First I will say my showroom rep was very nice and most likely well intentioned but as she grew to take on 3 locations expanding from LA, to Dallas, to Atlanta and she had some other big names in her room that required special attention and that she traveled to other shows for, (just their line) I think my line took a bit of a backburner. Even so she wrote a little over 40k in orders for me last year. That sounds like a nice number to some but here is the math:
50% material and production expenses
2% samples and marketing material
We are down to $19.2K
Showroom Fees $400/mo for 3 rooms LA, Dallas, Atlanta (actually not a bad deal) $4800
12% commissions $4800
My profit at the end of the year $9600
While it is a profit it is not one that was worth it to me. I spent 80% of my time on the wholesale side of my business. I was dealing with production and production issues, working on fabric sourcing and getting prices down, sometimes sewing myself if my production team wouldn't take on a small run, dealing with customers not taking orders and no pays, the list goes on.
I spent 20% of my time on the retail side of my business(Online sales on FB or my Etsy Shop) and on obtaining my own wholesale accounts. In this area I almost doubled what my showroom made me plus I kept 24% more of my profit! (24% is what I ended up paying my showroom after sales and commissions, it makes me throw up in my mouth a little.)
While I was in it I had a hard time cancelling my showroom contract and I should have done it sooner. I was getting burnt out working so hard for so little and my designs started suffering and my attitude sucked. My family suffered due to my stress level. But I was dumb and determined. When I finally sat back and took a look I was able to think clearly.
If I took that 20% of my time and turned it into 50% of my time focusing on retail sales and managing a small portfolio of wholesale accounts then I would be working part time and making more money. I could work full time and make much more but I now had that option. I feel in control again.
I do want to take on that wholesale beast again eventually but next time it will be with a much more educated approach. For now I am taking things back in my hands and enjoying the ride.