Friday, October 23, 2015

What Exactly is a Trunk Show?

Have you ever heard an artist or jewelry designer say they are doing a trunk show?  Well what's so interesting about a trunk?  Why do you want to show it?  Every vehicle has one.....  Lol

Really I am not sure why trunk shows are called that, but I am going to say it's because you have all your merchandise loaded in your car, you show up at a store or gallery, sell for a day or short set time, and load everything back up into your trunk.

I have done trunk shows just like my ceramic beads and jewelry to a gallery for 2 days, set up a temporary display, the owner advertises that I will be there, I pay her an agreed upon percentage of sales, I pack up and drive home.  Simple, right?  Well, I like to do a make and take project while at the store with the customers for a small fee.  It gets there hands on my product and helps increase sales.  Plus, it's fun!  If I have hotel, gas, and other travel expenses, I negotiate a 30% commission that I pay the gallery for hosting me.  I am doing the selling.  Sometimes I check out the sales, other times the gallery collects the money and pays me.  But every sale gets written up so there is a copy to the customer, one to the store, and one for me.

Mobile trunk shows are becoming more popular.  There is a big element of trust with this as you are shipping your product to a store states away from where you live.  I always negotiate all the trunk show terms before I ship, and I put it all into writing on an inventory sheet.  I pay to ship it there, and the store pays to return the unsold merchandise and my payment check to me.  A months time is pretty standard.  Most sales and events occur on the weekends, so you want to maximize that time element.  I pay 40% of the sales to stores that host a mobile trunk show for me.  They are doing all the selling and collecting of money.  They have to unpack the box and merchandise it.  I put my suggested retail price on the inventory sheet, but it's common for the store to price it according to their market.  This tray of beads is going to North Carolina next week.  There are 121 pendants here, and I am in the process of making 79 more...they asked for 200 pendants.  Whew!

I met the store owner at Bead Fest in Philadelphia in August.  So I have all her contact information and have already formed a friendship of trust.  That is where most of my trunk shows come from - contact at a show.  I have never had a problem being paid or having my merchandise returned.  I urge you to try this selling technique!


Shelley Graham Turner said...

THANKS so much for this post. I just recently opened my gallery and was asking how this works! Perfect timing. Wish YOU were closer!

Firefly Design Studio said...

That's awesome!!!! We can do the mobile version 😃