Sunday, 19 June 2011

No Sale & No Return

My genius brain finally clicked with what 'sale or return' meant. Basically you give, for free, your precious jewellery masterpieces to a complete stranger & hope that they will eventually give you some money for them or that you can get them back unharmed at some date in the future. Pretty trusting, eh? It's what I'd already been doing at the gallery, but hadn't heard the term before. So, armed with my great depth of experience selling handmade jewellery (about 17 items to date) & my newly acquired terminology of 'sale or return', I confidently approached another craft shop.
I wavered slightly, when across the counter of this shop I met the gaze of a rather dour faced man. In response to my query as to whether he had the time to to look at my jewellery for a moment, I rather got the impression that he was looking to see if any real customers were about to enter the shop to give him an excuse to decline. However, it remained completely devoid of any life except the two of us. He closed his newspaper & then dragged off the lid of one my boxes. I'm sure I saw a brief spark of interest, but it soon faded when he then asked the question 'How much?' Well, I wasn't going to go straight into giving the jewellery away this time, so I answered '£15 per necklace.' He frowned, picked another one up, 'Even this one?' he asked.
'Yes, even that one.' I was going to stand my ground this time.
His frown deepened. 'And just how much have you sold them for yourself?'
For some strange reason, I answered honestly, 'Well £18 to £21, but I'm sure you'll sell them for more here.' (After all, he is a proper shopkeeper, I thought)
He laughed at me & said, 'Well that's not much of a mark up. I get these for £7 & sell at £14 & they're very popular & even those, they're sterling silver!'

Well, he had a point I suppose, but I couldn't give away my masterpieces, hours & skill in the making, for about £9 each.Couldn't pay a mouse for that wage.
I pointed out that they were individually handmade (NOT MASS PRODUCED!!) & Made in Cumbria ...everyone loves that.
Well, not this man. 'I don't believe in all that made in Cumbria nonsense.' He smiled, as he watched me squirming in front of him. I briefly considered telling him that he was missing the opportunity of a lifetime, as although I was as yet an unknown jewellery artiste, one day I would be famous & if he got in there quick he would already have some of my works. It seemed a little premature to be saying this, though. Instead I offered victoriously my trump card.'You can have them on a sale or return basis.'
He sighed, as he obviously realised there was only one way to get this woman out of his shop. 'I'll show your pictures to my business partner, it'll be up to her.'

Loaded with boxes of jewellery I exited the shop, confident in the knowledge that I would not be returning!

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