Consign with Confidence
We’ve all been there…Maybe you bought a fabulous designer bag or dress that was spot on for start of the season, but then lost its appeal. Or maybe you were talked into something by an overly ambitious salesperson that wasn’t really you. No matter how much you spent, it can feel like an “ouch.” But the good news is that there is an easy way to partially recoup your losses, earn money to put toward something new and give someone else the chance to enjoy your former favorite.
Consignment and resale shops offer us the opportunity to sell our well-loved looks, as well as browse through a treasure trove of fabulous finds. (I’ll focus on the former now and the latter in a future post.) While it is a relatively painless process, you’ll want to be savvy seller. Here are a few things in keep in mind to ensure the highest chance of success.
Do your homework.
Consignment stores come in different “shapes and sizes” so first research your options. Some consignment shops will take only top designers, while others will take any quality clothing that is not too old. Once you have gathered up the items you are willing to part with, do an assessment to see which category your clothing fits into and which store might be the best fit. Consider the manufacturer, age and condition of the item. Call ahead of time to ask the store if they are looking for the brand and type of item you are bringing, as some have limited space and/or want to vary their assortment.
Know the payment policy.
The store determines the selling price of any items they accept. Often they will give you a % once your item is sold. Some offer a 50/50 split while others will give 60/40 (60% for the store and 40% to you). Most designer consignment stores will pay out only once the item is sold. However, some non-designer resale shops will give you money on the spot once they accept your item. Make sure you inquire beforehand to determine what best aligns with your consigning needs.
Prep your pieces.
Make sure your items are cleaned and pressed, as you will want your items to look as new as possible. Not only is this a thoughtful move on your part but a well-pressed blouse will definitely have more selling appeal than a wrinkled one and command a higher selling price. The takeaway here is that it pays to take that extra time to spruce up your salable items.
Sell same season.
Unlike department stores that often stock merchandise in advance of the season, consignment and resale shops have more of a “buy now, wear now” mentality. Most shops won’t even look at, let alone accept, items that are not in the current season. This means you will need to consign fall and winter clothes in the fall and winter and spring and summer clothes in the spring and summer. So if you should realize that, at the end of this season, you’ve got some cold weather items to consign, it’s wise to clean, label and store them until the next fall. Note: a best practice is to actually schedule a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget.
Check the hours of operation.
Each store operates a little differently. Some consignment shops not only have specific hours to review items, they also limit the number of items for review. Other large resale shops (i.e. Buffalo Exchange) encourage drop-ins and are happy to sift through a large quantity of items. Just plan accordingly – and bring a book if necessary.
Consider your online options.
We all shop online so why not consign online? While the TheRealReal.com may be the most well-known, there are a whole host of online options, with new consignment sites popping up every day. The good news is that most online resellers take a much smaller cut than their brick and mortar counterparts. Some like VestiaireCollective.com will even allow you to set your own selling price. Consider working with a niche reseller (i.e. Rebagg.com) that caters to a particular type of items and will allow you to better target your goods. Just be warned: these sites may temp you to shop more than you sell (smile).
Don’t take it personally.
Consignment stores (and sites) can be extremely discerning. Even if you think your old Anna Sui sweater is the bee’s knees, it doesn’t mean that it will be what the store is looking for. They have to consider their inventory needs, what is seasonally appropriate and what their clients are buying. So if at first your item doesn’t sell, try, try again. There are many other stores (including online re-sellers) that may be happy to take your piece. Remember when consigning, perseverance pays off!
Carol Davidson is style strategist, life coach and fellow Tomato. She helps people better manage their lives, create fulfillment and develop a plan to love their look and their life. Her expertise has helped hundreds tackle their careers and personal lives with confidence and enthusiasm. To learn more about her wardrobe and life coaching services and how you can work with her virtually or in person, please reach out to her at Carol@CarolDavidson.com. For more shopping picks and lifestyle tips, please visit Carol on FB: Carol Davidson Life Style Strategy and follow her on Twitter @CarolDavidson.
Personally love consignment shops. My favorite Armani jacket
came from one. Other than the plethora of those in NYC, one
can only find these shops in more upscale towns. Connecticut,
for one, has quite a few.
Great idea to think about consignment shops outside of NYC! For those of us city dwellers, it could make for a fun weekend escape – especially while the leaves are still so glorious!
I buy almost all my clothes at consignment shops! The town where I live is considered a sort of “mecca” for these types of stores; we have some very nice ones specializing in designer clothes. I get to buy brands I wouldn’t be able to afford new, and I am braver/more willing to take risks when I buy consignment (because it’s less of an investment). So my look definitely improved when I went consignment…..
Does anyone have a suggestion for a consignment shop to sell my vintage jewelry and hats? I live in N.J.