Listen to part of a conversation between a student and an employee at the campus store.
I like those ceramic coffee mugs you have on display at the other end of the store. Were they made by students?
Oh, we only use certain suppliers, wholesalers who’ve been selected by the store manager.
Do you ever sell things made by students?
We use preferred vendors only because, I mean… if we said yes to one student, we’d have to say yes to any student who asks. And the store’s only so big!
Hmm, that’s too bad, cause, um, I make these pretty ceramic bowls, I design them myself, I’m a studio art major.
Anyway...um...I was hoping I could sell them here. Y’see, I’m taking Art 202, "Marketing your Art." And for my final project, I need to find a way to sell my own artwork.
Hmm… What about selling online? A lotta art and crafts are marketed that way.
I really don’t have the computer skills, or the time to manage a Web site.
What about the Emporium? you know, that gift shop downtown? I’ve seen items by local artists there.
The Emporium buys directly from artists?
Well, they sell items on consignment.
Consignment… I think my professor mentioned that.
Yeah, you give them some items to sell on your behalf, and then you and the store split the purchase price.
But they wouldn’t pay you anything up front if that’s what you want. And you might need to provide your own display case.
Oh, I already have a display case, a portable one with three shelves.
But aren’t the shops that would, you know, just buy stuff from me outright? Cause, if not enough bowls are sold, how would I recoup the cost of my materials? They’re not cheap… and neither was the case!
All the stores around here that sell craft items are small and independently owned, like the Emporium.
For them, selling on consignment lowers their risk; they don’t get stuck with unsold items, they can return them to the owner.
You just have to make sure you set a retail price high enough to make it worth your while.
But you’re right, consignment isn’t for everyone. What about the spring craft fair? Y’know, that outdoor market that’s held on Saturdays?
Plenty of local people sell their stuff there, ceramics, jewelry, decorative items… The vendor fee is nominal, I believe.
Oh yeah, I remember seeing that last year… all those tables lined up in that vacant lot on Main Street, right?
Right! Since the craft fair’s only a few blocks from campus, it seems like a good place for students to sell things.
Do you know how it works?
I think you just rent a space and set up a table to display your bowls on.
You’d set the prices and keep all the profits.
Seems doable. But, hmm… I don’t have a car to haul everything down there.
You could take the campus bus, it goes into town on weekends.
<-FEMALE STUDENT:->True. But… I’d also have to sit there all day when I should be in the library or the studio.
I don't know… I suppose I could do my reading assignments between customers.