Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Do's and Dont's: How to approach and create strong business partnerships

I am part of a panel tomorrow night for Grassroots Business Association on the Do's and Dont's of approaching stores and creating good relationships with store/gallery owners. We compiled a list of the Do's and Dont's which I figured I would put here as well.

The do’s and don’ts

The Approach:
DO your research! Really work on figuring out a store, and the other art carried there. Does the store/gallery already have work that resembles yours? Does your price point seem reasonable compared to what else is in the store?
DON’T just show up, pull all of your merchandise out of a bag and assume that the owner has time at that particular moment. Best to make an appointment
DO be on time for your appointment!
(If you) DO have a web site or portfolio, make sure it has your most up to date work. Owners DONT want to see old work, they want to see the work they would actually be selling.

Once you are in:
DO be sure your work is well packaged/ready to hang/ in general ready for the shelves or walls.
DO check in *regularly* to see if new products are needed, which items are selling the best, and get any other important feedback from the owner/buyer.
DO create new pieces to occasionally freshen your line
DO be on time with shipments or drop offs.
DO be lenient. Owners will find you very “hard work” if you need constant updating and attention.

The price is right:
DON’T show up without pricing your work. Have your prices figured out BEFORE you go to the store.
DO have integrity with your prices. Keep them consistent at every place you sell, as well as your personal website or at fairs.

Keeping it all straight:
DO keep track of all your inventory.
DONT assume that the store is going to keep perfect records, with lots of artists and inventories to keep track of, it has to be up to YOU, the artist, to keep meticulous records.
DO know your own policies regarding your business and your work: Will you do special, last minute orders for the store? If so, is there an added fee for your work? What about theft/damage? Do you require that a store take responsibility for this? Be clear on the stores policies, and make sure there are no discrepancies between the two.

Taxes and other fun stuff:
DO have a city of Seattle business license
DO file federal taxes for any sales from your business over $600.00 annually.

It’s not you, it’s me...
DO accept rejection graciously. Know that you’re work has it’s place, it just may not be where you think, or where you would like it. Consider that by being told “NO”, it may be doing you a favor in the end.

We will obviously be talking about this more in depth, if you would like to attend please rsvp here

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