(Fort Wayne, Indiana USA)
I was recently contacted by an online retailer regarding my jewelry.
They would like to list my items on their site then buy that item from me (at 50% retail) once someone buys it from their site.
Is this good business? I don’t want to lose money, but I think the exposure could be great.
It is hard to tell because every business is different. You should start by doing a Google search of the company, check out their site with a fine tooth comb and then review in detail the agreement or contract they send you.
Just remember, if it is too good to be true, it usually is.
The key is control
The question is who is in control and that’s the key to your success.
If you hold the product for sale and you do the shipping after you are paid you have the best position.
You should also have some questions.
Is everything going to be in writing?
Are you exempt from returns?
Are you responsible for anything other than creating the product and shipping it to your retailer?
What system are you using for payment? If by check I’d be very suspicious, it can take a long time for a check to clear even if it is a good one.
I’d give it a shot after you do a background check on the company and start out with only a couple of pieces to get your feet wet, so to speak.
Depending on what your agreement is, they have some risk too. They would be depending on you to produce good merchandise among other things.
Sometimes if there is no risk there is no reward and we have to think outside the box. Not everybody is a crook.
With prudent decision making you might make some money and with only a couple pieces of your work if things don’t work out you won’t break the bank.
Awesome answers, Millie and Leigh!
Just a quick addition to Leigh and Millie’s fantastic insights above:
Further to Leigh’s suggestion to check up on the online retailer, I would do Google / Bing searches for some of the phrases the company used in the message you received from.
(See Internet Scam Artists Ordering Handmade Items – Beware for Janine’s story of diagnosing a fraudulent jewelry order.)
I definitely agree with Millie that you should make sure to put in writing everything that’s expected of both you and the other company.
You might also ask the company to give you references from other vendors / artists they’ve worked with. Then do some Googling to investigate those vendors / artists yourself, before contacting them for their feedback on the company.
Please keep us posted, Cynthia! And best of luck to you!
Thrid Party Vendors – or not.
by: Patricia C Vener
I was once approached by someone this way too; via email. When I asked for references they refused. I, of course, did not do business with them.
by: Cynthia Barnes
Thanks for the awesome feedback and suggestions! I now have a better understanding of what to expect with this type of agreement and I’m armed with a list of questions to ask before entering into any union. I’m so glad I came here for answers.
Cynthia Barnes Designs
Be Afraid, Very Afraid
by: Doug Kelly
We all get these mass mailings that tell us our jewelry is nice and they want to put it in for Nordstrom or whatever fancy store with a name you recognize.
Tip #1 – never ship anything BEFORE you get paid for it.
Tip #2 – If you get paid by check, make sure it clears before shipping.
Tip #3 – if they want to pay you by direct deposit, refuse. Once they get your banking information they can also withdraw money. Check with your financial institution BEFORE you engage in any arrangement like that.