Have you tried on running shoes lately? There are a wide variety of brands, styles and features available for someone who is shopping for athletic shoes these days. You have to try on several pair before you find one that fits all of your needs. Consignment sales can be the same way. There is such a variety in sale types that it’s important to find one that fits you and your family best.
How do you go about finding the right sale? Here are a few suggestions:
First, ask yourself what’s important to you and make a list. Do you want to handwrite your tags while you’re watching TV or would you rather sit down at a computer and type in information? What matters most to you, cleaning out your kids’ things or bringing home a bigger check? Do the numbers matter to you? Some people want to track every item, see what sells at discount, what they’re picking up after the sale. Others just want to clean out the clutter and don’t really care what it sells for or if something was donated, just as long as the clutter doesn’t come back home. Knowing what you expect from your consignment experience is the first step in finding the best sale for you and your family.
Ask people what they think. Word of mouth is one of the top referral sources listed for most sales. Moms who love consignment sales will be happy to tell you about their favorites. Important questions to ask are:
- Do you do well with that sale? Is it profitable for you?
- How hard/easy is it to get everything ready? Are the directions easy to understand?
- Why do you like that sale so much?
- Do they offer any perks, like early shopping?
- How do they treat consignors/volunteers? Are they friendly, more reserved? Any negative thoughts? (Take negative comments with a grain of salt unless it’s a very trusted friend. Opinions are always subjective. You may have a totally different experience.)
Finding a Sale
· Visit www.consignmentmommies.com. It sounds obvious, especially considering this is a Consignment Mommies article, but the website has a great search feature to find sales in your area. More importantly, there are reviews from people who have shopped at the local sales. Take time to read comments and feedback. It will give you an idea of that sale’s dynamic and can also let you know if there are areas of concern. Keep in mind that no sale is perfect and you don’t know the entire situation with someone’s review if you see something negative.
· Visit sale websites. Most sales have websites that list their basic information, requirements for consigning, what items are accepted, benefits of volunteering and other information. Make a list of the sales that appeal to you and read their consignor information, from the percentage you’ll earn to how you need to prepare your items and what’s expected of you as a participant.
Consider these things for each sale:
- Benefits. No two sales are exactly alike. Check the benefits, from percentages and shopping times to referral rewards for suggesting a sale to other consignors. You’ll find some great perks at any sale, but some features may appeal to you more than others.
- Consignor responsibilities. Make sure you know what’s expected of you as a consignor. Is there a certain way that things need to be organized? How detailed are the tagging requirements? Is there a minimum and maximum for items you can consign? Check those details.
- Location. Do you want to stay close to home or are you willing to drive some distance to participate in a sale that may be larger or have more benefits for you.
- Quality. Do you want to participate in a sale where everything is inspected and items are rejected if they don’t meet the standard? Does a sale where you just tag your stuff and drop it off issues appeal to you? Some sales are more demanding of quality than others. Figure out what matters most to you.
- Technology. There are sales that accept handwritten tags, some that use barcoded stickers on handwritten tags and others that have you enter everything in a spreadsheet program or on a website to create completely automated tags. What level of technology are you comfortable using?
- Type of sale. You can find boutique sales, sales that accept anything and everything or something in between, sales that are privately owned, franchises or sponsored by non-profit groups. Figure out what type of sale you’re interested in and go from there.
Using these tools to create a list of features that matter to you can help you pick the best sale for your family. Keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with consigning at multiple sales and it will take more than one season to decide if a sale is the right fit for you. Happy Consigning!
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.