Every Consignment Mommy who has a boy (or three) just gave a sympathetic head nod when she saw this title. Consignment sales confirm Renfroe family rule #2: Life’s not fair. There will always be more of an abundance of cute girls’ items at consignment sales and a far smaller selection for boys. Why is that and what can you do as a shopper and consignor to make it better? Here’s the 411.
There are several reasons many sales have a 3:2 ratio of girls’ clothing to boys’. The retail market for clothing has always offered a wider variety of styles for girls than for boys. Once you get past the baby sizes, styles for boys are pretty restricted to jeans, pants, shorts, shirts, overalls and suits. The fabrics and designs may vary, but the basic styles are pretty limited. There’s good news, though. With the growth of internet boutiques, there are more options coming for boys’ moms who are looking for nicer fashions that aren’t babyish, but fashionable. This trend is now cycling into consignment sales in some areas and will continue to grow as sales become more popular with budget-savvy families.
So, moms of boys are starting out with a smaller inventory from which to shop from the get-go. Boys are tough and they’re even tougher on their clothes. That leaves a smaller selection of consignment-quality items for you to tag vs. what you should donate or recycle, narrowing the inventory at a consignment sale even more, especially as sizes increase.
Around age 4, you can start factoring in a child’s individual taste, build and body style. At some point, your son is going to start expressing his opinion about what he likes to wear. There are going to be a larger variety of pants with different fits or styles. You’re going to have to be more selective from a smaller inventory. The fact that you can pick up 4 designer buttondown shirts for $3.00 doesn’t matter if your son won’t wear them.
It’s almost a trickle down theory. Fewer options and rougher wear result in a much smaller selection of boys’ clothing as they grow. What can you do personally to make the most of the boys’ section? As a consignor, price fairly. Use Consignment Mommies’ pricing guidelines and consider discounting your items. Clothes are always more likely to sell if you discount them. As a shopper, figure out a way to volunteer so you can shop earlier. When you shop, make the boys’ section a top priority.
How can you help your local sale increase their boys’ inventory? Here are three things you can do:
- As a consignor, treat your son’s clothes as items you plan to consign from the get-go. Pay attention to stains and treat them before clothes go into the washer. Turn items inside out before you wash them, which can help with pilling and fading. Use a gentler heat option when drying your laundry. (Okay, so these are good suggestions for anything your family is wearing, but they work!)
- Reach out to moms who have boys and share the benefits of consigning. Moms with girls have quickly picked up on the idea of consignment sales as a way to save on buying clothing and recoup some of the investment made in retail purchases. Many moms of boys pass on their items to other moms or simply donate them. Encourage your friends to try consigning with your favorite sale and see what happens. You might even offer to help them tag and price some items, just to help them get started.
- Spread the word to potential consignors. Do you know of a playgroup, Scout den or sports activity that’s geared toward parents of boys? Take flyers or postcards from your favorite sale. You can even talk to your sale’s owners or organizers to see if they are willing to offer some type of consigning incentive to “boycentric” families. It never hurts to ask. The worst thing you’ll hear is, “No.”
As consignment sales grow in popularity, more moms will realize the value of those outgrown boys’ clothes. In the meantime, when you shop, hit the boys’ clothing early. Shop early and shop often. You’ll be surprised at what you might have missed that first time.
About the Author
Elizabeth Renfroe has a passion for all things consignment sale-related. She enjoys coordinating the Children’s Market Sale at First United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, Alabama.