Tips for Shopping Consignment

Even before the economy took a nosedive, it was becoming fashionable to lighten our environmental needs by reusing as many things as possible, including clothing. This is nothing new to moms, who have been wardrobing for their kids via hand-me-downs for years. In fact, the standard reply when a mom shares that  she’s expecting another boy is to say, “Oh, you’re all set! You’ve already got all the boy stuff!”

There can also be residual value in all those clothes, provided they haven’t become too worn or out of fashion. Moms have learned that clothes can be outgrown so quickly they are still almost as good as new when the size has become too small. I know some moms who justify purchasing better brand clothing because they know they can recoup 1/4 to 1/3 of their cost through consignment. Likewise, some moms justify purchasing a greater variety  of clothing because they find a deeply discounted selection through consignment. Either way, consignment is an outstanding method for recouping costs or spending less for your children’s clothing.

If you’ve missed the big “blitz” type consignment sales this season but would like to take advantage of consignment, you have many options available. Karol Leggett of Kids Closet in Vestavia offers several tips on how to make the most of working with a consignment reseller.

1. Call the store for their policies on with questions such as:

How man items can you bring?

What is the “split” on the sale proceeds between you and the store? (60/40, 50/50, etc.) Some stores may increase your percentage if you use your balance inside the store as a credit.

Are there any brands that are not accepted (usually less expensive, value brands)

Do you need an appointment to drop off clothes?

How will you be paid? Some stores pay up front for clothing and some accept clothing on consignment only, meaning you only make money if your item sells.

Items that sell best are in great condition, still in style, laundered and pressed. Most stores only accept the current season’s clothing. It is a good sign if the store is particular about which items it will accept; this makes for a better shopping experience and store reputation.

2. Shop often. Most stores are putting out new items every day, so come in the store frequently to see the newest clothing.

3. Snag it. If you see something you love and you feel it’s a good price -snag it. It’s the only one they have and it will probably be gone soon.

4. Take your Time – Look over the selection and take time to review the brand labels. Brand name is an important factor in the price of the item and employees can usually answer questions about the significance of a brand.

5. Find out when sales take place. Some stores have a certain day in the month when everything in the store is discounted. This is to help move merchandise and make room for new items being brought in.

6. Find out the return policy. Many do not offer ”returns” in the retail sense but may have an approval policy which gives you a limited amount of time to take the clothing home, try it on, and return it if you don’t wish to keep it.

Sometimes you save clothes for the next child only to find you have the wrong size for the season. It is not unusual for some articles in consignment stores to have the original tags still attached, an indication that the size wasn’t appropriate or the item was a gift that went unused. Convert these items into cash via consignment and lbe on the lookout for clothes for your kids. Remember, one kid’s growth spurt could be your snag of the season.