Well I'm back from my blogcation. And here with a topic: Consignment. Specifically, consignment events.
My cheap self has never consigned my old kids' crap before. I don't know why. I probably just had the mentality of "I can't be bothered". Well we're really poor and the husband is now laid off (hopefully temporarily). So I have to think outside the box to make money and stuff. I'm not giving up my lavish lifestyle just because we don't have any real income.
If you live on the South Shore, you might have noticed a bunch of Consignment Events popping up on the South Shore every couple weeks. Little Red Wagon, There They Grow Again, Children's Clothesline, etc. etc. So what's the deal with these consignment events? They are kind of like huge kid tag sales full of inventory and great prices. There's even a lot of new and hardly worn clothes at these events. So if you are a shopper, you are sure to find some great deals. As a potential consignor, I've looked and researched through a few of them in MA a while back. They all seem to have some common practices as far as consignors go (in case you are thinking of becoming a kids crap consignor at one of these events):
- They all charge a consignor fee of about $8 or $10. Usually, if you volunteer for 2 3-hour shifts or more (6 hours for 2 shifts), this fee gets waived.
- The base commission split is 60/40 for most of them. So if you're trying to sell a sweater for $5 and it sells, you'll actually walk away with $3.00 as your 60%. Remember though: They are doing all the work: Renting the hall, advertising, providing the set up, organizing, devoting hours and hours of their time to do all the behind the scenes work. This also brings more people and more solid buyers than if you were to just have a tag sale in your yard.
- You can up your % back to you by volunteering. Typically, for every 3 hour shift, you get an extra 5% back, up to 80%. So that $5 sweater that sold, now will give you $4 if you volunteered for 12 hours.
- Some sales have a minimum of 30 items that you have to consign. (not all)
- Some sales have a maximum of 250 items you can consign. (not all)
- Consignors set the prices. This can be really neat. For instance, I just volunteered to set up a sale and saw two "bigger tagged" items. One consignor slapped on $50. The other consignor slapped on $28. It's really up to you as the seller of your stuff to determine what you think/want to get for the piece. And as a shopper, you never know what you're going to find and at what price. Even the clothes varied a lot - for the most part, they were all very cheap. I saw very few items that I thought "What?! That person is CRAZY for slapping that price on it." Most were very decent.
- You have the option (but it is not mandatory) to 50% off your items at the half-price sale (usually the last 3 hours of the event). So if that $5 sweater of yours didn't sell, but you just want to get rid of it and never want to see it again, it will go down to $2.50. This of course, makes your 60% profit now only $1.50. 80% will get you $2.00. You also have to think: Would I rather cut the reg. price a little and hope it sells for that lower price, or take a bigger hit on the 50% off sale.
- You have the option of donating your stuff if it doesn't sell. Let the consignment event organizer do your dirty work for you. If all your items are just "garbage" in your mind, they'll donate anything that doesn't sell to a local charity. If you have higher end items, or maybe a niece or nephew that can benefit from these clothes, than you can opt to come back and pick up your unsold stuff at approximately 2 hours after the event ends. You can even choose each item to donate - so maybe you want half of your stuff donated, but keep the other half. It's up to you.
So as you probably know, if you "Like" me on Facebook, I'm dipping my toes into the "There They Grow Again" sale in Hanover that is today (April 13, 2012) and tomorrow (April 14, 2012).
My starting inventory was about $840. With the fee waived and volunteering for 4 shifts, my maximum profit will be about $672. I know that's not realistic. I'm thinking if I walk away with $400, I'll consider that a success. I decided to not donate most of my stuff - because I already have a huge stash set away for future sales and can add to that. If I do really horribly, I'll think about whether I really want to do it again in the future. But I can't base it on just one event - need to do a couple to see how it averages out.
I've heard horror stories from some friends about consigning. I've also heard great things from friends about consigning. One thing remains constant: I haven't heard a single bad comment from any friends shopping consignment events. They all rave about the great deals they got. So if you never shopped a consignment event - try one out. There is no charge to go. (Did I mention there is one today and tomorrow in Hanover called "There They Grow Again?")
I shall report back with my post-sale report. Feel free to leave any comments about your experiences consigning. I'd love to hear them.