If you're a skilled craftsman who creates beautiful clothing, handmade toys or other items for children, consider selling your work through a children's boutique. Most children's boutiques welcome new high quality merchandise. A boutique with a dedicated clientele may be able to move far higher volumes of your products than you can do alone. You can reap the benefits of selling your handmade items through a retail environment without the cost and risk of opening your own store.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- High quality products
- Samples of your work
- Local and national parenting periodicals
- Consignment record keeping book
- Business cards
Research the local and national market for your specific items. Understand the trends, and consider selling your items to stores in a more active market area. Know your product inside and out, and be sure it's quality is as high as possible.
Undergo any required CPSIA testing on your products, and attach the appropriate labels. The Consumer Product Safety Act was passed in 2008. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, many of the items created for use by children must undergoing testing for unsafe chemicals and components such as lead.
Check national and local parenting periodicals for boutiques that may be interested in your products. Call the boutique or send a professional e-mail inquiring if they're currently looking for merchandise. Avoid dropping in to local boutiques unannounced with a bag full of samples.
Set up appointments with interested boutiques owners, or send product photos and samples. Dress professionally and bring at least one sample of each type of item you have to offer. Package any samples being sent across the country securely.
Consider the differences between wholesale and consignment stores. A wholesale boutique purchases a set amount of items at one time, paying a certain percentage of each item's retail worth. Consignment shops first sell the item, then pay you, keeping a smaller percentage for themselves. Wholesale stores often require more merchandise at once, but being paid upfront is often preferred.
Keep clear records of all items in consignment boutiques. Use a consignment record keeping book. Write in each item, which store currently has it, and the date it was placed on sale.
Remove any unsold items from consignment shops after a set amount of time. You should set a time limit, such as 6 months, for items in consignment shops. Any items not sold by your time limit should be removed and sold in a different store.
Examine and understand any fees you will be charged and all contracts you sign with a boutique. Some stores charge extra fees on top of consignment percentages, while others will only display your items for a set amount of time.
Tips and warnings
- Choose boutiques with matching themes and styles for your items. Trying to sell retro themed clothing to a boutique specialising in modern baby clothing is usually a waste of time.
- Consider boutiques all across the country, not just local ones. Your items may sell better in another state than in your hometown.
- Work with stores that have high traffic, safety measures in place to discourage and catch shop lifting, and who take your merchandise seriously.
- Don't neglect proper record keeping. It can be difficult or impossible to prove your items were in the store in case of a fire or theft if you don't have clear records.
- Don't be afraid to negotiate or turn down a wholesale or consignment contract. If a store won't pay what your items are worth, find another boutique.
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