We select work mainly via email as this gives us chance to review everything properly when we get time. To view information on how to apply, click here.
To select work we are looking for 5 main things:
- British – all work has to be made in Britain or we won’t even consider it
- Quality – We expect a high standard of craftsmanship or artistic skill
- Exclusive – work must not be stocked anywhere else locally
- Different – we are often on the lookout for work with a difference, something unusual or quirky
- Price – the price needs to be right for us and our customers
Pricing is one of the things I get asked about most often and something I go into in detail on my mentoring sessions.
Pricing depends on many different things, like what type of work you produce for example. As a general rule, an original painting tends to command a higher selling price than a piece of craft or an original print; limited editions fetch more than open editions and so on.
The most important thing for you to consider in the beginning is how much it costs to produce your work. If you are unclear on this you risk selling your work at a loss. Consider the cost of your materials, of running any equipment (e.g. a kiln), your overheads and also your time. How long does it take you to produce each piece? Are you paying yourself a set price per piece, an hourly wage or adding on a profit margin for yourself?
There is a lot to consider and it depends on individual work – there is not really a set price for a vase or a print, it is entirely dependent upon each piece. If you would like more help on setting your prices, tailored to your individual work, then a mentoring session may be beneficial to you.
Do your research! Look at where you want to go – what type of environment do you think would suit your products best – Commercial gallery, fine art gallery, retail outlet, design shows etc.
Is there anything like your work already out there? If so, how are you different?
Experiment with your techniques and designs so that you have a good range of products and find methods which give the best quality results. Finding time to experiment can be hard but is something our established artists always make time to do as it’s crucial in the continuing development of your business.
Again, the most important thing here is to do your research. Don’t just apply to anywhere and everywhere – take the time to look at prospective outlets (either in person or online). Can you visualise your work sitting alongside their current products? If not, then it’s probably not the right fit for you. Keep looking until you find the right place – THEN (and this is so important) find out about their selection process and how they accept applications.
Most places will have something on their website (ours is here) or be able to tell you over the phone. It’s worth noting that a lot of places do not accept cold calling (dropping in without an appointment). Doing so if their application process specifically tells you not to will make you look unprofessional and can set you at a disadvantage before you even begin.
S.O.R. stands for Sale Or Return and does exactly what it says on the tin! If a stockist takes your work on SOR, they won’t pay you up front but will try and sell it for you and then take their commission out of the selling price. This is lower risk to them than buying wholesale.
SOR Benefits – Stockists are more likely to take a chance on your work, you are likely to receive more money per sold item than selling wholesale and through seeing what sells you gain invaluable feedback on your work and designs.
SOR Negatives – You are not guaranteed any sales, payment for sold items filters through as they sell rather than in one lump sum and you may be responsible for the costs of getting your work to and from the stockist.
Wholesale is where a stockist places a firm order for your products and pays you in one lump sum.
Wholesale BenefitsYou have the money in your bank regardless of whether the work sells or not for the stockist.
Wholesale Negatives The stockist is taking a much bigger risk than on S.O.R. and therefore will expect to make more profit per item, this can mean you receive less per item than you would on S.O.R. In tough economic climes, stockists may be reluctant to take a chance on your work so you risk them not stocking you at all.