What Your Consignment Store Wants You to Know!
Happy day, reader dear!
Last time I did a quick video at Encore Consignments, my favorite local consignment store, I asked Tara Jimenez, the owner, what she wished consigners knew… It turned into a conversation that we had to break off, but last week we sat down to finish. I wish I had recorded our conversation for you, but it ranged everywhere and looped back on itself, so rather than subjecting you to the stream of consciousness flow, I’ll try and organize the main points below!
WARNING: This is a LONG post!
Choosing a Place to Consign
Consignment is a relationship, but one with a contract! It’s important to find a consignment store you trust, and that you would shop at yourself. If they stock items you would buy, then chances are, their shoppers will buy what you consign. If you look at a consignment store and see nothing for you, you’re not likely to do well selling there either! Every consignment store should have a contract laying out what your responsibilities are, and theirs, how long stock stays on the floor, how many pieces you can bring in at a time, what the markdown policies are, how profits are shared, and how to retrieve your items after they leave the floor. Read the contract carefully! Ask questions. Don’t sign if you don’t understand or don’t agree with the policies.
Don’t Consign Until You Are Ready
Consigner remorse is real. Only bring items you are sure you are ready to part with! Once an item it accepted and goes to the floor, you should NOT expect to retrieve it until it has finished the stock cycle. You can always buy it back if the remorse is too much. I had to do this when an item I did not mean to consign ended up mixed into my consign pile. Now I double check!
Prepare Your Garments
Look at everything you are thinking about consigning with a VERY critical eye. If you wouldn’t buy it, don’t consign it! Make sure every piece is clean and wrinkle free. Not only is cleanliness next to godliness, it’s kind to the staff AND increases the value of your items! As Tara said “What we make for you, we make for us!” Maximize your return by vetting and caring for the pieces you bring in. Dime-a-dozen pieces should be meticulously neat and clean.
Make sure purses are clean and empty, especially those inside pockets! Brush or clean shoes, too. Package jewelry in small plastic bags to prevent damage and tangling. Keep jewelry items together and please don’t tuck those earrings in the pocket of your jeans. Or inside a purse. If you must, make sure to attach a note on the handle of the bag!
Follow the Intake Procedures!
Your consignment store has procedures that work for the store. They may have specific days for drop offs, ways they want the clothing presented, and paperwork for you to fill out when you drop. Encore has over 7000 consigners! Please don’t assume your store will know your merchandise if you don’t play by the rules. Not everything will come in AND get to the floor the same day. You might bring in your batch the same day as 25 other consigners. Sorting, pricing, and entering all those pieces into the store’s computer system may take a few days or a few weeks. At Encore, items are priced by category (tops together, jeans together, bags together), and the start date is the day it goes into the computer and out onto the floor. Check your contract for your store’s rules.
It’s NOT Personal: 4 Reasons Items are Refused
If the store refuses your items, or only takes part of your drop, don’t take it personally! They know what their shoppers buy. (Remember that I said trust is important? Here´s where the trust part comes in!) That amazing (now) vintage purple suede skirt you wore on your first date with hubby may be the coolest, but not saleable. (1)The season may be all wrong. (2) It may be dated. (Try a vintage seller instead!) You can’t understand why they would they refuse your never worn black pants? (3)They may have already taken in 10 pair of Size 12 black trousers that week. (Hold onto them and try again next month!)The biggest reason items are refused? (4)They aren’t clean. They may have found stains or other damage you overlooked. (I’ve certainly had this happen!) If you try on a shirt and decide to consign it, wash it first. Deodorant marks in the armpits and perfume or smoke smells need to be washed out. (There has been more than one gorgeous $800 dress that was donated because it’s wasn’t clean…)
Always remember, the store makes their money by making you money! It’s in your best interest for them to take what they know sells, in the right quantities, and at the right time! Ask the store manager what sells best. Tara loves unusual and unique pieces. Blouses and other tops sell quickly, especially quality plus-size tops. (If you are on a weight loss journey, take note, and sell your clothes as you shrink out of them!) Items sized S and XS are the hardest to sell; they regularly price lower than the same piece in a more popular size. Quality handbags also sell well. Stay on top of your goods. Check back to pick up your unsold items AND your check! Cash your check promptly; many stores will not issue a replacement. Remember, consignment is a partner relationship. The store is NOT your employee! If you are too busy to be bothered by the preparation and follow-up, please donate your pieces.
Finally, don’t expect instant results! Give the process time to work, at least six months. Keep bringing in your batches and following up! Browse when you drop off to learn more about what’s selling. Talk to the staff, ask questions, and you will find your checks grow as your knowledge does!
My Own Tricks
I am religious about going through my clothes at the end of each season and beginning of the next. When I find an item that it’s time to consign, but the season is “wrong,” it goes into a clear storage box in the top of the closet to be consigned when the right season rolls back around. That way I can pop them onto hangers and bring them in at the best time for them to sell.
I am pretty neurotic about following rules (Surprised?), so I hang my clothes on hangers as requested. I let wrinkles hang out, or steam items that are rumpled. I look clothes over for stains and damage, but to be perfectly honest, sometimes I miss a stain! I turn purses and totes inside out and sweep or vacuum out the insides, and I clean the bottoms and insides of shoes with a Clorox wipe before bringing them in. (Unless they are new and never worn.) I’ve been known to polish shoes before bringing them in. The better everything looks, the better they will price, and the better they will sell! Taking time will maximize your profit.
So how about you? Do you shop consignment? Do you consign your no longer loved or fitting clothes, shoes, and accessories? What tips or tricks do you have to share? Do let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you…