As a baby, toddler, and newborn sleep consultant, my usual topic at hand is sleep training, of course. I’m going off the rails a little bit here and offering my advice on being a consignor at a children’s consignment sale and my tips and tricks to making a lot of money.
Recently I posted about my experience as a consignor with the Grow with Me Sale in Northern Colorado, on Facebook. I was so thrilled to share with other moms the method to my madness when it came to this sale. When they heard how much money I made, the inquiries started pouring in. In response, this blog idea was born and I’m so happy to share with my fellow mamas, my tips and tricks and some valuable lessons that I learned along the way. So even though I’m usually a newborn sleep consultant, I’m happy to wear a different hat today.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a baby clothes, shopping problem and consequently, I have an obscene amount of baby clothes. I will blame my baby shower a little bit too but as a girl mom, I couldn’t help myself. Every time my daughter grew out of a size, I would neatly put away her clothes, saving them for our next baby. I continued doing this until my daughter was 1.5 years old. At this point we didn’t have another baby, I wasn’t pregnant, and I knew we wouldn’t be pregnant for a good bit longer. So why was I saving all these clothes? I came to grips with the fact that saving these clothes for baby #2 was totally unrealistic and they needed to go while the value was still there.
What changed my mind? Our next baby would have to be the same gender, have a similar birthday for season specific clothes, and be around the same size. Does this sound likely? Not so much. I decided it was time to part ways with the 10 tubs of baby clothes filling our storage room.
What did I keep?
I decided to hold on to gender neutral basics – white and plain onesies, socks and booties, as well as all the other baby gear and essentials we had. We plan on growing our family in the future so baby gear is a keeper right now. I also gave myself permission to keep my favorites. I narrowed down to one tub of my daughter’s most loved and memorable outfits. This made it easier to say goodbye to the rest of my stash.
What did I sell?
This sale I focused on apparel – I had sizes newborn to 2T in my inventory. My inventory was 99% clothing and shoes however I had a few pregnancy books and some unopened baby formula.
How much did I make?
My inventory consisted of 382 items which I sold 57% of, for a total of 218 items. My gross sales were $807.25. My goal for the sale was $750 so I was pleasantly surprised and honestly a little shocked that I had made that much money off stashed away baby clothes. Not to brag (ok I’m bragging), the average amount consignors made was about $200 so I had knocked it out of the park.
Tell me all your secrets
As promised, I’m going to share with you what I did and what worked for me to make a lot of money. Please keep in mind that I can’t guarantee the same success for you, I’m simply here to guide you through the process with my tips and tricks.
Supplies You Will Need
Plan ahead and get as many hangers as you possible can. This was one of the hardest parts for me because I had so many items. I looked on Facebook marketplace, posted in Facebook mom’s groups, posted on my neighborhood Nextdoor, and even went to stores to go through their recycling bins (Target and Old Navy were the best). If you get desperate, check Arc. My motto was to spend as little money as possible, so I could keep my profits.
You will also need a tagging gun (Amazon), zip ties (for shoes and accessories), zip lock bags, heavy white card stock, and clear packaging tape. Make sure your printer is in working order for printing tags. I also was grateful to have my paper cutter for the tags.
Brand Matters with Profit
Many of my items were considered “high end” brands: Gymboree, Crazy 8, Eleanor Rose, and other boutique brands. I also had a large amount of Carter’s as well, which is considered average but very popular at the sale.
I had a few low-end brands, Garanimals for example. Some of these items sold but for much less than my other items.
I can not stress enough how much appearance and the condition of an item matters. Think of yourself as a buyer and what you would like and dislike. Be kind, it would really suck for another mom to get home with your clothes and realize they are stained or missing buttons.
Prepping your items: check each item for stains and excessive wear (I used a flashlight). The lights at these events are crazy bright and revealing, stains will be visible so do your best. Make sure items are not overly wrinkled and hang items and outfits nicely on the hanger. Safety pens were forbidden at this specific sale and as a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid putting holes in the clothing for the next owner.
I treated stains with Oxyclean powder and let them soak in my washer overnight. For shoes, you can use a magic eraser. If an item did not come clean from stains, I did not include it in the sale.
Also check for missing buttons, strings, and holes. Any items that are not gently used shouldn’t be brought to the sale.
TIP: I firmly believe one of the main reasons I did so well and sold so much was because of the quality of my items. I sold every single pair of shoes that I brought. How did I do this? They were clean and in good shape. Buyers snatched them up because compared to some of the other inventory, they were above average (I shopped at this sale too, so I saw what was out there).
I must admit, pricing was hard for me. I kept thinking to myself how much I had spent on these clothes and how sad it was to give them away for only a few dollars. I forced myself to come to peace with this: these clothes are used, they are making no money sitting around, and some money is better than none.
SHOES: For brand new shoes (yes, I had some that still had the tag) – I priced items at 75% of the retail price. I researched the price on Amazon for reference. For used shoes in good condition, I priced them at 50% of retail. For shoes that were lower end and had wear I priced at about 25% of retail.
CLOTHING: Gymboree, Crazy 8, and boutique clothes – these were priced a bit higher than your average brand. My shirts were priced at $4-$6, pants/shorts/skirts at $5-$8, dresses $7-$10, and outfits anywhere from $8-$12.
For my carter’s inventory, I priced shirts at $2-$3, pants/shorts/skirts at $3-$5, dresses $4-$6, and outfits up to $10.
TIP: Outfits sell for more than selling individual items separately. I personally only paired together outfits of the same brand. Generally, my outfits were bought that way and belonged together. It’s at your discretion to pair outfits together with a mix of brands.
The sale I consigned at offers buyers 50% off marked items, on the second day of the sale. As a consignor, you can decide if you want to participate in this or not. Luckily you can decide this for each item.
Personally, I couldn’t let go of my Gymboree or boutique clothing for 50% so I chose not to mark them down. For everything else, I did participate in this sale.
What is my philosophy on the 50% off? It’s better to get something than nothing, right? This motivated me to originally price my items well. For example, a Carter’s outfit might list for $8 but not sell until half off day, at only $4. My logic was to list it at $6 and assume with the low price it would sell the first day. This seemed to work out well for me, very few of my items went for 50% off.
Entering Inventory in the System
As a consignor, you will be entering your own items into the system and tagging the items for sale.
I learned the hard way and didn’t have a system for this, and it took me hours and hours.
My advice: split up your inventory by category first – shoes, books, clothing, swimming, pajamas, etc. Enter all of the items for each category and then print and attach the tags before continuing to the next category. When entering your items, be very detailed in your description so you can match the tag to the item easily. For example, there’s a big difference between “yellow pajamas” and “yellow flower pajamas with teddy bear.” You’ll thank me for this one later (sooooo important).
Print your tags on heavyweight, white card stock. At my sale, regular printer paper was forbidden due to it easily being ripped and falling off your item.
TIP: The tag must be placed in the left armpit of each item, or in the top seam for pants. Shoes can be tagged wherever there is a seam, so you aren’t damaging the item. Read up on the rules at your sale, it could differ.
The Day of the Sale
I kept all my inventory hanging up until the day of the sale. I had organized it by size and category and used blue painters’ tape to group the hangers for each size together.
Right before the sale, I carefully laid my clothing in plastic bins and transported them this way to the sale.
TIP: You will be putting your own stuff on the floor, unless you want to give up some profit and pay the sale to do it. The more organized you are, the faster the unloading will go.
Volunteer for More Money
At my sale, I volunteered for 4 hours and received an extra 20% profit from my sold items. This is HUGE – absolutely volunteer. I signed up to drop off my items and then work my shift right after, for convenience.
TIP: I chose to work the unloading/sorting shift. By doing this, I was able to look at all of the items for sale before the public or the sale had even started. This was huge for me to plan out what I was personally buying.
I’m hopeful that my advice is helpful in deciding if you want to participate in a children’s consignment sale like the local one I have described. This process is not a quick one and requires hours of preparation to get ready and do a quality job of presenting your items.
Remember these tips: stain/wear-free, price right, present well, start early.
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Wondering how to get baby to sleep? Is sleep training for you? Don’t hesitate to reach out and book a call to find out if a newborn sleep consultant is right for you. I’m a baby, toddler, and newborn sleep consultant and I’m here to help.
As a baby and newborn sleep consultant, I have helped countless families just like yours get the sleep they need. I promise you don’t have to live tired, there’s another way! -Becky xx