that mean? I have watched several videos and read forums and newsletters and what I learned is that basically the store wants to sell your item for the same price that you sell it on the internet. They give you then typically 50% of this price. So if you sell something online for $20, they will buy it from you for $10. So you need to make sure that you can make money selling it to them for $10.
I have struggled a lot with pricing as I know many others do. There are great formulas out there for how to price your product including materials, time, marketing, and then doubling to add profit. But then you search Etsy, as an example, and look at all the others selling similar items and if most of them are selling something for $20 dollars and you are selling it for $40, yours had better look from the pictures worth the extra $20 or you will not get the sale. So now if you want your items sold in a store and you sell to the store at a price that makes sure you make a little money (or at least covers your costs) you will have to ensure that your prices online are high enough even if this means you are higher than similar sellers. Interesting quandary.
2. The owner explained to me that some stores rather than buying your products outright will instead do consignment. With consignment, the store does not pay you until your item is sold. Here you have the greater risk of your product not ever selling or breaking or … and so you tend to get a higher percentage like 60%. With selling to the store before they sell, they are taking the risk of it never selling, breaking, getting stolen and hence why they take a higher percentage in this case.
3. I have also read that you need to have a portfolio created which includes pictures of your products, an artists bio and then a price sheet made all in a nice folder that you can leave with the owner of the store. I am sure if I were walking the streets going into a wide variety of stores trying to get them to buy my products this would be a great thing to have. Don’t laugh – the owner to whom I was talking indicated this is exactly what she used to do to try to sell her jewelry and it was hard work. However, to get started and get into a single store perhaps similar to the one I visited which is mostly handmade items, the owner said she really didn’t care about a bio and glossy info. So if you are like me and just starting to brave the walk-into-a-store-you-like and talk to owner, don’t spend a lot of time creating your portfolio. You can do that later if you decide this is really how you want to sell your products.
4. The last and perhaps most valuable insight I received was peddle one line. Basically do not overwhelm. After talking with the owner for a while and gathering all this valuable advice, I asked if she was interested in seeing some of my fused glass. Since I knew this shop specialized in smaller items, I brought a variety of small items: coasters, barrettes, soap dishes, glass boxes, christmas ornaments. To her, as a perspective customer of mine and potential seller to others, she was overwhelmed. She told me to pick a “line.” That line could be coasters, as an example. And then when I approach a store, take a sample of maybe 10 sets of coasters. But definitely not a little of lots of things.
Since right now I am still enjoying the learning and experimentation with which I can make a wide variety of things and assumed showing such a wide variety would be better, this was very wise advice. It doesn’t mean you can’t sell coasters in one store and barrettes in a second, just have a single line for each store.
There, now I have shared my wonderful learning experiences for the week. Didn’t get any new experiments completed this week, but did make a nice new set of coasters. I also started a new experiment which I will hopefully share next week. Have a great week!