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Thread: Questions re Quilt Consignment policies

  1. #1
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    I have a quilt on consignment at our LQS for the first time, so I'm not familiar with the 'normal' policies. I imagine they can/do vary from shop to shop, but if anyone has some basic info for me, I'd sure appreciate it.

    I was asked by management what I wanted for the quilt, I told them, asked their consignment %, then verbally agreed.

    When I was in class there yesterday, our instructor brought it in to show the others how I did a certain block. When someone asked how much it was selling for, the answer caused me to make an audible gasp as I learned it was much higher than I was told. Before I call her back to discuss this, I'd like to get some ideas on what the going rates are out there and here about others' experiences with similar situations. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Esqmommy's Avatar
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    I have no idea, but are you saying they were being dishonest with you? If so, you need to say something right away.

  3. #3
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    "going rate" various from location to location and artist to artist.

    i set my prices not the stores. i never do anything verbally - i have legal contracts and everyone is required to sign before i'll even cut fabric. it not only addresses the scope of the project but also the taking of pics, internet postings, and copyright issues.

    my typical price is $50-$100 a square foot but if its highly embellished it can go much higher than that.

  4. #4
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    if it's on consignment, and they get a percentage, then the higher the price they get for it, the more you make, too.

    maybe, after having time to look at it more closely or after hearing some comments from customers cruising the store, they decided it was worth more than the original estimate. that could be a good thing.

  5. #5
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esqmommy
    I have no idea, but are you saying they were being dishonest with you? If so, you need to say something right away.
    I really don't think so. This is a small, newish store in a small community, and the only LQS for miles around. I know the staff quite well, have for years. I just don't think they have all their 'stuff' together yet. They wouldn't want to make any missteps, it would cost them terribly.

  6. #6
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kluedesigns
    "going rate" various from location to location and artist to artist.

    i set my prices not the stores. i never do anything verbally - i have legal contracts and everyone is required to sign before i'll even cut fabric. it not only addresses the scope of the project but also the taking of pics, internet postings, and copyright issues.

    my typical price is $50-$100 a square foot but if its highly embellished it can go much higher than that.
    Thanks Klue. This store has a long ways to grow, so to speak. As I mentioned above, they are new at this and I'm sure want to do things right. I guess as long as I get my price, all should be well - unless that is, the price they've attached to it (including their take) is scaring folks away from buying my quilt.

  7. #7
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ
    if it's on consignment, and they get a percentage, then the higher the price they get for it, the more you make, too.

    maybe, after having time to look at it more closely or after hearing some comments from customers cruising the store, they decided it was worth more than the original estimate. that could be a good thing.
    That didn't work with a previous item I sold there. I wanted 'x', they sold it for double 'x', which was 100% commission. They felt I got what I wanted out of it... Obviously, they got a LOT more than the stated commission. I'm still a bit annoyed about that deal.

  8. #8
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltgranny
    That didn't work with a previous item I sold there. I wanted 'x', they sold it for double 'x', which was 100% commission. They felt I got what I wanted out of it... Obviously, they got a LOT more than the stated commission. I'm still a bit annoyed about that deal.
    I've not sold quilting items on consignment/commission, but have sold other things that way and that's not how it usually works at all. They get X percent of the selling price, no matter what it is. Period. You can also set a floor, below which you will not sell it. Don't they have a written policy? Did you sign a contract? What they did is just not right!! If it upset you before, why didn't you specify that was not acceptable when you went back the second time? I'd get it out of there or have them commit, in writing, to a set percentage of the sale price, nothing more.

  9. #9
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Sounds like they are using you. No one charges 100% commission. That's obscene.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltgranny
    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ
    if it's on consignment, and they get a percentage, then the higher the price they get for it, the more you make, too.

    maybe, after having time to look at it more closely or after hearing some comments from customers cruising the store, they decided it was worth more than the original estimate. that could be a good thing.
    That didn't work with a previous item I sold there. I wanted 'x', they sold it for double 'x', which was 100% commission. They felt I got what I wanted out of it... Obviously, they got a LOT more than the stated commission. I'm still a bit annoyed about that deal.
    i would take my quilt back over something like that. they took advantage of you and your lack of knowledge in this area of business.

    consignment is done on %s of the whole - no matter what the whole is.

    you give the store a floor price meaning you will not under any circumstance except less than X dollar value. this allows them the ability to lower the sales price if a customer starts to negotiate in the store.

    the ceiling on a project is sky's the limit since everyone is willing to take more and no one in a store negotiates up they only need room to go down without having the sale walk out the door because they couldn't reach you by phone.

    negotiating %s with the store is always a challenge because they think they bring so much to the table but you have to understand the value of your time, your work, and the fact that they have an inventory of product to sell without investing 1 penny of capital.

    this means you always make more than the store if they don't agree you don't give them you work - they need you far more than you need them. the owner doesn't have the time to make quilts to sell she's too busy running the store and teaching, she doesn't have tons of capital to invest in buying quilting to sell and thats what you need to understand.

    its far easier for you to sell a quilt on your own without this store then for her to get artists willing to give them product to move without any financial investment and taking the smallest piece of the pie.


  11. #11
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Moonpi, Loretta and ghostrider,

    They are all very new at this. I will visit them next time I go into town and ask for a written contract.

    The first item I sold was not a quilt, and certainly not anything I thought was worth the money they got for it. Okay, so "fool me once, shame on them, fool me twice, shame on me." I will not allow that to happen again. Thanks for everyone's thoughts on this. I needed this important info to be able to speak intelligently to them when I bring it up. This is all new to me, too.

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    sorry for the long rant.

    i just can't stand when people take advantage of artists and their lack of business knowledge.


  13. #13
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    You didn't rant, Klue. :wink:

    Good luck, Quiltgranny. Let us know how it goes!

  14. #14
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    Klue is right. Get everything in writing up front. It used to be that a handshake deal would be adequate but not any more. I would go back to the shop, express my concerns regarding the price I heard quoted and get a written agreement. If they weren't willing to put it in writing, I would remove my quilt and not give them anything more for consignment.

  15. #15
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kluedesigns
    sorry for the long rant.

    i just can't stand when people take advantage of artists and their lack of business knowledge.
    Oh, no need to be sorry, Klue. I need to learn these things. I value what each and everyone of you all have to say, and I can tell you're all looking out for my best interest - which sadly may not be happening at my LQS. Thanks.

  16. #16
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kluedesigns

    its far easier for you to sell a quilt on your own without this store then for her to get artists willing to give them product to move without any financial investment and taking the smallest piece of the pie.
    What suggestions do you have, Klue, for selling quilts on my own? I'd sure be interested to hear in some alternative ideas. Thanks so much.

  17. #17
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltMania
    Klue is right. Get everything in writing up front. It used to be that a handshake deal would be adequate but not any more. I would go back to the shop, express my concerns regarding the price I heard quoted and get a written agreement. If they weren't willing to put it in writing, I would remove my quilt and not give them anything more for consignment.
    That's part of the problem, the handshake way of doing business. That's what this ol western town was founded on, and many still do business that way. As well, that's the way we've often conducted business, too. Guess that doesn't work so well in this real world we live in, does it? I suppose a person needs to put things in writing anymore to protect themselves and the other parties involved.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    quiltgranny, did you get anything in writing?
    I was once given a box of brand new clothing. I picked out the ones I wanted to keep, and added some of my own stuff, (which, now all of it, was mine), took it to a friends consignment shop. She had an assistant, and my friend was out on an errand.
    This was my first time taking anything to a consignment shop, so, when she took my big box of stuff, and gave me a card and wrote down my name and number, I thought that was all there was to it.
    I didn't hear anything for a few weeks, so I called them.
    What's your receipt number?
    Me: I don't have a receipt. I described what I had taken in.
    Consignment store: Too bad. It's all gone, and if you don't have a receipt there is nothing we can do.:evil:
    I was ripped off! Don't let this happen to you. Go there in person, and re-negotiate, or take your stuff home. I wish I had known. I've actually, never taken anything to another store, since.
    I have heard the same story, from friends. Hope you have a better experience. :D

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    a written contract should help minimize misunderstandings -

    it is a shame that is necessary now, but it seems not everyone operates on the same plane

    as you said - fool me once, shame on you - fool me once, shame on me

    I think Klue's comments were excellent

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    places would be arts and craft festivals, fairs, local gift shops and hospitals, and online sites to name a few.

    generating a client base takes more effort. you really need to focus on your location and the type of work those people like to buy.

    in my area its much easier to move "art" then "bedding". i can charge $500 for a small wall quilt but have a hard time getting $200 for a twin size bedding quilt.

    once you understand your local shoppers and what they like you need to develop a way to reach them.

    i live in a dense population with many artists so it was easy to find festivals but i also have a lot of competitors.

    once i established a small festival business i started to do charity auctions at the local "clubs" to develop my name among these people.

    typically after these auctions the people who didn't win would hire me on the spot to make them work.

    it also helps to enter your work into shows - this can and does drive up the price you can sell your work for.

    you need to study the income of your area and estimate the amount of disposal cash they have and what they like to spend it on. then you produce works that you are willing to sell for that price.

    many people make projects that they want and like to make and typically they can't get a fair price because they put to much into the project without thinking about how much they can get in the market place.

    please feel free to ask me anything about starting down this road. the more specific info you can give me the more i can help you.




  21. #21
    Senior Member judee0624's Avatar
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    This is a very interesting thread because I am on the verge of selling quilts (I hope). I have decided to charge 3 times what the long arm quilter charges me for the quilting just to keep it simple. I think it works out to a bit less than what Klue was saying that she charges. I agree with her about "art" versus "bedding". You can get a quilt for $39.99 at some stores but it isn't a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

    judee

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    Quote Originally Posted by judee0624
    This is a very interesting thread because I am on the verge of selling quilts (I hope). I have decided to charge 3 times what the long arm quilter charges me for the quilting just to keep it simple. I think it works out to a bit less than what Klue was saying that she charges. I agree with her about "art" versus "bedding". You can get a quilt for $39.99 at some stores but it isn't a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

    judee
    you should learn to quilt so you can keep all the money for yourself or at least ask for the volume or the "professional" discount.

  23. #23
    Super Member Quilting Aggi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    Sounds like they are using you. No one charges 100% commission. That's obscene.
    Actually a few years ago I had a piece of mine on consignment and they jumped it up 100%. I took the piece back saying it was highway robbery!!! I nearly choked when I found that one out!

    I ended up giving the piece to a friend's mother for that Christmas. She loved it and I felt better.

    I still sell my things, but lately it's through me. I haven't done the consignment thing for several years now.

  24. #24
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Hi Quiltncrazy,

    Wow, you really got burned, bad! I'm so sorry to hear of your misfortune. I don't expect that to happen to me, but yes, I will go in next week and ask for a contract or I'll take the quilt home. I've known these gals for over 12 years. You wouldn't think I get burned, but guess we never know. Still, I think they should be doing this right and on paper. Thanks for sharing your painful story.

  25. #25
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Thanks Klue, for all those excellent marketing ideas! :D Much, much appreciated. I doubt I'll ever get to the point of having many quilts to sell, but, ya never know, right? I will definitely take you up on your offer when/if it's time.

    We live in a small mountain town, although they're trying to be a 'destination place' for the folks coming through for skiing, fishing, RV'ing, etc. We will have our third annual Quilt Show this September, so I will be getting some exposure there as I am entering a quilt I made for hubby.

    Currently, we're a fairly depressed area, but we do get the tourists, so there is hope. Again, thanks for all your wonderful ideas, I'll be hanging on to them.

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