Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reselling Clothing Tips and Hints

I'm having a great time reading all your tips for the tote bag give-away. I did realize today that I hadn't posted a tip myself, so here's my tip(s) about reselling your child's outgrown clothing. I would guess that they'll apply to women's clothing as well, but I didn't own a women's resale shop so I have no real "expertise" in that area.

These tips are in no particular order, just listed as they pop in my head, so the top tips may not be the most important (or they might be ...).

1. Everything you take to a resale/consignment shop should be in excellent, like new condition. Check each item.

2. Don't expect the store to take everything you bring in. We generally took between 30-45% of the items that came in in a single day. Don't ever be offended or anything that they didn't take all your items ... buying/accepting is done on an as needed basic and the intake person will know what sells well in that store. However, items in top notch condition are much more apt to be accepted.

3. Know the stores policies and abide by them, they have a business to run and lots of things coming and going, their rules are just to make everything run more smoothly for everyone. Lots of stores list their incoming procedures and policies on a website or a brochure, just ask them.

4. Freshly launder, press and neatly fold or hang your clothing. Add a fabric softener sheet to the basket. You may bring in the exact same dress as someone else but the pressed, neat one is going to be perceived as being more valuable and will certainly sell for more. At my shop we didn't iron, there was no way there was time for it, so an item that needed to be pressed had to be refused - even if it was a top brand.

5. Don't start your conversation with "I've got some junk/crap/garage sale leftovers for you to look at before I take them to Goodwill. They've been sitting in my car forever ... I don't really know what's there." Um, yeah...

6. If you're bringing in toys be certain they have all their parts. If you have a game in a box tape tears in the box so it's ready to be sold. If you're bringing in a bunch of similar items, like Barbies, Little People, etc. bag up the things that go together in ziploc bags. Believe me, that scores bonus points! Toys are good items, but kind of a pain to sort though (I usually had to have my kids do it or search the Internet to see what went with what) so if items came in that I could just price and put out without any other steps I'd take more and happily.

7. Big items like swings, high chairs, etc. should look new, or at least really clean and current. If you have the instructions that's great. Oh, speaking of high chairs ... clean it up and check the underside. 99% of the ones on the market can be hosed off and the trays run through the dishwasher.

8. Put some of your best stuff on top. It's a first impression thing. Most people don't, which is understandable and we know to look at the bottom for great stuff, but if it's on top we start drooling and get all excited about what's to come. Why is it usually on the bottom? Because that's what was loaded first, and usually the most certain to be accepted items go in first, followed by the maybe's, and last the "oh, I've still got some room in the bin, I'll just throw this in too." I know this because I do it too.

9. Call ahead and see what the store is in need of. See if they have a website that they update with their most needed items. If we needed dresses in toddler sizes we were more apt to take more of the ones brought in. Sometimes a size is full and nothing in that size can be accepted, so it's good to check ahead.

10. Recommend the store to your friends and associates. Take a few business cards or brochures and leave them at work, daycare, church, etc. The more the store sells the more they can take ... and the more of your things that will sell! If you can help drum up their business they can help you by taking and selling more of your items.

11. What you'll get for your things will vary by store, state, season, etc. If you take them to a buy outright store you'll probably get less per item than you'd get if your items sold for full price at a consignment store ... but you get your money right away and, at a consignment store if your items don't sell or sell on clearance you'll get less. So is consignment or buy outright better? I really think it comes down to personal choice.

12. Think ahead. Get your seasonal items to the store a few months before the holiday. Most shops start buying for back to school between May and July, call them and see when and get your things in before the back to school shopping craziness. If your area has a slow season (ours is summer, up north it's often winter) don't bring your things in right before that season starts ...wait until about a month before business will pick up again.

13. If you take your items to a consignment store read the agreement carefully before you sign it. Be informed.

14. Got a mark on something? Magic eraser. Finish on your furniture a little dull? Try a little furniture polish. Outdoor toy looking dull? Armor All Missing a belt on a dress with belt loops? Replace it with another belt or a piece of grosgrain ribbon.

15. This one is really shallow, but true. When you bring your things in look decent. It sounds silly, but you are the first impression of your items. Even more shallow, if you have a choice between bringing your things in in a Publix bag or an Ann Taylor bag choose the Ann Taylor bag ... don't go out and buy a nicer bag, but if you have the choice ...

16. Know the store you're bringing your things to. Check out their prices before selling/consigning your items. If they sell Gap polos for $2 and you're hoping to get more than $1 for the ones you're bringing in it's not going to happen. Ask around and get some feedback on the reputation of the store. Is the store organized? Would you shop there? How long have they been in business? If you have a choice of shops in your area check them out before deciding where to take your items.

17. Bring your bedding set in in a bedding bag. Same with any awkward toys or other items, if you can provide a way to put it on the shelves it makes a big difference. We've said no to things before just because we had no way to market the item.

There are more, I'm sure, but that's what comes to mind right now. Keep in mind that this is from my experience, each store is fun independently and uniquely. Have fun and make some money!

edited to add: I can't believe I forgot this - www.howtoconsign.com is full of great tips and hints (and run by THE expert of the consignment and resale business, Kate Holmes, who also runs Too Good to Be Threw).

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