Sale reps & commission

Hi Everyone,

Does anyone know how to find a reputable source for outside reps?
Also, what is the norm for paying reps commission?

Any and all thoughts are greatly appreciated.


Hi Everyone, I posted a query the other day asking if anyone knows
how to find reputable outside reps and what the norm is to pay them
in commission?


Do ALL of you sell your jewelry directly to the customer and/or
retailer? There must be some of you that use outside sources to
assist in your sales, no? I would really appreciate some guidance,
as I need to find people in other regions to help me sell my jewelry
line. Thanks a lot for any help that you may be able to offer me.
Best Regards, Stacey

Hi Stacey,

I don’t sell my jewelry through a rep, yet. I do, however, sell a
line of folk art wire pieces through a stationary rep and have done
so for the past ten years. I “hoofed” it around with these pieces and
had them in a few shops when my rep found me. I lucked out and have
been with her all this time. I have had others along the way, but the
fit was not quite right, for me. My work is sold in 300 locations in
almost every State, Canada too!

Most reps are not interested in someone without a sales track
record, so have your sales pitch ready! Standard commission is 15% of
your wholesale cost for each piece sold. You will also have to
provide them with road samples and liturature.

I think it’s important to find a rep that is in sync with you.
Ultimately, sales are what you want, but your rep is the face that
buyers see, not yours, keep that in mind. They “represent” you!

You could try talking to local retailers to find a leg up. Let
people know that you’re local, are trying to get started and are
looking for a good rep. They may be able to recommend someone.
Another way to access these folks is to join the local Chamber of
Commerce. It’s a great way to meet people that are connected.

Also, check the Orchid archives. there’s lots of great information
there! Best of luck, Pam


i’m not going to be much help, but i will answer your question. yes,
i do sell directly to customers and retailers. about a year and half
ago, i took some time researching how to get a sales rep. i’m from
california, so i started there. i got the market guide books for
both the california market center and the new mart. i found as many
of the designers represented in those books as i could online and
checked out their jewelry. i found the reps that i thought matched
my style the best and sent off a cover letter and a few color
photocopies of digital photos of my work, along with a line sheet. i
got a response from one, but after some email conversations, we
realized that i did not have enough pieces in my line. i needed
about 50 and had only about 25.

about six months later, i went to LA to check out the CMC and the
new mart. these are huge multi-storied buildings that house hundreds
of showrooms of all sorts – men’s shoes to kid’s clothes to women’s
jewlery. i found the floors of the jewelry reps and went by every
one of their showrooms, talking to the reps when i could, leaving
business cards when they were not available.

i found the one rep that i had spoken to previously and while he was
still very interested in my work, i still did not have enough
product in my line.

i found another rep who was interested, but also needed more pieces
to represent me. her theory was: “they (the buyers) have to have
enough to choose from that they can disregard many pieces before
choosing the ones they like.”

i also talked to a rep at Fragments, and his advice to someone small
like me was to find a “road rep”, someone who would go out on the
road to individual stores and sell my line.

basically, at this point, although i felt bolstered and very
optomistic, i realized for me, at that time, a sales rep was not the
way to go.

also, on the commission question, i found that 13-15% seemed to be
the norm.

my adivce to you is to research the markets like those in LA and go
from there. or if you’re in california, you’re set!. i’m not sure
what other cities have them, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find

good luck!

Jocelyn Broyles
Costa Rica ph(011 506) 376.6417
U.S. fax (253) 669.1679

I’ve been selling wholesale for a while and have two reps - one in
Chicago at the Marketplace and one in Atlanta at the Apparel Mart.
Jocelyn is right about the amount of pieces the reps are looking for

  • and another thing - you need to plan on making that many more new
    pieces every few months. They want new merchandise for every show -
    and sometimes shows can run a month after each other. Add this into
    the orders you can get from a show and the combination of designing
    new merchandise and filling orders can really become quite
    overwhelming. As far as how to get those reps, I showed at two
    wholesale trade shows in New York and the reps approached me. At
    these wholesale shows, reps are there looking for new lines.



do you have employees, or do you do all the work yourself? and if
you don’t mind my asking, what was the cost to you of doing the
wholesale shows in new york?

i’m still interested in a sales rep, just not sure if i’m ready, or
if it’s feasible since i live outside of the US.


Jocelyn Broyles
Costa Rica ph(011 506) 376.6417
U.S. fax (253) 669.1679

Hi Katherine and Jocelyn, Thank you so much for your input. WOW!
This is really overwhelming! I did not know that I had to
re-create 50+ pieces every few months, or even every other month.
That seems a little bit “much,” but so be it. I have looked into
the recommendations of these “MARTS” in NYC and the what comes up
is the Gift Blg and Javitts Center—which seemed to have catered
to fashion and not jewelry. I also wrote to another “mart,” I
think, building #41 or something like that. In any case, these
arenas cater to “GIFTS and finer table top items.” I am not too
sure where to go at this point. I do not really want to pay high
fees to be in a trade show right now. Incidentally, don’t you have
to be “juried” into these jewelry shows anyway? I appreciate the
recommendations. I seem to understand that finding a rep is no
easy task. While I have been pointed in the right direction, there
are still some grey areas, in which, I am a bit foggy.
Nonetheless, thank you for your input. I will look into this matter
(my query) and your responses further.

Best Regards, Stacey

Hello to all - I’ve only lurked and appreciate all the good leads
and advice. Actually, more in the fashion business but very
interested in jewelry.

Stacy, you can go to and preview
their lines. There are quite a few jewelry lines. Yes, it’s a
juried show but I suspect that if you have the money, you’re in.
There is another much smaller show which I can’t recall right now.
I know a local jeweler (I’m in the southeast US) has chosen to show
there vs. the larger shows in New York. I’ll find it and post back.