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Catalog Reps

I am in a quandary and hope for feedback from you wise and
experienced Orchidians. A company has approached me about
representing my products (in this case jewelry) to various catalogs.
I believe the 15% commission they take on the value of any item
placed in a catalog is within reason. However they also require a
substantial amount of money (+/- $6000) to represent my jewelry to
the catalogs and I�m not at all sure that is reasonable. I�d
appreciate any feedback you can give me� am I being ripped off if I
agree to this? Is this a typical representation fee? I�m a novice in
this arena and will receive any help you can offer with much


I’d have to be VERY skeptical. Check out thoroughly, check out
other people they represent, check out the guarantees they give you,
etc, etc. Don’t know if the fee is ‘typical’ or not, but sounds like
a good way to get a big chunk of your money up front and not produce
a darn thing.

Maja, the first rep I ever had sold like crazy for me and she did so
consistently. The second two I tried were in the wrong market for my
work and didn’t work out. The last rep I tried was a catalogue rep
that went nuts for my work. They didn’t ask for anything up front
although that was ten years ago. The 15% sounds consistent with what
they asked for. Unfortunately, when it came time to swap out the
initial samples for the full line, they returned the initial ones
haphazardly thrown in a box (not secured to the jewelry boards as
I’d given them). They handled my work so poorly that I fired them
and went to the catalogue houses myself.

I learned a lot by submitting to about half a dozen catalogues that
I thought fit the market for my work. You submit samples, wait,
call, wait some more. I finally landed a prestigious catalogue house
only to discover that I couldn’t possibly meet their production

All in all, what I’d have to say is that the biggest problems I
think I’ve had with reps is that they didn’t know how to properly
target the right market for my work which was high end. Reps often
need new lines constantly to present to their accounts (I was one
for a few years).

Bottom line, I get very suspicious of any rep that asks me for money
up front, especially large monies. Will they tell you which
catalogues they plan on presenting your work to? Probably not for
fear you’ll go there yourself. You just carry the largest part of
the risk. They’re carrrying several lines to each place they go,
counting on the fact that at least one will sell to cover their

Just my experience and I’m sure there are folks out there with more
updated info than mine. Just be very careful, see how much reference
info they’ll give you, how open they are to your questions, etc.
Make them explain fully what you’ll be getting for taking all this
expensive up front risk. Good luck

It is a rip off, You can approach the catalogs yourself for free.


I have been approached several times by several different companies
via e-mail/phone claiming to be reps with connections to major
catalogs. The percent plus “deposit” of thousands is a rip off. I
routinely go to the Better Business Bureau web site and check these
companies out. I have never read a positive report on any of the
ones that have contacted me. I would recommend you do the same before
considering involvement.