Five Tips for Clothing Consignment
A closet clear-out will result in the formation of piles requiring further action. And if you’ve taken good care of your garments, have perhaps invested in some quality pieces over time, one of those piles is sure to be clothes you’re hoping to sell. There are a bevy of options for going about this task (more detailed selling resources here), one of which is consigning.
Consignment shops, for those of you who aren’t versed in the world of the wardrobe are stores that sell used goods for consigners (you) at a lower price than the item would be if it were new. The consignee (them) will then split the profits of the sale with the consigner (still you). Consignment shops are a stable in most large cities, making them a solid resource for the clothes you’ve purged. But here’s the thing, most consignment shops, especially those that are upscale and well-regarded, can be very picky. Here, then, are some tips for the process:
1. Cleanliness. Before taking your clothes into a consignment shop, make sure you take the time to wash them or have them dry-cleaned. Clothing should be free of any stains or questionable smells. Dirty is a no-no when attempting to consign.
2. Defects. Inspect each item for things like large rips, missing buttons, broken zippers and the like, which will be an immediate turn off for consignees. If you’re skilled with a needle and thread, might as well go ahead and stitch that bad boy up before it has its day in consignment court.
3. Presentation. This is a big one, kids. Your job is to make your clothing appear as desirable as possible. The sloppier, older, uglier, grosser and other unappealing adjectives your clothes seem, the less likely it is that a consignee will feel encouraged to accept those garments into their charge. So,
– Clothing should be hung on hangers (consignees will return these to you if they keep them at all)
– Items that don’t require hanging should be folded neatly
– Don’t haul your closet remnants into the shop in jumbo size black garbage bags, the contents of which have surely toppled and tangled during the drive over
You are pitching these goods, get it?
4. Research. It’s unwise to just take your clothes into a consignment shop without investigating that particular store beforehand. Look into all the consignment shops in your area. Review each store’s policy. You’ll want to note things like:
– The percent they’ll award you from the sale
– How long they’ll keep the item stocked and on display
– The time increments between mark-downs (most stores will continue to decrease the selling price as the weeks go on)
– How they handle payment transactions
– How they handle retrieval of any items that don’t sell within the allotted time
– Any additional fees (most will tack on a fee for cleaning, see # 1)
– Any restrictions on number of items you can bring in at a time
You’ll also want to take note of the consignment shop’s aesthetic. If it’s a hipster heaven, vintage palace, chances are they won’t be interested in your three-piece corporate suit. If it’s a strictly designer consignment shop, there’s probably no point in pitching them on your off-brand labels. Judge whether your item of clothing fits within the fashion niche being cultivated by that store. In general, consignment shops will be interested in clothing that is:
– On trend, current style
– Basic, staple pieces
– Designer labels
– Seasonal (another big one to look out for; most shops will clearly state if they only accept on-season items, a rule which you should respect by not bringing in a bag full of summer dresses during the doldrums of November)
5. Price. It’s wise to take some time at home to consider how much you would be satisfied in making for each clothing item you plan to sell. Note the original price you paid for it (and definitely bring in any proof of this if you still have it!), and how much you think it’s reasonably worth now. These considerations will be useful when it comes time for you and the consignee to set the costs. If what they’re offering isn’t satisfactory to you, then perhaps you should go the Ebay route instead.
There you have it– my five tips for successful consignment. Do share your consignment experiences below, I’d love to hear them. And do enjoy your day, wherever you are.Image credits: NY Racked, Sterling Style, Project Grownup, Fashion Toast, Shimmy Shay
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