Consignment: Is it worth it?
Most people want their apparel to be sold at stores around the globe, one option that occurs for many upcoming brands is consignment. Consignment is an agreement to pay a supplier of goods(store) after the goods are sold. You’re dropping off inventory and hoping that within the time frame that was agreed upon, your items are sold. It is a hot subject for brands whom many rather avoid partaking, because it does seem to have more risk than reward. There are pros and cons for consignment that you want to consider before deciding yay or nay on the matter.
Credibility of a store
If you really are looking to get into a store, consignment may be an option you want to take. It may be obvious, but you first have to see if your brand fits with the store. It will give you credibility that your items were good enough to be held in a boutique and can help your products land in more shops.
When you’re in stores, it’ll be easier to grow your fan base organically and letting people know where you they can pick up your goods in person. Consignment will help provide more exposure that you’re looking for. Having a store on the internet gives you the possibility of being seen throughout the world, but being in a store you’ll be exposed to the local market. In order to expand to a larger audience it is important to focus on targeting the local area that can help give you the fan base to launch your brand to the next level.
It is good to be active at the store and make appearances at the store throughout the time your product is on consignment. You’ll get to know the owners and workers at the store better, you’ll get to see their customer base and could get some feedback on your items. Who knows, you may even impress a customer that an owner of a clothing line is at the store that they’re shopping at. Showing up will let that particular shop know that you are supportive and want them to succeed, which can translate in having them return the support by pushing your stuff more. I enjoyed my fair share of conversations with owners who offered advice and useful tips just by hanging out and making an appearance. Being friendly and not acting as constant salesman can help. You may not even get picked up right away, but consistently showing your face and showing new product may persuade them to carry your brand.
Some people like to say if a store owner is going to put your products in the shop they should buy your product from your wholesale pricing, which makes sense. Now let’s take a look from the boutique owner’s perspective, you’re a new brand that has no proven record with their customer base, so purchasing your items is a risk for them. If they purchased your whole line at the wholesale price at the minimum amount you sell at, it could be a bad investment that they sit on for months and may even have a hard time selling when putting items on sale. You have a season where all your items sell out and you’re called to bring in more product, which is definitely an exciting feeling, but the next the store may have sold two or three pieces, even none. It’s not to say that some stores do not have this issue with bigger brands, but those bigger companies have a fanbase which makes it smoother to sell. It’s easy to say that your brand should be bought and carried, since you’re giving the store free product, but until you have a proven track record that your items consistently sell off the shelves consignment is in your future for awhile.
Waiting for payment is probably the most annoying part of a consignment deal. Usually the standard for payment is to set up a Net-3o and 30 days is enough time to see if your items sold. If nothing sells at one location, it could leave you wondering if you could have sold that stock online or elsewhere like an event. It is possible and has happened where you might have a sale online or in person and do not have an item in stock, because you left it at a shop and you lost that sale. What could bring some comfort is knowing that that you’ll receive money at the wholesale price, but what adds insult to injury is having that sale for a product at full price and finding out that the store did not move it. Another downside is waiting on stores to pay you. Sometime they’re too busy and you have to contact them to schedule a meet up on when to get paid. If I have product in a store on consignment, they’re local and I will make sure I will meet them in person, because I cannot rely that they will send a check out in the mail. Not all shops are very responsible and you may have to constantly contact them to make sure you get your money, sometimes you’re hounding them.
At the end of the day you really do not want to stay with consignment as a long term option, so once you start doing well and prove you’re becoming a reputable brand discuss with the shop owner or whoever manages new stock to switch to buying your product wholesale. Once you switch to wholesale a lot of headaches will go away and it will be very easy to track your inventory. If a product does not do so well you don’t have to keep it in the store for the next month, you can pull it and try to sell it yourself. Having your product in a boutique can help improve your fanbase and in the beginning consignment may be an option to start out with.