Brixi: selling in independent shops

You might be keen to sell your work – crafts, editions or the like – via independent shops, but do you know how ‘Sale or Return’ works and how much commission is the norm? Emy Gray, the founder of Brixi has written these tips to guide artists and makers interested in stocking their work with small galleries and shops.

  1. Be commercially minded. Approach shops with commercially viable, ready to go products. It may not be work that you are most proud of or most enthused about, but retail is very different from galleries. Although it’s often easy to see potential in a product, a small shop will not always have the time to spend helping you get work ready for sale.  Most shops will take a commission of approximately 50%, but some negotiation is possible.  Be realistic about what your work could cost, and take advice from shops that you trust.
  2. Face to face. A face to face visit is always best. There is only so much you can convey over an email or phone call.  It’s vital for me to handle work in the flesh and get a real sense of what it is about. To meet the maker and get an insight into how and why the work is made makes it much easier to sell.
  3. The complete package. It’s in your interest to make your work as easy to display, sell and package as possible. Think through every aspect of a transaction, including packaging and shipping options. Obviously every shop has their own way of doing things, but to show you have thought it through shows you are professional.
  4. Be organised when delivering work. Have a clear list of what you are dropping off, including wholesale prices. It pays to leave the retailer with as much information as possible. Most shops will have a contract of sorts, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own (or take a look at the Brixi consignment contract). Be clear about terms – when and how you’ll be paid, in event of damage/theft etc, and what insurance you have (or they have). Be armed with the right questions and don’t be afraid to ask.
  5. Keep in touch. Running a small shop is hectic. If a designer is organised about restocking it makes it much easier for the retailer. Keeping on top of restocking is important.  Check your sales, see what has sold, and offer to replenish. The more you are on top of things, the more chance you have to sell more.

Listen to the entire interview with Emy Gray.

Emy Gray is the founder of Brixi a small independent shop based in Brixton Village. Brixi sells vintage finds together with selected designers, makers and artists’ work from photography, printmaking, jewellery, ceramics and more.


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