Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | July 7, 2012

Bedside Table and Consignment Strategies

I started painting this country bedside table with a sweet little backsplash a month ago and have been waiting for it to fully cure. I am calling it “Driftwood.”

I selected a two-tone combo of ASCP Old White and Paris Gray with dark wax, my first in that color combination.  I used my own handmade plant papers to line the drawer. The paper has inclusions of an ornamental sea grass seed that has a lovely iridescent bronze color in it. The vintage glass knobs were original to the piece.

It needed quite a lot of repair work and sanding to handle some significant cigarette burns that on its top. A number of burns had to be filled so the prep work actually took a lot longer than the painting and waxing.

The little country painted table before.

I love that curved little ‘back splash’ but look at that burn mark!

Table with holes filled, sanded, taped and ready to paint!

Now fully restored she will make a lovely entry table or bedside table for anyone short on space but tall on style!

Consignment Strategy: I’ve been looking into space rental prices and am pretty stunned at the prices being charged. Having run a consignment gallery myself that charged artists a modest amount ($35.00 a month) to place items in the gallery – I understand that there is a value being given. In my case, the $35.00 per artists fee went directly into the advertising fund that typically ran  $3,000 per season.

But $75.00+ a month, plus all charge card fee’s PLUS 10% of all sales for a rental just seems excessive to me, especially for the tiny space that this rent buys.

I understand, probably more than most artists do, the REAL ‘costs of doing business’ and the fact that the building owner is carrying most of the costs, while shouldering most of the responsibilities and risks. But there seem to be a disconnect happening here. What about the owners responsibility for business costs?

As I see it, artists are providing the owner with ample inventory without any personal investment on the owners part all the while providing their customer with high quality, hand crafted pieces and a constantly rotating inventory to choose among.

I simply don’t know how a furniture painter can pay for the costs of buying furniture, paint, wax, knobs and handles, gas to find furniture and deliver it to the shop, taxes, website or blog fee’s hang-tags and business cards, —  plus $75.00 a month in rental fees and make any money at all?

When I built my gallery building I took out a business loan to do so. Then I paid all of the upfront get-the-business started costs that included signage, merchant services equipment, bags, display pieces, rack cards, business cards, website out-of-pocket – almost $10,000 worth of expenses to get up and running.  I worked a second part-time job to pay for that.

I only hoped that the artist fees would cover that seasons advertising costs, the rest was my responsibility as the business owner. In my opinion, the shop owner should not expect the artist fees to pay for their expenses as well. Enough said.

Let me know if you are a consigning artist and how you feel about this topic?

I’m nearly ready to approach a nearby specialty shop that I think might be a good place to place and sell my smaller pieces of painted furniture and accessories. I sold my handmade paper artwork there on consignment in the past, so already have a relationship with this shop owner. But I need to prepare approximately six to eight items first so the owner can envision a broader idea of what I am doing and where I am heading.

I want to have these items completed and ready to place to place and to give her a decent selection to choose among. A smart business owner knows her clients and will know what they might be looking for and will choose pieces accordingly.

This bedside table is being prepared to use as a conversation “opener” for this meeting. I want this table to be clean and simple and look sweet and easy-to-sell, to see how she responds to my proposition. I personally believe there is a real strategy to approaching a shop owner regarding the taking in of consignment and this is one of them.

I’m a bit behind in my plans but luckily shops here don’t really get going until mid- July when the tourist’s return, so I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for reading!

Small House / Big Sky Donna

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