What do you do if you have merchandise in a gallery, they sell several items and then they tell you it will be a while before they can pay you? Should have had a contract I know, but it is a friend of a friend. I know I'll get payed eventually, but am anxious. Any suggestions other than be patient?



Be polite, but ask *when* payment will be made.  Get them to commit to a day.  If the day passes and no payment is made, go into the store once a week for a month.  If no payment is made by then, I'd withdraw any remaining inventory.  :(


Bonnie Inouye (not verified)

You need a contract, and you should ask for one right away. Do they have a list of your work and inventory numbers? Do you have such a list? If needed, give the store a copy of your list and make sure it includes the retail price, the percentage they will keep, and a description of the item (with fiber content and colors). You also need to go into the store and make sure they display your work properly and are taking care of it. Once, years ago, I had some items in a store that was in another town, owned by somebody I met through the crafts co-op. That store was closed for 2 weeks while the owners went on vacation. While they were away, mice got into the textiles. They returned the damaged pieces to me. Then they opened again for a month or two, after which time they moved away- I heard that they went to Costa Rica- and none of the artists saw any work or payment after that.

So a contract is good, but you really need to see the store yourself and find out how long it has been in business. Find out something about the owners if you can. A craft gallery that is new is risky. It is not easy to run a good gallery, but people open galleries thinking it will be fun (not work).

Good luck! I have had some good consignment galleries. They exist.

Liese (not verified)

If you are dealing with a professional you will always have a contract to protect both of you, and there should be an insurance/damage clause to cover  damaged goods.  If a shop or gallery wants to do consignment but doesn't have a contract I would say thanks but no thanks because of lessons like Bonnie mentioned. But live and learn.

In the mean time if I were you I would remove all the remaining pieces you might have there, you can do this politely so as not to burn any bridges. I had a gallery need to take an extra month to pay me but that meant she was "robbing Peter to pay Paul" as my Mom used to say. I made an appointment with her to take out my remaining pieces for an upcoming show and then didn't replace them. When you first start consigning  try to stay as close to home as possible so you can watch, learn and make corrections as needed. Then you'll know what to watch for as you branch out farther away. But always read & discuss the contract first...it's the first step to a mutually respectful relationship.

And another lesson learnt, inspect any pieces being rotated out ...one unkind person had  my pieces folded up, I was sick with chemo so didn't check them over until later when I found a table runner with a stain in the middle of it!  All you can do then is tell every single artist in the area to stay away from that gallery.

Good Luck to you!

Leslie M (not verified)

Thanks Laura, Bonnie and Liese, Your wise words have eased my "pain" somewhat. As I said the shop owner is a friend of a friend so I trusted him and he has paid me in the past. The most disappointing part is not being able to trust him now. You're right Liese, he is "robbing Peter to pay Paul". Unfortunately I happen to be Peter. Sigh.

Weavin Steven

I have a fiber/clothing shop, now in its sixth year, and we take consignments. When I hear about problems like this I cringe. The vast majority of shops that take on consignments are good. But some shops do it because it doesn't cost them a dime. And it's more of an afterthought, not a business plan. Always, always, always, even if it's with someone you know, get something in writing. 


Guiding Myth (not verified)

Unfortunately, a contract is not going to protect you from being taken advantage of, but it does (or should) describe the expectation of the parties.  After many dissapointing experiences with consignment, I still do it but I visit the store often and take a good look at what's happening, engaging the owner/manager in relevant conversation.  Basically good people get in financial trouble and the artist suffers.  

Once I walked into a gallery that I had just visited the week before to learn they were closing that day. If I hadn't been there my work would have been boxed up and shipped elsewhere because they were in a panic and had to vacate.

Stephanie S 

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