Impact Dash-Kid Consignment Part 2

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Kids Consignment 
Part 2: Selling
By Stephaine Eads

There are two huge consignment sales in my home state of North Carolina that I attend yearly. I whirl through the aisles grabbing cute dresses and plastic kitchens like a pro. But, this January I did something I had not done in the past: I sold items. I was a little nervous at first because I felt like it would be a lot of work. I would usually just throw the items out at a yard sale for a quarter each and they would disappear. But, since I love to consignment shop, I could not forget the benefits of consigning. First, you get to shop early at most sales by consigning the minimum number of items. This was a huge incentive for me as I do most of Lil’ E’s clothing and big toy shopping on consignment. Second, you are going to get more money in the long run; even after the sponsor’s cut of profits you are going to get more than that yard sale quarter. Third, the consignment sale I was participating in could donate the remainder of my unsold items to a local women’s shelter. This way, I was guaranteed a clean attic at the end of the sale without the hassle of dragging the leftovers to Goodwill.
As Lil’ E outgrew clothing or toys we stored them away in our attic. To date, I have been hoarding my items with the dream of another child – justifying packing all the items away by saying I would easily reuse them with the next child. But, then I ran out of room. I refused to give up my Christmas decorations for one more pair of daisy-embroidered jeans, so I needed a plan that did not involve buying a bigger house. Then, I learned any infant toy that did not involve Lil’ E’s excersaucer or playmat was a waste of space in our household. Why would I pack up the toys that she never played with or the toys that I found so annoying I hid them? Then there were the outfits such as the parka that had zero use in the North Carolina winters. With this in mind, I decided to consign in a spring sale to clean house.
The only items housed in our attic are Christmas decorations and tons of baby items. My husband pulled no less than ten to fifteen bins and bags from our attic to sort through. I found myself wondering how she ever wore all of these. It took a solid day’s work to sort through all of the clothes and toys. Some items were a no-brainer to keep, such as the fore-mentioned excersaucer and playmat. But, the bin of stuffed animals and fifty plus onesies had to go. Also, I found that the wipe warmers, infant toys, and clothes that weren’t a favorite or sentimental were a waste of valuable space. This is honestly the hardest part – deciding what can go and what can stay. If you have the dream of more children then this is tough. If you are done being a baby incubator, then dump it all. I dream of that day. The day I can go up and grab it all! Then, I will be able to purchase that nine foot Christmas tree I have had my eye on. Once you know what is staying and going, then you can start the administrative tasks involved in consigning.
Every consignment sale has the same basic process:
1. Consignment sales require that you preregister to sell. This is your first step. Upon registration, you should be given a seller number or a type of ID. This is how the sponsor knows if your item sold and for how much. The same number will be on all or your price tags.
2. Review the seller information/guidelines. This is where the seller fees, the percentage of sales you will receive and the guidelines for acceptable items are located. Just a general rule of thumb: the clothes need to be in good shape (i.e. no holes, minimum to no stains, and free from missing buttons, etc.) – just think: would you buy a shirt that was stained with baby vomit? Probably not. The average seller fee is anywhere from 10-25 dollars per seller and the sale keeps a third while you keep two thirds of your total sales. For example, if you sold $200 dollars worth of items, and the seller’s fee was $15 dollars, you would get a check for approximately $118. The consignment sponsor would keep $66 dollars profit and the $15 dollar fee.
3. Make sure you read the fine print. Some sales donate remaining items to charity or have a minimum price for items (i.e. $3.00 minimum for shoes). My favorite consignment sale requires tags be printed on a certain paper from Office Max and in a certain color. Other sales may require you to use wire hangers and will toss your items if they are not done per the guidelines. Also, most sales have 50%/75% off days and if you don’t want your clothes sold at discount you have to price tag them in a certain color. All this information is captured in the fine print of the seller information.
4. Once you read the fine print and guidelines, you can begin tagging. This is the most tedious part. These are usually generated automatically using an online link. They will have your seller ID and a place for a description and price for each item. Basic supplies for tagging are wire hangers, zip ties, safety pins, card stock in color specified by sponsor, gallon size Ziploc bags, clear packing tape, and a sharpie. It sounds like a lot, but after the initial investment the supplies should last you through more than one sale. Print your tags and begin attaching to items. Clothes tags are usually done with the zip ties and other items with the clear packaging tape holding them onto the item.
5. After tagging is complete you can drop items off at times specified by sponsor. A tip about this process is to print the map prior to drop off. As the seller, you have to drop the items off in their designated selling areas. For example, clothes are sorted by gender and size – it helps to have that pre-sorted and ready. A map of the area should help you achieve this more efficiently. Bring a stroller or wagon to carry your items around for sorting.
Those are the basic steps to selling but a few trade secrets exist as well. For example, I don’t recommend anyone selling until you have shopped a few times. A few things you pick up while shopping:
1. Get a feel for the prices. I typically price about 50-65% off retail price. That pretty much guarantees the items are purchased during the sale.
2. Look at how clothes are hung and tagged. You want to secure them in a way that they won’t fall off the hanger and two piece outfits don’t get separated. This is why zip ties and safety pins are a consigner’s best friend. I zip tie every piece of clothing to a hanger so it cannot fall off. I safety pin bottoms to tops, etc.
3. There is a trick to shoes at every consignment sale. Bring a few paperclips and hang them in the shoe area. By bending the paperclip it creates the perfect shoe hanger for a pair that is zip tied together. Some sales use Ziploc bags and clear packaging tape for shoes. It just depends on the sale.
4. Observe the quality of the items being sold. You will notice at the end of the sale the stuff that is left is usually not clean or in bad shape. Even worse, it may be priced extremely high for the quality. Clean up items as much as possible before selling.
These are all items you pick up by shopping. That way you are prepared for your first selling experience. I have to admit after my first sale I took about $130 dollars worth of stuff and only ended up making about $35 after fees, supplies, and sponsor profit. But, I got a lot of items back. I then realized that I was pricing too high and the items I got back would not sell at those prices. Lesson learned. Now, I have a better feel for what an item can be sold for. When I consigned the following sale, I hardly got any items back. I might have room in my attic for that Christmas tree by next year!