Artisan Cooperative Workspace – Is There Any Advantage Beyond Exposure?

by Michele Counihan.

Artisan Cooperative Workspace - Is There Any Advantage Beyond Exposure?  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I recently joined a new artisan cooperative workspace owned by the niece of a former employer.

About a month after the opening, she had a designers meeting and told us we each have to pay $125 per quarter in addition to her 25% commission on each sale and fees for table space at local events.

I paid the $125 for the Fall quarter, hoping I would more than break even with holiday events coming up.

Now I’m not so sure there is any advantage beyond exposure.

I would really like to know what the Community think about this. Thanks!

by Michele Counihan.

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  1. Sarah Small says:

    I would say to ask what that money is getting you, especially since it popped up AFTER you had already joined. If she is using it to help pay for advertising and such, it might be worth it. But if it is just to help her bottom line, then that is probably ALL that it will help.

  2. Hi Michele,
    I had the same thought as Sarah, regarding the new fee of $125 per quarter. And regarding the possible benefits of belonging to this Artisan Cooperative Workspace – when you signed up for it, did you get some sort of agreement or contract detailing:
    – what’s expected of you,
    – what’s expected of the Workspace owner,
    – what are the benefits of joining?
    You might also want to talk to the other members of the Workspace, to see how they plan to make the most of their membership there.

  3. $ 500.00/year is a lot to come up with in hopes that your recover it in sales. I can understand the 25% commission. Are the table fees extra? I would have to back out of this– sounds like she did not think this through thoroughly.

  4. Catherine says:

    Plain and simple…she’s out of her mind. $125 a quarter. I would need to see some stats first, and since she has none because its new. I agree, if it’s towards promotion I would need to know details, if not, then I would take a wait and see approach. Otherwise, you may as well, take $125 in $5 bills and toss it out your car window as you drive down the road. It’s all wasted or gambled away money. There’s less than 1% chance you are going to break even, unless your jewelry profit margin is 1000%

  5. If it is a cooperative “workspace”, do you have a studio or access to an actual workspace that you use? Or is it only a cooperative gallery/retail space? If the latter, I agree with previous comments. If you have useful studio/workspace as part of the quarterly fee, it may be worth it as rent, but only if you make use of it. Good luck!

  6. Sue Taylor says:

    If this gets your name and product out there it might be worth it for a quarter. What if you and a few others decide to go your own way after this quarter and form your very own cooperative. This may be a more satisfactory endeavor.
    Sue Taylor

  7. Blanche Nonken says:

    I am considering joining our local crafters co-op, but out here $125/quarter would get laughed at as “city thinking”. I have the rules/bylaw sheet and the application, and $35 a year plus 25% commission sounds downright reasonable compared to yours but we’re pretty rural – Churchill County, Nevada. I’m looking at exposure plus sales, without having to impact the time I have on our farm.

  8. The owner changing the terms so quickly and unexpectedly after you’ve signed on would be a big red flag, in my opinion. If it were me, I would proceed with utmost caution, if I chose to continue on, and only with a written agreement in hand to protect myself.

  9. I signed a contract with a cooperative artisan store, as a cosigner my jewelry sells 60/40, other artists are members and pay $145 a month, these people also get a percentage of all sales each month as well as a percentage of what they sell. Did this woman have you sign a new contract? If not you’d do well to ask for a new contract and not pay anything until she does.

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