Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sell At A Kids' Consignment Sales

Tip #276 - Sell At Kids' Consignment Sales. A while back, I wrote a post series about where to sell your used things. At the time, I listed consignment sales as an option for selling your children's toys and old clothes. While I knew about this venue, and had shopped at them many times, I had never tried my hand at selling at one of them. As of last week that has changed, so I am going to go more in-depth on this topic.

In most major cities and in some smaller towns, there is a relatively new (I don't remember these when I was growing up) phenomenon of holding kids' consignment sales either once or twice per year in spring and fall. They are often held by preschools, churches, or even private companies. In small towns, there may be one big one per year, while in larger cities, there may be a half-dozen of such sales each weekend in March/April and September/October.

You might have to be a member of the particular church or preschool to sell at these sales, but many of them let outsiders sell there, too. If you have a large lot of kids' clothes, a bunch of old toys, or outgrown baby things, this is the perfect venue for getting rid of a large amount of stuff at once, while still making money.

Why sell your things at a kids' consignment sale versus other venues? As a seller on eBay, I love eBay for selling items when the item is worth at least $10. Is it worth my time and effort to list a bunch of $2 and $3 items on eBay? No way. How about Craigslist? That's another selling venue that I love for items that have wide appeal, are worth at least $10, and are too big to ship on eBay. But most buyers won't come out to a person's house for a $2 or $3 item. Yardsales? This is a great place to sell odds and ends but the chances of getting only shoppers who are looking for kids' items are pretty small. Consignment stores? Another great venue for selling some better name clothes but not so good for a bag of boys' socks.

So basically, for a large amount of items that are worth between $1 and $8 each, the kids' consignment sale becomes the perfect venue. It is a place to get rid of a lot of stuff at once. If you are interested in selling at one of these sales, check out some local moms' sites in your area or check out Kids Consignment Sales. The list isn't inclusive, but is a good place to start. Look for a sale that allows outside sellers, and contact them about how to consign at their next sale. Most consignment sales take 50 percent of the proceeds for their church, preschool, or business, but you may get as much as 70 percent at some sales if you volunteer a few hours at the sale. As a bonus, volunteers often get to attend a preview sale before the public.

Once you decide on a particular sale to sell at, you need to follow their guidelines for selling. Most only let you sell in-season clothes, some take all seasons. Some take clothes up to size 14; others do only younger kids' clothes. Some take baby gear; others do not. For most sales, you need to tag your items with an index card of some sort with the name of the item, the price, and your initials or other identifier. You also need a tagging gun or safety pins, and some tape. At the end of the sale, you usually have the option of picking up your unsold items or leaving them there to be donated to charity. After a few weeks you get a check in the mail for 50 percent (or 60-70%) of what you sold.

In order to prepare for these sales, keep two boxes in the garage, basement or out-of-the-way place. One box should be for the upcoming sale, such as the March spring/summer sales. The other can be for the sale that just passed (fall/winter). As you pull clothes from your children's drawers and closets that no longer fit, put them in the right box. Toys and other non-seasonal items should go in the upcoming sale's box. About a few weeks before the sale, start tagging your items. Price them at prices you would be willing to pay at such a sale. A non-designer pair of jeans tagged at $8 will be unlikely to sell and will end up getting donated. Instead price them competitively at $3 or $4, so they do sell. A few days before the sale, bring over your items to the church or school and then just sit back and wait for your check to arrive in the mail!

In Real Life (IRL) - I love kids' consignment sales! While prices are higher than yardsales, I don't have to drive all over town to find a sale that is selling what I want. Going to a big church multipurpose room filled with kids' clothes is the perfect shopping venue for me. And this past fall, I decided to see if it was the perfect selling venue for me, too. Since I am an experienced eBay and Craigslist seller and an avid consignment sale buyer, I have a good feel for what sells well and at what prices I can expect.

About a month before the spring sales started, I looked at all of the different sales in my area on my favorite local DC site, called Our-Kids. I had probably been to about 10 of the consignment sales in the past and knew which ones were bigger, which sold better brand clothes, and which were well-attended. Based on my experience, I picked a sale where I thought my things would do well (I actually picked a smaller sale that isn't overloaded with clothing and didn't have a consignor fee to participate).

About a week before the sale, a friend came over who was also going to sell at the same sale, and we tagged our items together. We had a fun afternoon, while our kids played, and we got most of the tagging done in just a couple of hours. Afterwards, I double-checked a few items on eBay to make sure they weren't high sellers, and I actually pulled a few things out of my box which I thought I could make more money on on eBay. I also added a few things during the week as I scoured through my children's rooms. The day before the sale, I dropped off my bags of items (about 40-50 things total) at the preschool.

The sale was last weekend. I attended during the last hour and saw that most of my items were sold. I'm not sure yet how much I earned, but I'm guessing it will be about $50 for a bunch of smaller items that I had nowhere else to sell. Not bad for a couple hours of "work" with my friend.


Stephanie said...

Don't forget one of the nicest thing about consignment sales is the quality of items is usually MUCH better than at yard sales ;)

Katie said...

Great idea! I have never tried this...but I think I need to!

Jerry said...

This is a fantastic idea for selling kids clothes that I had no idea about. We've got two and we've been thrift store junkies for years and our kids wear second-hand and hand-me-downs but this idea is great. We all need other options and in this economy, I could use a little more insurance for our budget.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I have never tried selling at one of those. But there are several in our area and after reading this I think I will try soon!

I have shopped them and was unimpressed by the prices (we have such good thrift stores nearby). But there were PLENTY of mommies there pysched about the prices and willing to pay. They probably aren't yard sale queens like myself. LOL

Great post! I hope you'll stop over and visit sometime at Free 2 Be Frugal.

Negi said...

Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you

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