Using A Jewelry Sales Representative
to Sell Your Jewelry
A jewelry sales representative is an independent, self-employed contractor working as a commissioned salesperson. Their role is to act as liaisons between retailers and you, represent your interests, and promote the sale of your products.
This commissioned salesperson will take your samples and literature around from store to store trying to sell them. He/she gets orders from each of them and passes the orders back to you to be filled and shipped.
A jewelry sales representative is usually paid on a commission basis (a certain percentage of the value of the orders taken), you can expect to pay anywhere from 15% to 20% or more of the total sales. The advantages of using a sales rep include the following:
- since customers are located for you, it frees you up to spend more time on production,
- they only get paid if they make orders,
- it provides you with the opportunity for business growth and increased sales,
- it enables you to access new territories or obtain contracts because of their connections and experience in the industry.
If you feel that you would rather stay home, concentrate on producing, get the orders sent to you, and fill them as they arrive— rather than becoming involved in all the details of selling—then maybe having a representative is your marketing outlet. But keep in mind that you will have to give up 20% or more of your total wholesale sales to your rep. Can you fit this cost into your pricing and still make a profit?
Most jewelry designers would automatically assume that a representative is out of the question for them, but a careful evaluation of the situation might prove otherwise. If a sales rep is doing all the footwork of finding buyers and taking orders, then much more of the jewelry designer's time could be freed for additional production, perhaps this would more than compensate for the commission a sales representative would charge.
In selecting a sales rep, it is important to find one that is interested in you and your work. Otherwise he or she won't be able to sell your products well. It is vital that you prepare a written Sales Representative's Agreement that defines such business arrangements as:
- sales territory
- each party's responsibilities
- exclusive or non-exclusive
- your terms of sale
- credit policy
- delivery dates
- shipping and packaging policies
There should also be a clause that stipulates how either party can break the relationship should it prove unsatisfactory for any reason.
In order for the representative to sell your line(s), you must supply him or her with complete information about you and your work, including background information about yourself as a jewelry designer and the processes involved in the making of your products. Your rep will also need price lists, order forms, and samples of the items to be sold.
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