Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How to Have a Successful Consignment Experience

At Le Thrift Consignment we are always hear from potential consignors about their fears about consigning or dreadful past experiences with other consignment stores.

It led me to wanting to write a post about how to have a successful consignment
experience whether you work with Le Thrift or any other consignment store.

When you are starting to go through your closet here are a few tips to help you choose the right pieces to sell.

1. Make sure that the items are in season and also clean or that they are dry cleaned before you bring them in.

2.  Examine the item and ask yourself is this something I would buy from a store? Is it relevant to what people are wearing now? When was the last time I wore this? Am I ready to give this up and sell it? If the answer is yes on all of these, then put it in your consignment pile.

3. At our store and many others, it is always about the quality of items that come in than quantity. The best items are going to sell and therefore make you money. When new

consignors come in with lots of items to go through and most of it we cannot sell, it is a waste of time for both parties. Bring in edited pieces that you feel would sell and donate the rest to a local charity.

4. Do some research on the consignment store before you walk in. Do they have a reputable business? Check Yelp, Zagat and Google to see honest and real feedback from customers about the store you are about to do business with.

5. Have you looked at their store policies? Usually they list them on their web site along with the percentages. If not, it is wise to call in and see what their policies are before bringing your items in. See if they take appointments or you can stop by anytime during business hours. Some consignment stores offer free pickup or shipping if your items qualify for those services.

6. Check to see if the brands you want to sell are carried in their store. We offer a brand list online to let our customers know what we are looking for and the brands we accept.

7. Fold, hang and pack the items you want to sell neatly into bags or containers. Hanging
your items is even better. Again check with your consignment store how they prefer you bringing your items in.

8. Make an inventory list of the items before you bring them in and have the consignment store employee count the items that they accept. Check these on your list as the ones that were accepted. Knowing the number of items you left gives you reassurance and can give you piece of mind.

9. Make sure you read over the contract carefully. I cannot tell you how many people don't read the contract. It is your items, so take your time and make sure you understand the terms of the contract before you leave.

What happens next is different with each consignment store. Some offer online portals so you can see your sales and accountability of your items. Le Thrift Consignment offers this service to their consignor for a minimum fee. If your consignment store does not offer this service, make sure you at least have a handwritten list that both you and the store have a copy of and have agreed to.

Now on to the fun stuff! How do consignment stores typically price your items? The process is usually pretty universal, but always ask your consignment store first.

1. Items are usually priced to market resale value. For items that are worn, they generally sell from 25-30% of the original retail price depending on the wear of the item. Items that are new with tags generally resale for 50-60% of the original retail price. In very rare cases some items increase in value. For example, a rare Herm├ęs, alligator skin handbag from the 1980's would go up in value.

2. Consignment stores usually pay each quarter. In some cases they might pay cash or pay monthly. Ask your consignment store when they pay. How you will receive payment and when your items will want to be returned. Also ask how long they will sell for and how long they hold on to the items after they stop selling. Will they be donated? Can you get a tax write off? These are all important questions to help you have a successful experience.

3. Markdowns often happen at consignment stores as well. Just like big box retailers, consignment stores need to start marking down items to give customers incentives to buy them. If an item sits on the floor too long at the same price, it becomes a "dead" item. Items that sit too long, usually end up never selling at all. A store will have a certain following of customers and the public dictates what that item is truly valued at. So if your items all sell at the original estimated price, you have done very well. But, most times the items that sit longer will be marked down and ultimately that is better in the long run as your items will sell through and your check will be larger.

3. The last point I want to bring up to you is that most consignment stores are trying their best and reputable at what they do. Try to be a great "business partner" and not always be calling and checking in on your items. There is a fine line between a friendly check-in and being a nuisance. If you feel unsure of something go ahead and ask, but then always give the store time and space to sell the items and you will have a better outcome.

I hope this helps you whether you consign with Le Thrift or consign at your local consignment store. As a consignment store owner, I want to share this information with you so that you can know what to expect and have a great experience.

So ladies, clear out your closet and start making some cash!

Christine Sanderson
Le Thrift Consignment 


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