I was so excited when the ladies from Best Dressed for Less in South Jersey agreed to be our first “Top 10” writers! Here are their tips …
1) Plan Ahead
Keep an empty plastic bin on the floor of your kids closet (marked SALE ~ Spring/Summer or SALE- Winter/Fall) and add clothing and other items as your children outgrow them. This is the easiest way to keep the items you plan to consign organized. When sale time comes around you are a step ahead of the game – all you need to do is grab the appropriate seasonal bin or bins and start hanging / tagging.
2) Price your items to sell
There are many different approaches when it comes to pricing your consigned items. The best way to ensure your items sell is to price anything gently used at 25-30% of the original retail price. If the item is brand new with tags or an expensive boutique brand (in excellent condition) then of course price higher. You really do need to be careful not make the mistake of pricing all of your items too high. If you are in doubt about the value of an item one good place to do some research is Ebay (you can see how much people are willing to pay for certain clothing brands and equipment items). If the event you participate in has a half price day I recommend letting all items go to half of the marked price. It is much better to get half of your marked price than to have to pick up your overpriced unsold items at the sales end and take them back to your house (making nothing).
3) Make your items look their best
Presentation matters! Wash all clothing and make sure they are free from stains. Check for stains in daylight because indoor lighting does not always allow you to see every flaw. Make your items look their best by ironing, buttoning, zipping, and snapping as required. Clothing items will be more appealing to shoppers (and more likely to sell) if they’re pressed and looking new.
4) Laundry Tips
This might seem obvious but the way you do laundry (year round) directly impacts the items you will be able to consign (most sales will not accept items with fading or stains). Washing in cold water prevents fading and shrinking – turning items inside out before laundering prevents pilling. ALWAYS treat stains immediately and if a stain doesn’t come out completely on the first wash, treating the stain one more time usually does the trick. Remember not to let a stained item go through the dryer – it will set the stain and you will never get it out. If all else fails (and the item is white) you can always try a Clorox bleach pen.
5) Donate your unsold items
Most of the “veteran” consignors at our event choose to discount their items on half price day and then donate all of their unsold items. It is much easier to prepare your items and drop them off – knowing you will not have to pick anything up (and bring clutter back into your home). Not only are you simplifying the consigning process for yourself but you can be assured that the items you donate are going to a good cause (helping families in need). In addition, most bar coded sales provide consignors with an itemized report listing all donated items and the $ value of those items (which can be used as a tax deduction)! Donating your unsold items is definitely a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Although a 2-4 hour (or longer) volunteer shift may seem daunting…it is really the best way to increase your profit (on items sold) and to also shop a private pre-sale. Most sales offer volunteer workers an additional percentage of their sales for each volunteer shift worked. In addition, workers also usually get to shop before everyone else. At many sales the more shifts you work the earlier you shop. Definitely ask about volunteering and sign up for your volunteer shift right away to get the best selection of shifts.
7) Preventing lost / Separated Items
Ensure that your consigned items actually stay tagged and sets remain complete by securely attaching all pieces of an outfit together and to the hanger (with safety pins). Shoes should be cable tied together through a buckle or back loop (so that they can not be separated). It is also a good idea to print separate labels (or use masking tape) with your consignor number and place them on the bottom of each shoe or inside of each clothing item. Package anything with multiple pieces (toys, books etc) in Zip Loc Bags and close securely with packing tape or cable ties to discourage kids from opening them (especially toys)! Attaching price tags with cable ties after reinforcing the top of the tag with clear packing tape will make tags really difficult to remove and discourage dishonest shoppers from switching your $8.00 dress tag for another consignor’s $2.00 dress tag. Taking these extra precautions can make the difference between having a great experience and a disappointing one. Items without tags usually can’t be sold or credited to your account – marking items with your consignor number in a second location makes it possible for an item with a missing tag to be traced back to the correct owner.
8) Make some extra cash!
Ever see a great deal at a yard sale (that was not the right size for your child?) How about an awesome sale at Gymboree (more than 75% off)! Grab those bargains because you can easily sell those items for a profit at your local kid’s consignment event. Follow these guidelines and you will definitely make a profit! At yard sales look for : anything Little Tikes or Step 2 (picnic tables, wagons, cozy coupes, doll houses etc). These high demand items often sell for 1/3 to ½ of retail prices at consignment events – if you are lucky you can pick them up at yard sales for around $5.00. In addition, gently used name brand children’s clothing (Gymboree, Gap or Boutique Items) often can be found at yard sales for $1 an item. It is best to avoid infant sizes (0-12 mos.) as they are NOT great sellers. I would recommend staying in the 18-month – 5T size range. The benefit of buying clothing versus play equipment for resale is that it takes up much less room in your home. If you are considering buying items new in the store (strictly for resale) I would recommend buying only items that are 75% or more off and nicer brands not store brands.
9) Stock Up on consignor supplies all year long
Ask for hangers whenever you shop (Target, Carters, etc). Many retail stores will gladly include the plastic hangers with your purchase. If you ask they may even send you home with a whole bag of hangers for FREE. It may seem overwhelming to purchase all of your consignor supplies at once (especially hangers) but if you start collecting the items you will need in advance it really isn’t so bad. Another good source for hangers is freecycle.org. In addition hangers, safety pins, cable ties can be found at most dollar stores.
10) Organize a Group Consignment Account
To minimize your expenses and maximize your profits consider “sharing” a consignor account. You could do this to fund raise for scout troops, schools, clubs, charities etc. or simply share an account with a trusted friend. If you and a friend share an account and each of you works one volunteer shift, all you need to do is split your earnings accordingly when your check arrives. Another option would be to sign up for an account in your troop/ club / school name and assigning a “manager” for the account. The account manager could manage the group’s inventory, work shift volunteers and more. The benefits of sharing an account include sharing the expenses (consignor fee, supplies etc) and increased resources when it comes to the responsibilities (preparing inventory, dropping off inventory and working volunteer shifts.)
Best Dressed for Less is Southern New Jersey’s LARGEST Seasonal Kids Consignment Event. With more than 250 consignors and over 20,000 new and gently used children’s items – this is definitely not a yard sale!