• My Nearest City

Five Things and Five Brands You’re Probably Overpricing (and Picking Up After the Sale)

Sale owners have seen it all and they know what sells well and what needs to be priced low.

Here are the top five answers from a recent survey about overpriced items and suggestions on how to price those items to sell.

1. Baby Clothes

Sizes newborn through 24 months are almost always in abundance at a consignment sale. Why? Babies don’t wear out clothes before they outgrow them. People receive a lot of items as baby gifts or hand-me-downs and don’t need to buy a lot of clothes. The supply of baby clothes at a consignment sale far exceeds the demand. Price these items low or bundle sets to make your items stand out on the racks.

2. Maternity Clothes

There’s no logical explanation beyond changing trends and a variety of budgets and needs, but maternity clothes are not big sellers at most consignment sales. We know the initial cost for buying a maternity wardrobe new in stores is high, but the numbers just don’t translate to the consignment level. Price low and stick to more popular brands to avoid bringing them back home.

3. Bedding

Many parents have a specific idea in mind when it comes to buying crib bedding. They’re more likely to spend a higher percentage of their nursery budget on new bedding than to buy it on consignment. To increase the chances of selling your crib bedding, make sure it’s all there, easy to inspect and priced around 15% to 20% of the retail price.

4. First Reader Books

Many parents join the same book of the month club, plus many organizations and libraries give away a book a month to young children. For these two reasons, first reader and early reader books are in abundance. Demand is very low. Price this type of book at the minimum required by your sale and sell them as singles or maybe pairs. Someone may want a replacement copy or extra copy, but most won’t pay more than 20% of the retail price on these books.

5. Formal Dresses

Girls’ pageant dresses can have a wide range of retail prices and frequent pageant participants invest a small fortune in their wardrobe. Most parents shopping for dresses at consignment sales are looking for age appropriate dresses for their daughters to wear in local school pageants. If your investment in a dress is too high to let it go for 20% – 25%, consider consigning it with a shop that specializes in consigning formal dresses instead.

Commonly Overpriced Brands

Basic Editions

Wal-Mart’s store brand runs from $3.00 to $8.00 on average (dressy items and sets may retail for more).  Your best bet for selling this brand is to bundle pieces within the size and style and/or price low, from $1.00 to $2.00


I think Carter’s is the most hotly debated brand when it comes to pricing infant and toddler clothing. Why? Because you can’t accurately predict the retail value on a consignment sale rack. Carter’s stores and outlets frequently have storewide sales with up to 40% or more off the retail prices on inventory. The items available at discount stores, like Wal-Mart, are priced much lower than in Carter’s stores. With the wide variety of pricing and inventory that already exists in infant and toddler clothing, consignment sale shoppers have a hard time justifying buying higher-priced Carter’s garments. Even if you paid full price for an outfit, plan on pricing it on the same level as basic brands. (Carter’s fans, please don’t shoot the messenger.)


Target has adorable mix and match children’s clothing at prices that can’t be beat, unless it’s by their their own sale prices. When clothes are cute and reasonable, it’s easy to stock up on pieces to complete your child’s wardrobe. The great retail prices means consignors should keep prices low on this brand. Follow the same pricing suggestions for Circo as you would for Basic Editions. Keep the basics prices at $1.00 – $2.00 and price nicer items in the $3.00 – $4.00 range.

Old Navy

Old Navy frequently runs great sales on their children’s clothing, plus the clearance racks are full of bargains at the end of the season. For these two reasons, budget-conscious shoppers often pass over consigned Old Navy clothing if it’s priced too high. They watch the sales papers and will avoid paying too much for jeans, shirts or jackets that can be purchased brand-new for just a little bit more money. Stick to the $3- $6 range on this brand to keep from storing it until next year’s sale.

Pottery Barn Kids

Although it’s hard to find it on sale and the original retail price/investment is high, the resale value of Pottery Barn Kids bedding, room decor and furnishings does not follow the usual 25% – 33% rule of better brands. Perhaps it’s because people are picking about bedding and accessories or maybe it’s because consignment sale shoppers are looking for a bigger bargain. Whatever the reason, stay in the 20% – 25% range or even less if you don’t want to take most Pottery Barn items home.

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.

Leave a Reply