Selling Your Wares.

Q: I've recently entered the jewelry/bead-making world. I've sold a few pieces to friends/family. A local shop approached me about carrying my jewelry, but i'm curious as to the best business method. Especially since I'm just starting out, and would like to burn as few bridges as possible. Has anyone here sold work through a gift/craft/other shop? Did they purchase the items as one bulk lot, or on a piece-by-piece commission basis? What's a fair repair policy for a piece that should break? I feel responsible for a piece that breaks say, within a few weeks of purchase, but at what timeframe does a piece become the customer's responsibility to pay for repairs?

A: I didn't have much luck selling in shops, but maybe you'll have better luck in your area. Definitely make sure you have a contract in writing. I had trouble getting my share of the money in a reasonable amount of time. I had to ask for the money from one shop several times, and when they finally gave me a check four months after the sale, it was short, and I had to go back for the rest. I'm sure most shops are not like this, although I didn't do much better with the other one I tried. Anyway, what I meant to say, was that in addition to using local shops, you might want to try the internet auctions, such as 'eBay', 'Amazon', 'Boxlot', and 'JustBeads'. I have had pretty good luck with them, and it gives you a wider exposure. Well, I hate to admit it, but I have left a flaming stream of unsatisfactory consignment associations behind me. I agree that you should always get a written contract, including when and how they pay, but that they will be physically responsible for your product, take reasonable care in displaying your product (whether that's dust it, condense it so it doesn't look straggly or whatever). You may also have to agree to provide enough product to keep your display looking full. You don't say exactly what type of jewelry or what you are stringing the beads on, but breakage after the sale is a real problem. Are you sure that you are using the best choice for your beadwork? Many of us are still learning after 10-20 years of beading. If you're new to beading, do you know when to use 'Nymo', 'Silamide', 'Tiger-Tail', 'Soft-Flex', and my personal favorite, 'Kevlar'? I knitted hundreds of knitted beaded pouches, and I shudder to think that in the beginning I made the necks with the yarn I was knitting with - horrors! Nothing is totally "unbreakable", but please, get a good education regarding which beads call for which type of stringing material. I learned a really long time ago to never write off anything. If ypur stuff is worhty of being sold at all, then a store could/should purchase it outright. Make sure you have documentation on the terms of sal and have the merchant SIGN IT. Decide what your stuff is worth, and stick to the price... don't jump around... if you want to give someone a deal or a break, remember they may come to expect this all the time. Present your stuff nicely with high quality tags with your name and address on them. Most store galleries, or whatever, will allow your tagging to remain. Approach people/merchants even if you think they are not exactly your market. Often, they can refer you to someone or may take what you have anyway.