I recently consigned a set of work to a local gallery. They were beautiful original watercolors of Paris buildings. Pricing on these things seemed a little tricky to me for their setting. I asked the to set a fair price for their shop. They sell high end works and figured they would want to maximize their returns as well. Their consignment rate was an astounding 50%! I knew that I wanted to run a consignment style gallery, though, and needed to see how this went for myself.
The items sold very quickly. They had priced them at a rock-bottom $38 each, less than the price of a framed print at a box store. When they handed me the check, I just about vomited. I honestly almost cried. The effort I put into building the frames from scratch felt like it was worth more than $38. One remained unsold and I took it with me. It is the beautiful sketch you see here.
I learned a very important set of lessons here. First, a 50% consignment rate for an artists' work is never right. I have to make this work for less. Second, I will never sell an artist's work without fully comprehending the value the artist sees in their work. I have an MBA and I understand things like supply and demand. I understand pricing strategies and sales. So we are going to have to be partners on this to match what the market will bear and what the artists can deliver.