5 Questions to ask a Boutique owner BEFORE you become a vendor!

One of the most important questions to ask yourself before going into business as a crafter or maker is “where am I going to sell my products?” and “How do you make money selling wreaths locally???”

Ohhhhhh I have a few good answers for that!

Lets start with approaching a Boutique/ gift shop about being a vendor!

You may already be selling your wreaths on Etsy, Facebook, Craft Shows and maybe you are even hosting wreath making parties around town… so this should be an easy transition! Even if you are not selling in all these other places, selling in a boutique can be super easy!

BEFORE you agree to anything, make sure you ask these 5 simple but super important questions FIRST!

  1. What are your Vendor requirements? There are some boutiques that require you to work a few hours a month or contribute in some way other than the normal “commission & rent”. Be sure you are clear on those requirements before agreeing to a contract… and remember, most things are negotiable! So… if there is something in the contract you would like to change, bring your ideas to the conversation table and try to come to a neutral agreement BEFORE signing!

Note: Keep in mind all of your prior obligations… if you already have a plate full, it’s okay to say no to the required few hours of working hours a month. One of the last things you want to add to your to do list is something you really don’t want to do in the first place! If this item is a non negotiable on their end, it’s okay to pass on that particular boutique and move on to the next!

2. Can your business information be attached to your designs? Okay, this is a non-negotiable for me!! You want the boutique/gift shop to WANT to promote you! Especially if you are super local in the community! The more their customers see your business name, the more apt they will be to buy when they see your targeted ad on Facebook for your upcoming wreath making class at the local Hobby Lobby (or wherever you are hosting your class)!

It’s important to know that the Boutique you choose will be cheerleaders for your business WANTING you to succeed! Let’s face it, the more YOU grow, the more you will be happy to send customers their way to select a design rather than meeting them in person at the local parking lot to swap.

3. How often can you swap out designs? This is another big one… it may even be extended to… How often do they want you to swap out designs?? If you have a collection of seasonal wreaths in the shop… what happens if they don’t sell? Do they have a calendar of seasonal items that they want you to have available? Can you meet the requirements of that calendar?

Ideally you want the experience to be wonderful on all sides; Yours, the Boutique AND the Customer! If the Boutique knows their customers shopping habits they should have a good idea of when you should remove your patriotic designs and bring in Halloween and Fall….. that calendar may look different than what you are used to with Etsy or craft shows.

Be sure you can maintain their seasonal calendar as well as all the others you may already have going on.

4. Will they allow your design to be for sale inside the boutique AND on Etsy (or any other form of sales platform). On your end as a seller, it’s a juggling act but you want to make sure it’s allowed before you have a sale on Etsy for the wreath hanging on the wall in the boutique! Some shops want you to bring in your designs and leave them until either they sell or it’s time to swap seasons (one way around this is to only bring multiples into the shop to sell, that way if the design sells on Etsy you can just make the design at home and off it goes). This may or not be a negotiable contract item but knowing ahead of time is super important!

The goal is to have as many eyes on your designs as possible. Bringing a wreath into a boutique that isn’t listed for sale on another platform or available somewhere else could feel like a disservice to your range of selling capabilities.

5. What are their commission percentages and are there any other monthly costs? This takes some work on your end… you really want to know what your exact costs are for each design… some commissions can be as high as 25%, If you are unsure what your designs exact cost is you could lost profits quick.

Also, 25% is super high and I wouldn’t personally recommend agreeing to a percentage that high. An average percentage is about 15-20 but even then is a nice chunk of your profits.

In addition to the commission percentage, most stores also have a monthly “rent” that you have to pay regardless of what you sell…. THIS can definitely be a negotiating tool. Use this to your advantage!

Closing: Selling Locally can be a BIG convenience but only if the mechanics work!

Do your homework, know the location and be present as much as you can!

In the future I will have a full mini course on ALL the things related to the do’s and don’ts on selling in a retail space!

TEXT ME the word BOUTIQUE if you are interested in learning more! 810-498-2310 We’ll be diving in deep on all the experiences I’ve had as a vendor in three different retail stores and why I’m only currently selling in one store PLUS ALL the online platforms!

Happy Selling!!

Sincerely, Mellie Mel

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