• My Nearest City

Buying for Resale: Turning Savvy Shopping into Consignment Selling

In consignment world, there are some very savvy mamas that have turned their shopping & resale hobbies into very lucrative business ventures.  No, these mamas don’t own their own shops or even their own sales… they just buy smart throughout the year and bring in the cash by selling at their local consignment sales.  How do they do it?  Here are a few tips from the pros themselves:

1.  Know What Sells

Large items (outdoor toys, furniture, large toys), boutique or name brands and NWT (new with tags) are the keys to making great money and making your shopping & tagging time worthwhile.

Top Large Items: Little Tykes, Step 2, Tonka, Bikes, Trikes, Sandboxes, Furniture, Strollers, Bouncy Seats

Boutique & Name Brands: Gymboree, Children’s Place, Polo, Lily Pulitzer, Janie & Jack.  For a full list of “top brands,” go here.

Other “Great Sellers:” Older Children’s Sizes (especially boys!), Shoes, Puzzles, Books & DVD’s

2.  Buy Low & Price it Right

Don’t waste your energy tagging hundreds of items where your profit margin is less than a buck.  A good rule of thumb that many mamas use is: “can I sell this item for 3 times the purchase price?”  (for large ticket items, the markup can be more like 2 times)

3.  Know Where to Buy Cheap

Become an expert on finding freecycle listings, garage sales, thrift shops and craigslist offerings in your area.  Many moms will give away entire sets of clothing or boxes of toys for a lump sum on these listing services.

Shop DEEP CLEARANCE at the end of season and stock up for next season.  HOWEVER, beware of hard to sell brands, sizes and items.  As a general rule, larger children’s sizes are always in higher demand and baby items are usually in abundance and harder to sell.

4.  Know Where to Find “Free Stuff”

Many areas have a local freecycle where folks simply post their goods for others to pick up for free.  (Note: Some folks will post for free on craigslist as well).

Another great option for “free” stuff: your busy and/or non-consigning friends!  Many of them will be happy to get rid of toys & clothes.  Offer a small percentage of sales or flat fee in exchange for their goodies!

5.  Buy in Bulk

“What works best for me is to gather up a large amount, then make a bulk price offer. Usually at least 10-15 percent less than my max, so there is some negotiation room.” – Christy (Facebook post)

You can also find “lots” or “sets” of clothing at garage sales, on ebay, freecycle, craigslist or even on social “clothes swap” sites.  You’ll take a gamble on getting some duds, but you may also get some gems!

6.  Look Past the Dirt & Stains

Children’s toys are a very profitable “resale” item, so look past the dirty and grime and think about an item’s potential.  With a little Magic Eraser & Armor-All, you can make most outdoor toys look “almost new again.”

Note: Some mamas swear they can get any stain out and have clothes looking like new.  Use your judgement when picking up clothing items and remember that if you can’t salvage an item, that too-worn or stained clothing will be rejected by most sales.


What are your best resale tips?  We’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply