Monday, 10 August 2009

Selling in Quebec is Hard Work!

I am discovering the downside to selling my wares in Quebec. Because each piece is accompanied by a short blurb on its history (and I have been told this makes it more interesting to customers) I now need to make sure sure that these little histories are translated into French. Fortunately I have a truly bilingual ... and generous ... friend who translates for a living. Thank you, Julie!

I am not sure how ... or whether ... to approach the woman running this shop with my real concerns. I don't want to appear critical, but there are several things she is doing or not doing that I think must affect sales.

The signage is all wrong and cluttered. I feel as if I am walking through a forest of signs to get to her place ... signs for antiques dominate,but there are several signs for spiritual arts and for life without plastics (on a plastic sign!). If I were looking for art or the work of local artisans I wouldn't even bother to go in.

And it isn't open all the time which is a really bad thing for any shop. If you can't count on it being open people simply stop going there.

Once inside the place appears cluttered, and the rooms off the main room are dark and musty. Pottery and paintings are invisible in the dark, and the smell of rotting wood is not inviting.

And then there is her little girl, 14 months and very cute ... but always carrying food in her hands and touching things.

There's more, but you get the idea.

What to do? Maybe suggest that she ask all the people who have things in her shop for input? Put out a questionnaire?


Mud Mama said...

I think because it isn't set up like a coop you have to be direct with her about your concerns and talk with other sellers so you can sort of coordinate talking with her. You guys talking about together without voicing your concerns to her won'rt be very helpful. Talk to the potter and artist and necklace crocheter and the glass box person and ask them how they're feeling. Then I'd approach her as a group with a list of issues. The sad fact is it is HER shop (and her stuff is front and centre and in bright light. She is inexperienced and needs the constructive criticism - from you guys. Shoppers won't give it, they just won't be back.

Oma said...

Thanks, Mud Mama. Good advice.

Oma said...

I didn't mean I should put out a questionnaire ... I meant suggesting to her that she should seek input that way.

Barbara Carlson said...

Selling through shops, in so many ways, is frustrating as you're finding out. That's why John & I sell out of our home/studio(s).

Perhaps you could invite people to yours??? It sounds like a wonderful home and I think people would like to take a bit of it home with them.

But I have no idea how remote you are.

Mud Mama said...

I think mom is too remote. Her road is off a small road off a dirt road off the highway. Her road tears mufflers off of cars and scares small childrn trying to walk down it it is so steep in places.

Oma said...

Well! That certainly sums it up very succinctly and graphically, Mud Mama! But even more off putting than my location is my embarrassment about selling my work! Barbara, you and John are such sociable creatures and your work is so professional that I know it likely works far better for you than for me.

Barbara Carlson said...

But it still holds, that whomever sells your work it is a thrill! And I see you are branching out to other wooden objects. At first we see only a tiny drop of what's possible and suddenly it's a flood, an embarrassment of riches. It can be hard to sleep!

Oma said...

Lots of fun!