We talked about how artists and designer makers can approach a gallery/shop. But what do you do when a gallery/shop is interested and wants to sell your work?

Arrange an initial discussion meeting

The purpose of this meeting is to get a clarification from the gallery what they expect to have from you:

    • Items they want to sell
    • Conditions of sales
    • Any marketing materials
    • Would they want you to brief their front of house sales about your product or your work?

What they can offer you:

  • Marketing and Promotion of Product
  • Profile raising as an artist/maker
  • Goods protection
  • Insurance
  • Management of sales – could they provide a monthly sales report?

Negotiate

Ask yourself are their expectations similar to yours? If not, try to negotiate to an agreement that is beneficial for both you and the gallery/shop. Here are a few considerations when you are negotiating with a shop:

  • Be reasonable and honest when you negotiate

You are both trying to profit out of this, consider that they also need to make an income to survive, the need to pay rent, the electricity, staff members etc. If they are a good gallery/independent shop they will also be honest and straightforward to you, there must be a limit to what they can offer and how much they can sell.

  • Use your Unique Selling Points

Your USP could be a variety of different things. It could be that you have a higher profile on social media compared to the shop/gallery itself. Which means that your followers could follow them or visit their gallery. You may have a product that is uniquely produced, using a process no one else uses. Or you might have a style or colour combination that is currently on trend. Consider things that sets you apart from other maker or artists.

  • A Unique Collaboration

This consideration might be more suitable for makers than to visual artists. There is a current trend on Collabs (collaborations) between makers and brand/shops, creating products specifically for the shop/brand. The products are also only sold in that shop, nowhere else. This creates a USP for the shop, because buyers could only buy it in their shop. For makers, this could mean simply altering current designs or colours of your already existing products, or creating a completely new product for them.

Agree on terms

In the negotiation you also need to agree on legal terms, which needs to be noted down, they should include:

  • Sales terms
  • Damages and Stolen Items
  • Payment Terms
  • Bankruptcy protection
  • Contract Review terms
  • Contract Termination

Have a written contract

All the terms outlined above should be replicated in a contract. Most galleries or shop would have their own contract. Be sure to ask for a digital copy of this at the end for discussion, or a printed copy for you to take away and review it.

Don’t sign it straight away. Take it home, review it, read every word of it. Does it include everything you agreed in your discussion?

If they don’t have a contract, you may have to write the contract up yourself. It should include all the terms above. Don’t forget to include:

  • The terms you have agreed in the discussions
  • Name and contact details of both parties (you and the shop/gallery)
  • Start Date & End Date/ Review Date
  • Signatures from both parties

Have regular contact with them

When all is agreed, contract signed and your items are on sale, make sure that you arrange times to have regular contact with them. Allow some time in your diary for regular contact, perhaps once a month call, and a visit every three months. Your contact with them might be related to the time you agreed that they will provide you with sales report or payment. Keep notes and records of these calls, visits, if you agree any changes with them follow it up on an email confirmation. If you stock at multiple shops/galleries it is good to record which one you have visited, had reports and been paid.

One last advice is make sure you have a product and inventory and keep them regularly updated.

Have we missed anything? If you have worked with galleries or shop and have other tips please share in the comments section below.