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BUSINESS: Bricks & Mortar 101 by Jo Whitehead of artistsinbusiness.blogspot.com


After successfully “test trading” your products at craft fairs and selling on-line, there comes the day when you believe that there is a market for your handmade items in a bricks and mortar shop. Here are some key issues to keep in mind in order to transition successfully from craft fairs and on-line selling to bricks and mortar shops.


Before you begin, can you confidently demonstrate that your product is desirable, new, well presented and competitively priced? Getting your pricing right is essential as you must decide how much your product costs before you approach any retailer. Once the retailer has included their percentage, anything from 30% to 100%, your work needs to reflect its perceived customer


46 | ukhandmade | Spring 2012


value as well as covering your costs, overheads, time and materials. Most retailers will not advise you on how to price your work.


Investigate the retailer first; what type of shop/gallery do you see your product in and where will your work sit within their range and pricing?


A visit to the shop will give you ideas on how your prices and product will fit in and how it might enhance their current stock. If the shop has a website, this will help you with your research.


There are several ways that you can approach a retailer – by displaying your work at a trade fair such as The British Craft Trade Fair, paying an agent to do this for you or, the cheapest option, to do it yourself.


Pitching to retailers You know how great your product is and know how much your customers love your work, but now is your opportunity to tell someone who hasn’t expressed an opinion yet.


The aim of the retailer is to decide whether there is a market for your product in their shop and whether it will appeal to their customers.


This is what they want to find out from you: • What is the product and what does it do? • What colours, styles and variations can you make it in? • How much is your price by unit and will there be a reduction for volume? • How quickly can you send new stock if they sell out? They may also want exclusivity for


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