Other than a website, which is a subject in itself, and people that I come in contact with, which is very few with my needing to stay at home, how does one locate a gallery to have ones jewelry at on consignment? What options are there to selling this way?
There are so many more options than people realize. Yes there are the traditional gift shops and galleries. The way I have always gotten into those is to walk in cold, tell them I have jewelry I would love for them to sell and show it to them before they can say anything.
(Be warned that is not the way most shops like to be approached, they prefer for you to set an appointment and maybe even send them a link to your website before they will agree to meet you. I am just talking about myself and how I go about it which isn't necessarily right, it is just what works for me. Be sure to go about it in a way that fits with your personality. I happen to be a bull in a china shop without fear so ........)
While I pull out my pieces I tell them price for each piece and I give my bottom wholesale price on the first interaction to set the deal and allow them to see my work sells. I have succeeded in getting into venues about 50% of the time.
There are alternative ways as well though. I always try to think out of the box. I have some pieces in a coffee shop here. I trade sales for snacks, coffee or cash. They are small and it helps them out with generating cash and I get free food and exposure. They even put a picture of me up on the wall they printed off the Internet. (Thanks Bubble Tea House).
Just get your stuff out there. The coffee shop carries stones on a cord and simple strung bracelets. The fine art gallery mostly my copper wire gemstone pendants. A resort only strung high end gemstones. You get the drift.
When things are tight and you feel like nothing is moving wrap crystals and take them to the new age book store. Make up 20 simple strung necklaces with overstock beads you may not really like to work with anymore and sell them wholesale to a few shops. Tie your card to each piece for advertising. Make up some interesting necklace components and see if the bead store will buy them or trade for beads, maybe they will even ask you to teach a Saturday class on how to make them.
Find a great deal on something you can then turn over wholesale for a great price. I have close out turquoise strands right now that would be great for that. Not a plug just an example. Approach a store and ask them if they would like any of these close out necklaces. Offer them a deal if they buy 5 or 10. Give them a great deal and they will remember you when you come back in to sell them more (higher priced) jewelry and greet you with a smile as opposed to seeing "just another seller". See it as an investment in a relationship with them.
Remember this is for when you are in a slump. This is to get yourself established. When you get busy and your supply is dwindling, raise your prices and your price points. The point is to make money and not sell yourself short.
A word of advice. Once you have your pieces in a place go visit every week or two. See what is going on. Check what else they are selling. See if you can make something to match their new dresses they got in etc. So many beleive that once in a gallery it's ok to sit back and let the checks roll in but it is work. You need to stay fresh in the owners mind, and change out your pieces or make pieces that cater to the location better.
There is always ways to sell jewelry. Go to a busy coffee shop and wrap stones and lay a few out on the table. I can sell $50 worth in a few hours on a good day. On a bad day I drank great coffee and have some new wrapped crystals to peddle. Kind of like fishing. I have never had a restaurant complain. When they come out to see my work I give them the nicest one for free. There will always be someone who has a rock from a friend, river, camping trip they want wrapped and you start a series of custom orders because they will tell a friend etc...
Counter tops at hair salons, garages, book stores, cafes, furniture stores, pottery studio's, the list goes on. Inexpensive items in a small display on the counter where someone can pick something up as they wait for their bill to be totalled.
Ask a friend to take your pieces to work and offer her a percentage off for free jewelry for your time. Teachers and office workers in the lunch room, what have you. When I worked as a family therapist my secretary had a display of my work on the counter and she made a percentage for every piece she sold.
I also have a rep who gets my jewelry at 45% and can sell it at any mark up she chooses to. She will take 5 or ten pieces at a time. She loves to go shopping and she loves to sell my jewelry so that works. She also ends up buying a lot of it herself or sells it to her friends at her cost.
Since my retail (what the galleries sell my pieces for) is usually 4 times my absolute base wholesale cost it is still a great deal and I still make a good profit.
I also do that with folk who are going to a show and may want more inventory. They get a percentage of all the things of mine they sell and I tell them the absolute minimum I can take. Of course they will want to sell them for more than that because they are getting a percentage.
A note of caution. If you have places selling your work do not undercut them to the general public. Word will get back to them and your relationship with them may end or at least be strained. When the nice lady next door buys a necklace from you for $40 and brags around town about the price and says "You know I saw the same piece at the gallery by her for $100!" it will get back to them.
Now if you have a completely different style you sell just to the gallery then that can not come back to haunt you.