Renting out shelf space

Discussion in 'Retail' started by BevT, Jun 14, 2012.

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  1. BevT

    BevT Contributor

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    As part of our new venture we will be selling gifts alongside food and drinks. I would like to sell locally produced gifts rather than mass produced items. I have heard about the practice of renting out shelf space and wonder if anyone has any experience in doing this who could give me some advice. Should I charge monthly depending on the amout of space the maker wants? is it better to rent space rather than take commission on sales? and how much should I charge? Oh and any ideas on where I can find prospective sellers?
    Posted: Jun 14, 2012 By: BevT Member since: Apr 15, 2008
  2. Talay

    Talay Contributor

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    I have no idea of what you do, so it is hard to figure out just what your new venture might be.
    Posted: Jun 14, 2012 By: Talay Member since: Mar 12, 2012
  3. BevT

    BevT Contributor

    159 6
    A small cafe in a coastal town where we will be selling gifts as a side line
    Posted: Jun 14, 2012 By: BevT Member since: Apr 15, 2008
  4. Big Pete

    Big Pete Contributor

    1,947 414
    search google for " forums in homemade gifts " etc and find some local to you. join a few i am sure if you put it to them to stock your shelves ,you sell them and take commisions they could go for it. a win win for both of you.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
    Posted: Jun 14, 2012 By: Big Pete Member since: Oct 13, 2009
  5. Doodle-Noodle

    Doodle-Noodle Contributor

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    This is exactly what we do - we've been going for just over 3 years and now have 58 local artists/crafters selling their handmade goods through our shop.
    If you take a look at our website http:/ there is a page called "Selling at Doodles" which gives a basic outline of what we charge and how it works.
    Some people that we would have liked to have had as sellers were put off by the cost, but the vast majority feel it is very reasonable.
    We based our charges on a rate of just over £1 per day which is nothing when you consider a table at a craft fair for one afternoon is upwards of £15 (in our area, anyway). We will not be increasing our rate for at least the next 12 months. It works well for us!
    Posted: Jun 14, 2012 By: Doodle-Noodle Member since: Oct 11, 2008
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  6. BevT

    BevT Contributor

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    thanks Doodles, as suggested I have checked out your website. Any advice on finding the sellers? Happy for DM if you would prefer
    Posted: Jun 14, 2012 By: BevT Member since: Apr 15, 2008
  7. Doodle-Noodle

    Doodle-Noodle Contributor

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    Before we opened our shop we spent a few months visiting craft shows/fairs and speaking to stall holders who were selling things we liked basically. We prepared a sellers' pack outlining how it would work, telling them a bit about us, the vision we had for our shop etc and drew up a contract. I can PM you copies of these if you would like to see what did.

    Most people we approached were very interested - craft fairs are unpredictable, some are great and some are lousy, you are lucky to get your stall fee covered, and you can never tell how it will be. Soul destroying!
    Most crafters were very keen at the prospect of having a permanent venue to showcase their work; they don't have to witness the misery of having customers walk past the fruits of their labours without so much as a glance, that's what we do. We take card payments (most crafters don't have this facility), our insurance covers them so they don't have that as an added expense, and advertising etc is all covered by us too.
    We also placed ads on local forums (most towns have FB pages now, they didn't 3 years ago!), word of mouth was useful too. We were inundated with jewellery makers and card makers (the 2 most popular crafts) so bear this in mind if you go for it - you can afford to be choosy.
    We were originally contacted by around 150 potential sellers, of which around 40 signed up with us before we opened. Most of these are still with us and have become good friends and are very supportive of our shop; the rest have come in since, most stay but we have lost (and replaced) probably 10 or 12 since opening. We are technically full at the moment but if anyone contacts us with something really different and unusual we can (and do) make space for them.
    Our sellers are great at marketing our shop too - I have a good supply of promotional postcards advertising our shop which they are all more than happy to take with them if they do a fair or show and we do get a fairly steady number of new customers from these.
    Despite business being quieter now than this time last year, I still believe wholeheartedly that the business model is a really good one - but then I am a bit biased I suppose!
    Posted: Jun 14, 2012 By: Doodle-Noodle Member since: Oct 11, 2008
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  8. bright21

    bright21 UKBF Newcomer

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    Although it's a few days old, just thought I'd add to this topic.

    Think that's a really good idea Doodles, one thing that comes to mind though, how do you pay your sellers for their products sales? - Do you pay them monthly based on the number of sales they've had on their products? - And if so, does this create a lot of additional work for you? Do you literally just go by the amount of stock they bring to you, and the amount of stock remaining? - Also, do you specify any fixed term contracts or do they have the option of withdrawing their products whenever they want?

    I can see how this would be very beneficial to the shop as I'd imagine it creates a wider product range as well as helping local sellers, more advertising, less stock required to fill the shop, etc.. Any benefits I've missed?

    Definitely an interesting idea worth looking at for my new store..

    Posted: Jun 18, 2012 By: bright21 Member since: Jun 14, 2012
  9. Doodle-Noodle

    Doodle-Noodle Contributor

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    Yes, I guess it does "create" work of sorts, but it was always what I intended to do.
    Basically, all our sellers have their own number (unique trader number, we refer to as UTN). It is their responsibility to price and label all their stock and ensure their UTN is on their tag; it is up to them to keep lists/records of what they put in our shop.
    Our till has 70 product keys -when customers present goods at the counter for paying, we simply key in the price and assign it to the relevant UTN using our till. I also write in a sales book everything that has been sold as it is sold,with the sellers' UTN, price and short description. Time consuming, I suppose, but it is a good record of WHAT has been sold which sellers can refer to; customers don't mind the delay, actually they quite like it in a funny sort of way as it underlines the fact that they are genuinely buying handmade goods. As I ring each one u, I remove the tags and put them in "the day pot" just in case I don't have time to write in the book - most tags are hand written by our artists and will contain a description (eg "hand felted bag"), some sellers include a product reference on the ticket which I will write in the book instead of a description, but most don't bother.
    At the end of each day, I do a till reading (obviously!) which itemises the total for the day for each number. I enter the figures on a spreadsheet, and at the end of each month every seller has their own total from which I deduct the rental for the following month, plus the 10% commission due on their sales and then BACs the money to them, or bag/label it up in cash for collection. They sign when they collect.
    There's not much to it really, once the spreadsheet is set up right at the beginning, it's just a matter of daily updates which takes a few minutes. Works well for me anyhow!
    We ask for one month notice to terminate the contract, there's no minimum period. Their work is always their property until it is sold so they can collect/take it to craft fairs/sell privately/bring it back etc at any time. We often have people collecting stock on a Saturday PM to take to a fair/event on a Sunday then bring it back on Monday morning. Their shelf s their responsibility - they arrange it, provide risers/props/backdrops whatever. Obviously we keep it tidy when customers have had a fiddle with it though.
    They take the shop's cards with them when they attend art/craft events which helps networking, plus they each do one half-day in the shop helping out as art of their contract. This is great as I can't afford staff, I get to know them/they me, and many of them come in much more to help out than they need to just because they like it!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
    Posted: Jun 18, 2012 By: Doodle-Noodle Member since: Oct 11, 2008
  10. rowiemo

    rowiemo UKBF Newcomer

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    Hi, I know it's been a while since the last comment but I was hoping someone might be able to help me. I'm in the process of setting up a 'rent a shelf' scheme for local crafters in a gallery. I was just wondering how to operate a returns policy. If customers want to return something they have bought, do they come back to me or the crafter who made the item. Thanks.
    Posted: Oct 22, 2012 By: rowiemo Member since: Oct 22, 2012
  11. warnie

    warnie Contributor

    523 245
    Ok that's wierd!

    I was just sitting here thinking it's a bit quiet here this morning being half term so without the usual shop full of kids. Also as we have one of those lovely tesco expresses opening up over the road from us on friday, you know the one's, promissing to bring so much to the local community:D when in reality there just taking business off all the nice independant shops already hit hard by the lack of cash flying around:mad:, the same one's that people complain that they never see anymore! (sorry for the mini rant) .........

    ....Anyway the wierd bit is I was thinking about renting out shelf space to local people so we can offer something a little different, and was about to have a look at doodles great website, when hey ho there's a thread on it resurected on here. Lovely:)

    Doodles if your reading this could you give me an idea on how big the average space is that you give your sellers? and I know it's a big ask but would you offered Bev a copy of the sellers pack etc. You don't still have those do you?:)

    I love this concept and I think/hope it could work for us, it's just a case now of putting something together to give to potential sellers.
    Posted: Oct 22, 2012 By: warnie Member since: Sep 24, 2007
  12. Doodle-Noodle

    Doodle-Noodle Contributor

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    No probs Warnie - PM me an email address as I can't seem to send attachments via the Forum's PM system.

    With regards to returns, customer comes back to us, if goods are faulty and we have to refund, it's entered as a minus on the seller's number. If customer wants a replacement, we refer back to the artist to make it - people do understand it's not always possible to get an exact replacement as they are buying handmade. To be honest, we actually get very few returns. Probably less than one every couple of months.
    Posted: Oct 22, 2012 By: Doodle-Noodle Member since: Oct 11, 2008
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  13. warnie

    warnie Contributor

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    Thanks Doodles:)

    PM sent!
    Posted: Oct 22, 2012 By: warnie Member since: Sep 24, 2007
  14. rowiemo

    rowiemo UKBF Newcomer

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    Thankyou :)
    Posted: Oct 22, 2012 By: rowiemo Member since: Oct 22, 2012
  15. Jenny Ellen

    Jenny Ellen UKBF Newcomer

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    Wow I'm impressed with this thread and all Doodles advice its been so helpful to me.
    Sorry must introduce myself Hi, I'm Jenny and i'v been wanting to open a craft gallery in my area for some time. Now as I have no experience in retail but lots in crafts, I'm on the hunt for information and found this forum.
    I have like many crafters lots of shops in my area to sell me all the wonderful stuff to make whatever i want, but once its made as always there is nowhere to sell it.
    I know there are others out there just like me and I have seen some wonderful high quality work.
    So getting to the point I want to open my own shop in the High Street, my idea is to sell locally produced craft work of the highest quality and I have found this thread very helpful.
    Doodle's is great and its inspiring to see it works and that i'm not the only one thinking along this line.
    How is business at Doodles during this difficult time in retail are you able to tell us how the recession has affected things?
    How have all the other posters in this thread got on?
    Any advice would be gratefully received.:)
    Posted: Nov 1, 2012 By: Jenny Ellen Member since: Nov 1, 2012
  16. Doodle-Noodle

    Doodle-Noodle Contributor

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    Hi Jenny - business is pretty good at the moment (just as well you didn't ask me last week though!) but we do have to work at it. We are not on a high street or in a proper town so we don't get much passing trade. People come to us because they know what we sell - they are actively looking for knitting yarns, artists' supplies, beads or hand-crafted gifts and as a result they come to actually buy, rather than wander past and drift in aimlessly just to look. Our conversion rate is therefore pretty high which is good and once customers come in, they nearly always become regulars.
    We do have to work hard to keep our profile high and in the current climate we have seen our average spend per customer fall by about 25%, so we need to increase our customer numbers just in order to stand still.
    We run art and craft workshops for adults - card making, knitting and painting; these are well attended now and earning us a good additional income. The classes also help enormously to sell the supplies we sell. If I run a jewellery making workshop (for which I charge £18 per head) I would expect to sell around £100 rrp in beads and accessories.
    It's half term here at the moment and I've nearly gotten to the end of it in one piece! We've been doing Hallowe'en Crafternoons for kids all week and it's been the busiest we've ever had. Much busier than I had anticipated, quite stressful actually, but good for the bank balance!
    Knitting is really big at the moment - our knitting club on a Tuesday is now full and we are starting an additional group on a Thursday. We only charge £4 for the clubs, people bring their own projects with them, but since they generally buy their supplies from us it's a great way of getting paying customers through the door as they can't resist new products when they see them in the flesh. We always show them what's new in case they haven't spotted it!
    I think selling supplies works really well with the handcrafted goods - I'm surprised nobody else appears to be doing this as to me they are very natural bed-fellows.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
    Posted: Nov 1, 2012 By: Doodle-Noodle Member since: Oct 11, 2008
  17. Jenny Ellen

    Jenny Ellen UKBF Newcomer

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    Thank you Doodle its good to hear things are going well, even in these hard times.
    We are very much still in the planning stage at the mo and my next job is to try and find craft people that would be interested in my idea.
    Also looking at shops to lease but am finding i'm not sure what type of lease it would be best to try and negotiate, not having done this type of thing before. I'v tried looking on the forum but not found anything that would help yet.
    So will try posting a new topic and see what people advise. :)
    Posted: Nov 2, 2012 By: Jenny Ellen Member since: Nov 1, 2012
  18. haberdasherybuttons

    haberdasherybuttons UKBF Newcomer

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    Hi I am new to the Forum. I have been planning (for quite some time now) to do this myself, although more along childrens crafts as I am planning on opening a preloved childrens boutique with new local craft pieces to compliment the preloved. I have been to numerous craft fairs and have many cards of the fabulously talented local people in my area. I have approached a few who are very interested in renting out shelving but I am loving Doodles idea of the sellers pack. I know it's incredibly cheeky and a big ask but you don't still have those do you? I have put a few bits together but it would be great to look a bit more professional when approaching potential sellers. Thank you in anticipation Xx
    Posted: Nov 16, 2012 By: haberdasherybuttons Member since: Nov 16, 2012
  19. haberdasherybuttons

    haberdasherybuttons UKBF Newcomer

    2 0
    Hi all, I am new to this forum after discovering it through a hardy search of the internet for information on my new venture. I too am looking at opening a small shop and am also wanting to rent some shelves out to the very talented people in my area. I am hoping to open a childrens boutique type shop with local crafters showing their work as well as my own bits that I make. I have been round many craft fairs and have taken loads of details from potential sellers and have contacted a couple who seem very keen on the idea (which I was really surprised by as I'd never heard of this concept before) As I am just starting a new shop would it be better to ask for no rent and more commission as I would be (in the sellers eyes) more likely to sell their wares? Then I would look at charging rental on a weekly basis once the shop was a little more established and had a good name for itself (fingers crossed!) Also Doodles I was just wondering what you had in your sellers packs? I am trying to put something together to give potential sellers at the moment. Thanks Xx
    Posted: Nov 17, 2012 By: haberdasherybuttons Member since: Nov 16, 2012
  20. HawthornCraft

    HawthornCraft UKBF Newcomer

    24 9
    I am Doodles! Our front room is a contemporary craft gallery with a haberdashery room behind with buttons, felt, sewing essentials etc. As you say, they work very nicely together, and gives us a larger potential customer base than just one or the other. We also find that a lot of people who come in for a button or two would never normally have come into a craft gallery and even if they don't buy a finished piece then, they often come back and are far less intimidated by it all. We don't rent space, taking work either wholesale or SoR but can see how it would work well. Do you curate what you accept? Or is it as long as they pay, they can have a space?

    Posted: Nov 20, 2012 By: HawthornCraft Member since: Mar 30, 2011
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