TracyLH Posted 7 Dec 2008 , 9:35pm
post #1 of

I have a shop in town that is opening that wants to carry my cookies. I am excited, please don't get me wrong, but she insists that every store takes cookies, brownies, other food items like this on consignment. Otherwise I need to drastically reduce the price I would sell them for in order for her to mark them up enough. She hasn't owned a shop before, but insists this is how it is done.

Consignment concerns me because my cookies are incredibly time-intensive and I don't want to get stuck with receiving cookies back after all that work and I can't see doing my 6" cookies for say, $3. I am not trying to be greedy, but there is just so much time in them.

Does anyone sell to a shop and what do you do? She insists that cookies (or things along those lines) are sold to shops on consignment. I just don't feel right about that. Am I wrong?

Any help would be so much appreciated! She really insists all shops sell these kinds of things on consignment and I just need to see if this is the case. I am hoping someone knows so I have some background knowledge one way or another.

I just need to know if anyone knows if this is indeed common practice or not.

25 replies
SILVERCAT Posted 7 Dec 2008 , 10:30pm
post #2 of

I wouldn't do a consignment with her. Let her buy them from you and let her eat the cost of what she paid you. But make sure you price them at what you need to be, don't worry about her having room for mark up thats her problem. Good Luck

-K8memphis Posted 7 Dec 2008 , 11:13pm
post #3 of

This is not a good deal for you.
Consignment food? Puh lease. She is the flim flam man. She wants your cake and eat it too. You do all the work, you take all the risk, suffer all the loss and she gets all the profit.
Forget it.
No way.
Just say no thank you.


She is pretty much not playing with a full deck here but if you are bent on working with her you could do dummies and have her take orders. Charge your prices. Silvercat is right she can worry about marking them up from there.

indydebi Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 4:34am
post #4 of

She is fulla crap! k8 hit it head on.

Perishable items sold on consignment is a dumb move. You're taking all the risk ... she's taking none. She wants YOU to lower your price and take less profit when YOU'RE the one doing all the work?

Allow me to bend over to make it easier for her to kiss my .... well, you know.! icon_rolleyes.gif

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 6:26am
post #5 of

I am thinking of doing the same thing as TracyLH. Tracy thanks for starting this thread and I hope you won't mind if I ask a follow up question to yours.

So if consignment is not the best way (I honestly don't think it is but other people don't) what's the best way to "word" it to the shop owner?

Thanks everyone!

TracyLH Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 10:55am
post #6 of

Thanks, guys! I am just in a bit of a bind as she says this IS the way it is done, at least in NY where she is from.

Indydebi - I was really hoping you would respond. So in your experience, is consignment not done normally as she says? Obviously, this is not the best plan for me, but I am trying to figure out what is the norm.

When I told her I did not want to do consignment due to concerns after all the work of getting unsold cookies back (I am not sure how much business she will get), she said that it was the "price of business" and "Obviously, you don't want to be an entreprenuer." I explained that was not the case, but that it just wasn't worth it for the time involved due to the time-intensiveness of my designs. I was proud of myself that I stood up for myself as that is not so easy for me to do. I told her that I was likely not the cookie person for her, but she knows my work and that it is unique in our area, so she backed down, changing her tone. She still wants them on consignment, thus the question if this is the normal practice.

So...does anyone have any experience themselves with doing this either by selling theirs directly or by consignment so I can get a feel for what is normally done?

TracyLH Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 1:04pm
post #7 of

Cupcakeshoppe - I am hoping others will answer your question so I can see what they say, but on my end, I told her that my cookies are very time-intensive (luckily she has seen them) and for the amount of time that goes into them, I don't wish to possibly receive them back in a few weeks. They are just too much work to risk that. I told her that if the cookie was a simpler design, it woudn't be such an issue, but that is not the type of work I do. Plus, if the design was simpler, I don't think they would sell for the price they would be marked at. I am not sure this helps you.

Hopefully someone else will chime in (Indydebi, are you there??? icon_biggrin.gif )

GeminiRJ Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 1:16pm
post #8 of

The only way I would feel comfortable with this arrangement is to make a very, very limited number of cookies (or even "dummy cookies") and have an order form available. You could word it to be such that you want the customer to have only the freshest cookie possible, which means special order. This woman is the one who doesn't want to be an entreprenuer...not you! She isn't willing to take any risk whatsoever! She's put it all in your lap. I would say she accepts the special order deal, or it's no deal. (Assuming she doesn't back down on the consignment thing, and just carry your cookies at her own risk. And how much risk would it be? Your cookies are fabulous!)

kneadacookie Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 1:34pm
post #9 of

definately not on consignement. do you want to be stuck with cookies after the fact. and then what happens if one's broken or just missing...who pays for that.
i sell to the bakery i work at. i do give them a discounted price. they then mark them up 30%. it took a couple of months for everyone to get used to the fact that my cookies were there, and now i have a steady ongoing order from them.
good luck

indydebi Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 2:06pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeminiRJ

This woman is the one who doesn't want to be an entreprenuer...not you! She isn't willing to take any risk whatsoever! She's put it all in your lap.



totally agree!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TracyLH

When I told her I did not want to do consignment due to concerns after all the work of getting unsold cookies back (I am not sure how much business she will get), she said that it was the "price of business" and "Obviously, you don't want to be an entreprenuer."



And my response would be that to stock my EXCELLENT cookies is to buy them wholesale and resell them, and the ones that don't sell, SHE eats..... It's "the price of business" and "obviously YOU don't want to be an entreprenuer."

That knife cuts BOTH ways.

If you can check with other shops to see if this is "the norm", I would do that. Then you could have info to come back to her with such as "so-and-so shop doesn't do it consignment; that-n-that shop doesn't do it consignment...." etc.

As a caterer, boy I'd LUV to get a deal like this! Can you imagine how my costs could be reduced if I could just get a bunch of food in here on consignment and then pay for it IF it sells .... or just return the frozen cheesecakes or the sour cream 8 weeks later at no cost to me? Whatta deal! dunce.gif

TracyLH Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 2:29pm

Thanks ladies!

GeminiRJ - thanks for the kind words! You are right about the limited quantity idea if I do consignment and I like your dummy cookie idea. I just usally do 12 minimum, but I think that might be too many. It just depends on how much foot traffic they are going to get. It will be a tiny store, off the main road, but it is in a very upscale area. I guess if I did get desparate and do consignment, I would have to determine if it is worth the time and gas to do it. Maybe I need to think about your wholeslale idea. Definitely kills the $1/inch thought, but it would be a sale. I'll just have to analyze how much I would actually make and see how much she could charge. I appreciate you telling me the 30% idea as that gives me a start.

Kneadacookie - you are right! I had thought about the broken cookie aspect as I was tossing and turning last night and had forgotten about it this morning. Excellent point!

Indydebi - Oh, I am so glad you saw this! There is a place in town that sells cookies (dried out and boring, but decorated cookies, none the less.) I will call them today.

Thanks to everyone for your much valued advice! icon_biggrin.gif

johnson6ofus Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 5:56pm

No a pro- but a mom here... my 2 cents. Don't forget everyone wants to touch, poke and break it, How many horror here on the cake discussion that goes, "..I just wanted to see if it was real...". And of course, no one will actually buy a broken cookie. If the shop owner has no vested interest in protecting your product (you get all the unsold back), I am sure the breakge will be even worse!

RUN!

I would think dummies would be the only way to go. Shop owner can make 30%, and all is good (depending on what you turn around it, or freezer stock is).

kneadacookie Posted 8 Dec 2008 , 6:06pm

tracy...your cookies are SSSOOOOOO worth it. don't settle for anything less. and don't undercut yourself on the wholesale price.

bakinccc Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 4:03am

Here's my two cents also, not very business-like, just my gut-feel...this doesn't sound like a win-win situation for the both of you. Too many risks. In my opinion business will come to you in other ways simply because you're cookies are fabulous and word will spread. I think I'd put my effort into a website to "show" people your work rather than this venture. Good luck with whatever you decide though.

TracyLH Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 11:18am

Thanks to everyone for your input! Good point bakincc! I see a lot of pitfalls with this plan, but she decided to go ahead and buy outright a set of wine cookies and a set of holiday for herself to use. From there, we will play it by ear, but I really don't want to do consignment. Johnson6ofus and kneadacookie are right about possible damage.

I will still test this idea of having them in the shop as the owner and I have been working on this idea for a while and she is really supportive of my cookies in general. I may go the route kneadacookie does and discount them. The owner says she will do that, just says that I will make less than on consignment, but I just don't want the risk with consignment. The hardest thing is figuring out what your cookies would actually sell for in a store so I can discount them and see if it is worth it. icon_smile.gif

Thanks again to everyone for your time and thoughts! Have a wonderful holiday season!

-K8memphis Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 11:23am
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracyLH

... I see a lot of pitfalls with this plan... The hardest thing is figuring out what your cookies would actually sell for in a store so I can discount them and see if it is worth it. icon_smile.gif




You are making designer cookies. My recommendation is set a designer price and let the cookie crumbs fall.

JenWhitlock Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 12:53pm

Tracy,
I wouldn't want to do consignment either. I hope you can work it out without doing consignment!

I don't have any real experience with this but I wanted to comment on my observations...

First in NY your cookies could easily be $12-15 each. (that "Recipe for Success" show on Food Network had a cookie lady doing really nice - but not as detailed as you selling for $15 each!) so I think that you or the shop owner should be able to sell your cookies for more than $6 ($1/inch). (maybe not to soccer moms but certainly to the clientel that the shop owner wants) I think that CBD is actually more than $1/inch so I would tell her to pay you your price and mark them up.

next, when I was in SoCal there was a Bakery Boutique (food and gift items) that had 6" cookies in the shop for $10 each! (they weren't very well done so I wanted to take a snapshot to show hubby what a lame cookie was going for, but they wouldn't allow photos icon_rolleyes.gif ) I saw people ordering cakes and cookies at the counter, but didn't see people buy them from the store. Unfortunately for them, they disappeared after a few months.

finally, here in Indy there is a boutique at a mall that has adorable stuff and was carrying a few cookies. the cookies were nice but not in the same universe as yours! they were probably bigger than 6" and marked at $5.95! I doubt that they were on consignment because I just saw the pumpkin cookies on the -50% Thanksgiving merchandise table! They weren't marketed well in the store - just sitting on some table - I would have put them up near the register.

so, again, NO consignment. I think that these cookies a more special order and not like someone will pick them up and eat them on the spot. Probably good as gifts, or as part of a gift basket. I think that if she bought them from you, she'd be more likely to market them more.

ok, that was a bit rambling, but I would call other stores and try and find out about the consignment and also look into cookie prices. I think she should be able to charge at lot more than $1/inch for your AMAZING cookies. (I think that you should too!!!!)

TracyLH Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 2:17pm

Good point K8memphis! They are designer cookies.

Jen, thanks for taking so much time to answer this! You have some excellent points and I appreciate you passing on what you have seen for pricing in shops. That really helps! She is trying to make her shop kind of a mini Dean & Deluca. Dean & Deluca has designer cookies - Elenis to be exact. Although I am nowhere in Elenis' league, I can always point out how much those are and, hey, if she wants to go that route, she always can. At least I can give her that option. (Although I am not too sure I want to tell her about Elenis yet! icon_biggrin.gif ). I did call one shop I knew off that carried decorated cookies, but as it turns out, they are a chain, so that is different.

Thanks for all of the backup everyone on not wanting to do consignment. I think she does want to carry the cookies and I do want her to, so it is a matter now of seeing how much to discount them or how close I can get to a reasonable price for my time and if her shop clientelle can support the price. Thankfully, it is a somewhat popular little town (or so I hear - it is mighty, mighty small and off the beaten path).

You all have been tremendously helpful! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif
Much, much appreciated! I will use what you have said when I talk to her (back-up from other cookie bakers!) so I have some sort of power behind my words as to what others like me do or would do.

SweetDreamsAT Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 2:30pm

By the way, and I'm not just saying this... You ARE in Eleni's league as far as creativity and skill!!! And you deserve to be in that pricing category too! All you need is that mysterious (to me) magical marketing ingredient! icon_biggrin.gif

sweetcravings Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 2:38pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus

No a pro- but a mom here... my 2 cents. Don't forget everyone wants to touch, poke and break it, How many horror here on the cake discussion that goes, "..I just wanted to see if it was real...". And of course, no one will actually buy a broken cookie. If the shop owner has no vested interest in protecting your product (you get all the unsold back), I am sure the breakge will be even worse!.





This reminds me of some decorated cookies i saw being sold at Winners recently. They had a small display by the register and of course it caught my eye, so i took a closer look. JUst about every cookie in there was cracked or damaged in some way. Probably for the same reason you mention. People just can't resist touching the product..kid takes one to look at, mom is paying for merchandise and doens't realize kid is ruining cookie...when mom's done she takes cookie from kid and puts it back in display.
I would think the dummy idea is the way to go, or like others said, very limited supply of cookie.

I know after seeing that it made me think twice about wanting to market my cookies to these types of stores.

gales Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 2:55pm

Cookies are a perishable commodity right? So it is up to the purchaser of the store to purchase what she/he thinks they can sell. If they get it wrong, they have eaten into their profits (pardon the pun), by having unsold out of date stock. I sell undecorated no added sugar cakes to a lady with an indoor market stall in Yorkshire who provides a service for people with a sweet tooth trying to manage their diabetes. She is aware of how many cakes I can make in a batch, and therefore orders from me in that batch size. She panicked a bit in the last week in November and ordered too many as they were flying off the shelves prior to that. She realises she ordered too many batches at once, her fault and a learning curve for her and she may have some left on her hands. She will only order one batch at a time now, she knows it is not feasible to order half batches as I am wasting half of my oven cooking them. She also knows that up to Christmas she needs to give me plenty of notice for when she wants another batch. We have agreed all this amicably before I began taking orders from her. It is a good working relationship, I bake for her, charging slightly less than I would for someone else as a goodwill gesture, she adds on whatever she feels is right in order to cover her overheads, make a profit and price it right for the market and its a win win situation. I am not interested in knowing her mark-up costs because she is taking all the risks, as long as I get what I think is a fair price for my goods I am happy. Hope this helps, its not designer cookies but the principles of working together with a retail outlet are the same.

JenWhitlock Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 3:17pm

thank you SweetDreams!
I wanted to say the same thing!!!
Tracy, your cookies are as good OR BETTER than any I have ever seen!

You keep saying that you should simplify your designs - pish-posh - CHARGE MORE!

TracyLH Posted 9 Dec 2008 , 3:35pm

SweetDreamsAT - You are too sweet! I think you are in the same league as Elenis yourself! I think the magic key is that is she IS Elenis. icon_biggrin.gif Oh, and she is in NY!

Sweetcravings - I will use your example when I talk to her and how you yourself thought twice about selling to a shop due to this. If she buys them outright, she needs to be aware of this.

Gales - cookies or not, your points are excellent and well taken. I can discount them a bit for her or increase the size/detailing so I at least get a certain amount for my time. I usually do a minimum of 12, so perhaps I will need to come down a bit on that until we can see how well these will do.

Jen - You always make me laugh! I love it - "Pish-posh - charge more!" icon_lol.gif Not a bad idea sometimes. I die sometimes when I see what I charge for the amount of work, but I think we all feel that way. I guess we are artists in our own right and how often are artists paid well for what they do? (At least as 'starving artists' we aren't exactly starving as we can eat cookies. icon_biggrin.gif - Okay, no more attempts at humor!). Thanks again for your very valued thoughts!


I think I will say no to consignment and figure out a reasonable price to offer her. 30% markup seems to be what I am seeing. If she likes the idea, great, and if not, I am not the cookie person for her.

Thank you all again!!! I honestly could not do this without all of you! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

Peeverly Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 12:00pm

Ok. Gotta tell you about my experience. There is a candy shop in town where I live. I approached the woman who owns it to show her my cookies and to ask her if she would carry them. She was very excited about them and took them right there. We didn't make a deal at the time. She said she would see how they would sell and then we would talk. I had nothing to lose except for about 8 cookies so I said yes. Well, a few days later I stopped back in. She said that some of the cookies broke (she had them at the cash register and the kids picked them up and broke them). She said they belong in a bakery behind a glass case. So I was out of luck. There is definitely going to be breakage if the cookies can be handled. People are not careful with things that don't belong to them. On consignment those cookies don't belong to the shop owner. She may not be as careful with them (or tell customers to be careful) if she doesn't have something to lose. So, Tracy, you be careful! Don't want you to be discouraged because your cookies NEED to be sold!!!! This is all a learning experience. If you want to try it, go ahead just be aware that it may not work out. Maybe this will be a way for you to get your cookies out there, get a following and then make a change in where and how you do business in the future. Good luck and let us know what you are doing.

Fondly,

Susan AKA Peeverly

yankeegal Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 2:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetDreamsAT

By the way, and I'm not just saying this... You ARE in Eleni's league as far as creativity and skill!!! And you deserve to be in that pricing category too! All you need is that mysterious (to me) magical marketing ingredient! icon_biggrin.gif




I could not have said it better myself!!! I wish you success in whatever you decide to do-you will figure it out!

TracyLH Posted 10 Dec 2008 , 2:14pm

Thanks, ladies! Every bit written is helping! (And the kind words are very much appreciated, expecially from decorators I admire so much).

Susan, I am SO sorry to hear what happened to your creations! That really solidified that the 'cookies in a basket next to the cash register' idea is not a good one!

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