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Consignment fee

I have a friend who owns a nail shop. She has asked me to place my
jewelry in a locked cabinet on display for sale in her shop. Neither
of us knows what a fair percentage is for me to give her from the
sale of each item. I would appreciate suggestions.

Susie Morgan
Elegant Metal Creations

Susie, What’s a nail shop?

As far as I know, the typical consignment arrangement is 60/40 (you
get 60%, the shop owner gets 40%) but this can vary. I’m sure other
Orchid readers will have more to say.

Cq in sunny Littleton, Mass. USA

I concur with CQ from MA. The “standard” gallery consignment split
in my area is also 60/40, with 40 going to the gallery. I think you
could negotiate something better with a non-conventional venue. I
feel 75/25 or 80/20 would be reasonable, since that’s not how the
establishment derives its primary income, and probably is not
advertising or promoting your work. Plus… they most likely don’t
know a 60/40 split is standard at a gallery!

I had some lower end stuff I made for a special purpose and got
stuck with (long story). A friend who owns a restaurant/pub let me
put it in a display case, his people sold it, and I got 100% of the
revenue. You can’t get a deal like that every day! :slight_smile: Only brought
in about $300 over a six month period (I told you it was low end),
but the stuff would still be in my studio otherwise, and took no
sales effort on my part other than setting up! He even had the
display case!

All the best,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

In my experience, the great majority of jewelry/ metals galleries
structure their consignment fee 50/50. This includes the higher
profile galleries often seen on the pages of Metalsmith, Ornament,
etc. There are a few, to be sure, who do offer a 60 % artist, 40%
gallery split, and it is important to adjust your prices relative to
this so that price parity-- the retail cost of a given piece from
gallery to gallery-- can be maintained.

Andy Cooperman

Regarding Dave Sebaste’s advice to “negotiate something better with
a non-conventional venue,” this has certainly been my experience. For
example, I make shallow bowls from old china saucers by building up
the rim with a decorative edging of steel wire. I had a few of these
consigned in a shop that was primarily antiques and collectibles
because the owner wanted to branch out from “just old stuff” to
include contemporary handcrafted decorative objects for the home, and
special occasion gifts. When we discussed retail price and
percentages, I was surprised to find out that the usual arrangement
among antiques and collectibles shops is, in her experience, 80/20. I
told her that the usual arrangement in galleries selling handcrafted
items is 60/40, and we agreed to split the difference. That is, we
agreed to a 70/30 split.

My personal opinion is that it’s outrageous for a gallery to get
50%. I’m having a difficult time imagining why or under what
conditions I’d accept 50%.

CQ in Littleton, Mass. USA

Susie, Consignment is always difficult. The lower you can get it the
better. it is a way of bargaining. I put always extra on the jewellery
if it is for consignment, so that I get the same amount of money as
if I sold it myself. If the shop is selling a lot than you can let
some and win in back in the amount of jewellery. I always explain
that the higher they have the consignment the higher the jewellery
price in there store will be. So if they want to much they will not
sell anything. And if they want you let fall your price don’t do it.
Advertise some extra and the customer will go to you instead of the
consignment store. Do not give to much away. Maybe you have seen that
the jewellery in galleries is very expensive. (that is the extra

Good wisdom, and believe in yourself
Martin Niemeijer’

I have read the thread on this one. I am surprised at the numbers of
people negotiating over the split amount (60/40; 80/20).

Why don’t you just decide how much you want and be done with it.
After you decide then figure what the retail needs to be.

Example: If you want $50 and the split is “60/40” and you want to be
the “40%” person, just divided the $50 you want by “.40” and you’ll
get $125.00. $50.00 is 40% of $125.00.

For the gallery who then says they are an 80/20 split, divide you
$50.00 by “.20” which equals $250.00. $50.00 is 20% of $250.00.

Yes the gallery needs to make a living but so do you.

I helped a retail store with this and the artist wanted an 80/20
split and the artist got the 80%. That left 20% for the store and I
showed the store with a 40% overhead they lost money on every sale.
We told the artist the split had to be different so the store made
more money or they had to remove the items. The artist said she
needed the “amount” it would give her so we told her we would raise
the retail price and reduce the split percentage and it would give
her the same dollars. Her response was “then you’d be more than my
pieces down the street”.

I was ticked that she had the nerve to give another retailer her
line just down the road, what exclusitivity! Anyway we did raise the
prices and it didn’t hurt nor help the sales of her pieces.

Look out for you first. If you’re slow as molasses and want to make
$100,000 per year you might have a problem as the price might be too
high but for normal speed artists and craftsmen you should look out
for you first.

David Geller

I have pieces in 2 nice midtown NYC stores (same owner). The split
is 50/50. It is important to know the store and their clientale.
What do their buyers want and what do they want to spend (retail).
This is not an expensive line ($119. to $189.) I use the nine at
the end because this price range retail buyer likes a nine at the
end. There has been a big shift (both emotionally and financially)
and nobody really knows what is going to happen. We’re walking on
eggs. I like to make high end stuff but I am focusing on the less
expensive right now. I look at materials I already have in my
drawer and use it. I know what my store wants, I know what their
buyer wants, I look my merchandise right in the eye and I price to
sell. This is my first year doing it this way - so - we’ll see. I
expect my stuff will sell and I’ll have the money in January. Last
year I had one piece at $360. that took 11 months to sell in that
location. Too long. I’m not holding out for “designer” prices. I
need a good solid “bread and butter” line. My advise is this:
calculate from 2 angles: What is the correct (and enticing) retail
for the piece – and what is cost/labor/overhead etc. for the piece.
somewhere in between find your wholesale. If you can’t make it
calculate, consider droping the piece from your line. In this new
day, one might have to give a little (even alot) just to stay in the
game. RL