Today’s advice is being brought to you by Amy. She has recently discovered the joys of consignment stores.
I have recently discovered the joy of consigning. It was not easy to start out, but once I got the hang of it, I fear I am addicted. Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you navigate through the consignment world, make some money and find some great bargains! Let me first start out by saying that I was not raised to shop second-hand. Growing up, a weekend shopping trip consisted of a trip to the mall, with stops at stores like Macy’s, JC Penny’s and Nordstrom’s. However, after losing weight, my closets were filled with clothes from those stores that were in great shape but were just too big for me. I needed a place to take them to ‘trade’ for smaller sizes!! So when a friend said to me, ‘you should check out consigning’ I figured what have I got to lose?
Armed with about 7 bags of clothes, my first stop was a more ‘upscale’ consignment store, which sells second hand Coach and Prada, and is a bit over priced (in my opinion) for being a second hand store. Of course, I also do not think you need a Coach purse or Prada shoes to make your wardrobe complete, but if this is your type of designer girls, it’s out there! I quickly learned that there are definite ‘rules’ to bringing in clothes to consign.
Rule #1: Check out the store before you bring in YOUR clothes! Prepare to be rejected. If I had checked out the ‘upscale’ store, I would have never brought my clothes to consign there. It was clearly over priced, and the things I was bringing in would not sell for the amounts that they were charging. I needed a more ‘middle class’ consignment store.
After my first mishap, I was a bit deflated. Who wouldn’t want my stuff? It was great stuff!! These people didn’t know what they were missing!! So, armed with my 7 bags of clothes, I found another consignment store, and was instantly in heaven. This store was for me! When you walk in and see things that are hanging in your closet for sale on the racks that is a good sign. The prices were good too! This place was in it to SELL!! After talking to the owner, I learned a few more rules.
Rule #2: Launder and Iron everything! Most stores are privately run shops. The owners are behind the counter and they do not have the time to iron your clothes for you. Bring in your clothes on hangars, neatly pressed and ready to be placed out on the racks for sale.
Rule #3: Pay attention to the seasons! Most stores work on seasonal cycles, so bringing in jackets and sweaters in the middle of summer will not fly. They don’t even accept them for consignment at that time because the small shops don’t have room to store them and they will not sell. So, pay attention to the seasons for the stores! My favorite store starts accepting summer items on Feb 1st and will start accepting fall items on Aug 1st. If you are looking for jackets and sweaters, this is a good time to get them ½ off at most consignment stores though, because they will be clearing their inventory to make room for the new things at this time. Same goes for summer items in the fall, etc…
Rule #4: Bring in your items on a cyclical basis! Most stores will keep your items for 60-90 days, after which you can choose to pick them up or have them automatically donated to charity. If you consistently bring in items on a monthly basis, you should consistently be earning credit (typically 40% of the selling price) at the store. By bringing in items regularly, you are keeping the store stocked with YOUR items, and not overwhelming the owner with tons of items all at once. I typically bring between 10-25 items at a time. If I bring anything over that limit a lot seems to be rejected… probably just too much at once! J
I have been consigning now since January 2010, and I have made about $200 in credit, and spent at least that (or more) in the store. When you consign it’s very hard not to shop too. Most stores you consign with will give you a discount on purchases if you use your credit in the store (instead of requesting a check). This makes it even more tempting to shop when you drop (ha!). And last but not least:
Rule #5: If you love it, get it NOW!! Most items are one of a kind, they will NOT be there next week, or maybe even tomorrow. Most consignment stores take items that are 1-2 years old, so if you didn’t get that INC top last year at Macy’s you might find it at a consignment store today (I did, twice so far!!). I have also found a favorite skirt in a size that fits me now, to replace the one that I shrunk out of (I was thrilled!!).
I hope that you learned something new. Now get out their and sell your stuff!