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Friday 8 June 2012


Hello everyone, I'm Jill's guest blogger this week so let me start with a short introduction.  I'm Jan from  Handcrafted by Picto 

I love painting and all sorts of crafts, I 'play' around with wood, fabric, paper, clay and all manner of other mediums. I am originally from Merseyside but have lived the rural life in Suffolk for more than 20 years. I occasionally show my art work in local galleries and recently entered a couple of photographs into an exhibition and I'm pleased to say that I made my first photograph sale (I'm especially pleased as it's my first ever photographic exhibition).

I have a Folksy Shop  and a Wow Thank You Shop where I sell my 'makes', my most popular items are Name Plaques and Fairy Doors, I have a facebook page where you can see a wider range of my crafts in the photograph albums.

I thought I'd talk a bit about selling my wares in a bricks and mortar shop, when I first decided to try this I asked advice from people who have already gone down this route, I searched the Internet for information and read anything I could on the subject. I found out that having products a bricks and mortar shop can be a minefield, there is so much to think about and so much to decide. Do I try the Sale or Return route or do I try Wholesale? Do you rent a shelf? Do I keep everything semi informal or do I have a cast iron contract? Most people will have their own preference, what is right for one person may not be right for the next but it's a good idea to set up some sort of agreement or contract, this is a business transaction after all.

Some things to consider (in no particular order) are:
  • Pricing. Start with what you want for your product, the shop can then add their own mark-up or they may have a set commission.
  • Promotion. Where and how will your items be displayed.
  • Loss or Damage. Who is responsible for loss, theft, or damage.
  • Statement of Ownership. Make sure that the shop cannot claim the goods as assets if they get into financial difficulties.
  • Time Limit. Agree a time scale for changing any unsold items.
  • Payment. How and when.
  • Product. Are you putting the right product in the right type of shop?
  • Location. Is it a local shop you can pop in to or do you have to send items in the post or travel great distances.

OK so do you remember that I said I sought advice? Yes, well, the first time I had anything in a real, walk in shop was against every piece of advice I'd been given or read about. As a trial I asked a friend, who owns a local gift shop, if I could place some of my paintings and plaques in the shop to see what kind of reception they would receive. We didn't have any contract, either written or verbal, the whole thing was done on trust. The items I chose for the shop done well and I was asked to do a few more. One of the reasons that they were successful was they suited the type of shop. Oshuns Emporium sells lots of crystals, essential oils, incense and all manner of eco-friendly and handmade items, so my Green Man paintings, toadstool and nature paintings have done well there.

The second shop I approached sold baby clothes and nursery furniture so the items I chose for that shop were mainly Name Plaques, Art Holders and Bunting. I got lots of new orders and even though the shop has now closed I still get orders from 'repeat' customers.

I then moved on to a larger shop with more exposure Cavern 4 is a great Art Shop in Bury St Edmunds, I approached them one day while out shopping, I didn't have any items with me but made an enquiry and left a business card. I contacted them a few days later and we set up an appointment, I took along a selection of items which were all accepted. Because this shop is used to dealing with Sale or Return items they had an agreement form already in place that was very fair to both parties.

Cavern 4 is part of Workwise whose aim is to provide work based training for adults with mental health and physical disabilities. They encourage self esteem and independence through work.

I have set up meetings with another couple of outlets and will be keeping my fingers crossed for successful replies.

Sale or Return has worked well for me, I find it gives me flexibility and is another way to get my work 'out there'. 

If you already sell in a shop I'd like to wish you Good Luck with all your endeavours and if you don't I like to say, give it a go, it could be just your thing.

Thank you for reading of my personal experience and a BIG Thank you to Jill for allowing me to take part in her Guest Blogger Spot.

I also blog over at Handcrafted by Picto, I hope you can pop over and say hello.


  1. Thanks for posting. I always enjoy reading Jill's guest posts x.

    Um, what's behind the lovely fairy doors?

    Lesley x.

  2. Very interesting to hear a bit more about Handcrafted by Picto.

  3. Thank you for the opportunity of being a guest poster. x

    Jan x

    1. Thank you, Jan, it's a great post and has given me some ideas to move forward with my business. Your post has been RTd on Twitter over the last couple of days, so hope you get some new visitors.

  4. Hi Jan! It's nice to meet you. You offer some great advice and your items are so cute!


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