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Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Consignment Sale!

I participated in another children's consignment sale this weekend. It's the same one I did in September, but it was in a different town. I learned a lot of lessons this time and thought I'd share them.

First off, something I should have thought of but didn't:  Town A is a lot more well-to-do than Town B. I didn't take that into consideration with my pricing. Therefore, only my lower-priced, non-brand name items sold this time. My higher-priced Gymboree stuff hardly sold at all, not even on half off day!

Second lesson: I went into this sale with high expectations. Too high. I didn't realize this was the first sale they have ever had in the new location. It was in a kind of hard-to-find location. The traffic just wasn't there. When selling at a new sale, don't get your hopes up. The sale in Town A has been there for a couple years now and it is huge! I don't doubt the Town B sale will grow, but it does take some time to get the word out. I was very disappointed, because I went into it expecting way too much from a brand new sale.

Third lesson: Minimize the driving as much as possible! This town was also an hour from me. I dropped my stuff off on Tuesday evening, went back up on Wednesday evening to shop the presale, then went up again on Sunday afternoon to pick my unsold items up. That ended up costing me about $45 in gas. (I hadn't actually figured that up until just now - ugh). I need to combine trips. Here's what I'm thinking for next time: drop my stuff off as late in the day on Wednesday as possible, then hang out in town Wednesday afternoon until the pre-sale that evening. Volunteer for a late shift on Saturday, then take my unsold items home with me that evening. Have them mail my check after the sale. That will cut the driving down by one whole trip (90 miles) and $15. Also, by volunteering, I'll get an extra 5% of my sales, so not only will I save money on gas, but I'll make MORE money at the sale.

Fourth lesson: I didn't get to make it for the half-off sale (see Third Lesson above). When I stopped to pick up my unsolds yesterday, I was amazed at how many items were left that I would gladly have bought for half price. I casually mentioned it to the woman who runs the sale, knowing full well that selling items on pick-up day would be a logistical nightmare. But she said, "Well then go buy them! I'm keeping track of today's last minute sales and will send out separate checks tomorrow." So I set my stuff down and shopped away! I spent about $50 on 13 items (all Gymboree and Hanna Andersson for resale). I was so excited about the things that I bought, that I left without my check! Yes, I LEFT MY CHECK on the counter in the store. Ugh. I emailed her. I REALLY hope she found it, and that someone else didn't accidentally scoop it up. That would really stink - all that hard work for nothing. Actually for significantly less than nothing when you consider how much I spent on gas and the clothes that I bought.

So here's the final report (you'll see why I was so disappointed):

I took 93 items and sold 42. I guess that's decent, but as I mentioned earlier, it was all my low-priced stuff.  I sold a total of $160.50 worth. The people who run the sale keep 60% of that, plus a $5 consignment fee per seller. I list half of my stuff under my name, and half of my stuff under my sister's name so she can get into the sale early as a "consignor," so that's $10 that I lose in consignment fees, plus the 40%. So my checks totalled $86.30.

Let's do some sickening math, shall we?

Total Earnings: $86.30
Total Spent Wednesday night on clothes for my kids plus 2 items for resale: $40
Total Spent Sunday afternoon on clothes for resale: $50
Total Spent in Gas: $45
$48.70 in the hole, assuming I get my checks ($135 in the hole if I never see them again)

I'm not going to count ink, cardstock, or hangers, because that is even more sickening.

So sad.

I had a good time, I enjoyed prepping my items for the sale. But I've got to either lower my prices for Town B next time, or just stick with the sale in Town A (my personal preference).


  1. I did the same thing as you my second year consigning. I was happy with the numbers I got at the first sale so decided to try another one about 1 hour away. I was also sadly disappointed. Between bad weather, poor location, and less traffic overall. I spent all the money I earned driving their and back. Oh well. It's a lesson we each need to learn.

    @ Coupon Tipster

  2. I just did my third consignment sale this past weekend, and it was also a hour away. I figured why not, since the other two were pretty good. Not a good weekend for a sale, it rained all weekend! GGRRR...Hardly any clothes sold, sold some toys, but books and dvd sold really well. That surprised me since they barely sold at the others. That's nice you get your check right away though, here you have to wait two weeks. Hope it will be found!

  3. I called first thing this morning. She did find my check and will be mailing it to me tomorrow. Phew!

  4. They keep 60% of your sales? That's crazy!

  5. No, they keep 40%. Did I word it backwards? lol oops.

  6. I'm sorry it didn't go as well as the first least you learned some valuable lessons! I'm going to do my first one in the spring, but it's nearby so that's a plus. And I'm glad they found your check!

  7. I just dropped off 11 bins for my final sale this past weekend. I passed up another that I have been doing for years. I had done the fall sale and it was fine. I was going to do their holiday sale until the lowered the limit to 75 items. I won't drive 1/2 hour for that. I want to be able to consign a minimum of 200 items. Without discount, selling 50% of inventory is good. So if I had sold 40 items of the 75 I put in and cleared $3/item (after their cut and $10 fee), that would be $120. Not worth the hassle. I also track my sales in a spreadsheet. What I'm clearing per item, my investment, average sold %, etc. I analyze the trends to determine what I bring to sales and if it makes sense to do one. Late season sales are tough. Often times people have already bought what they need. Holiday sales are really good for selling toys. I also get 70-80% of the sales (depending on volunteering).

  8. Hi, I love your blogs - am new but have been devouring them in the archives since discovering you. I sell on Ebay and have for 10 years - I have also set up an etsy shop but havent done much with it. I was just wondering why you sell thru consignment when ebay only takes 7.9% rather than the 40%. What are the pros and cons of each. Thanks heaps for the great info - Love it!

  9. Consignment sales are NOT my first choice for income, that's for sure. I've only done two of them, but I will continue to do them for several reasons:

    #1 - they're fun! I enjoy the process
    #2 - yes, they take more than eBay does, but it gets a LOT of inventory sold quickly, for one big check, rather than one item at a time for $7-10 trickling in here and there
    #3 - I use it as a clearance of sorts. Most of the children's clothes that I consign I have had since February ( I invested $300 in those clothes and to date have sold $2000 worth. I have certainly made my money back on them, and because I've had the stuff for 9 months, it's time to clear it out whether I could make more on eBay or not. Also, I am able to consign a lot of the clothing items that I know won't sell on eBay (generic brand names, items with very small flaws, etc)

    For store owners, eBay actually takes 11% (of sales AND shipping) and Paypal takes 2.9% (plus a 30c transaction fee). So I actually lose 14% of not only my sales, but shipping too. Yes, that's still significantly less than the 40% I lose at these consignment sales, but I just wanted to clarify that :)

  10. I love my local consignment sale. It's a non-profit ministry to the community so they only take 10%. It's completely ruined me for any other sale!