Monday, December 22, 2008

end of the year

I got the last of the holiday orders shipped out at the end of last week, and things feel a lot more chill around here. over the weekend (not the best weather for being outdoors) I started organizing my photo files and uploading shots of some older pieces to flickr. it's been quite a year, and more successful than I could have dreamed. in the spring four shops that I was selling with closed. when I brought it up to people I got a lot of well wishes, but honestly it was the best thing that could have happened. I had been selling to shops on consignment since 2001, and it was time to make the transition to wholesale.

for those of you who don't know how this works, selling on consignment means that you place your items in a shop and get paid when the items sell. it's a great way for new designers to get their work shown and for smaller shops to fill their inventory and try out new designers. through working this way I've developed great relationships with store owners and have had the opportunity to see how certain items sell, tweaking and developing my line in the process.

the downside to selling on consignment is that it's time consuming. it involves contacting the store owner every few months, arranging a time to stop by, preparing new items and an inventory sheet, and bringing along active inventory sheets. while in the shop I'll go through with the owner what has sold, get paid, decide what old items I'm pulling out, and present the new collection.

over the past few years I've filled a few wholesale orders with out of town shops. It always involved sending a digital catalogue in pdf format. This again was time consuming, since the catalogue needed to be updated each time I sent a new one out. b and I both agreed that an online ordering system would streamline the process and enable me to sell my one of kind pieces at wholesale. we talked about it for probably a year before we started working on it in earnest this fall. we decided to have the launch coincide with a site redesign and update in early november.

I should mention that with the exception of april, in which I sold during the opening month at the brooklyn flea, spring and summer were very slow. I started preparing as early as I could for fall and holiday, and I'm happy to say it all worked out as planned. the night we were in the process of launching and testing the new site, an item sold before we were even finished.

thanks to everyone for a great year. I'm super excited and full of new ideas for 2009.

oh, and happy chanukah.


sulu-design said...

Interesting to hear your take on the whole consignment thing. I've never gotten my act together enough to make line or inventory sheets up, and while I know that selling wholesale alone would be a lot easier, I can't make the complete jump, so I'm doing consignment at a handful of places.
Wishing you a successful 2009, and looking forward to seeing where you and you lovely pieces go!

dash said...

hey susan-
I guess you'll know when/if it's time to do wholesale. Everyone's business moves at its own pace. That's something I learned through doing it. at first, people were eager to tell what I "should" do. but there's no one right way.
thanks and best of luck to you too!

betsy and iya said...

Hey Mollie! I know this is a super late comment, but I just realized you had written a response comment to an older post I had responded, that's a mouthful. Anyways, I'm still working my way through this whole blogging thing, but I am truly enjoying it.

It's so great that you got your online shop up and running! It looks really great. I was so close, but my whole website deal fell through and I had to do a switcheroo with my developer. It looks like I will just have Etsy for now and maybe spring time a new shop? (fingers crossed).

BUT I wanted to say, I TOTALLY agree with you on the consignment/wholesale thing. Consignment is a great start, but switching over to wholesale is incredibly refreshing.

Thanks for reading my incredibly long comment.

Happy New Year!!