If you have never been to a children’s consignment sale for clothes, toys, and gear, you are missing out on so much. You might think it is about saving money, reducing waste, and making a few dollars for yourself. And, it is. But, there is so much more.

Background

Children’s consignment sales are seasonal events that last for just a few days a couple of times a year. They are organized by

The chaos lasts just a few days and then it is gone.
either small businesses or non-profit organizations. Organizers setup the facility and infrastructure, recruit sellers and volunteers, advertise the sale, and run the sale. Parents bring clothing, toys and gear to sell. They receive a portion of the total sale price. And, obviously, people come to buy.  The chaos lasts just a few days and then it is gone. Parents analyze their finds, relish the good deals, lament the excess clothes they now have, and swear they won’t join the crazy again. Then, it is all repeated a few months later.

(If you live in the DC/Baltimore area, the Wee-Sale is coming up from September 14-19 right next to FedEx Field. See wee-sale.com for me details.)

How to Consign

Each sale has its own process and specifics, but this is generally how the model works. Any specifics are to the Wee-Sale in the DC/Annapolis area.

  • Pay a small fee and have a minimum number of items (often 30 or so).
  • “Volunteer” to work at the sale. Jobs can include setup, take down, inspecting items for sale, and cashier. Volunteer is in quotes because you are paid by the opportunity to get into the sale earlier, a greater percentage of the sale of your items, and a refund of your consigners fee. The more shifts you “volunteer” for, the earlier your access and the greater your percentage.
  • Inspect everything for stain and wear and tear, ensure everything is in working order, include batteries if necessary, and make sure it isn’t recalled.
    If you wouldn’t want to buy it, no one else will either.
  • Enter your items into the inventory system, put them on hangers, label them, etc. You decide the price, but there are pricing guides from the consignment sale to set you up for success. You won’t get as much as you think they are worth, but you can still make money. Ask yourself, “What would I pay at a consignment sale?”  Boutique items (i.e. Janie and Jack, Hanna Anderson, Kate Spade, etc.) receive a premium price (see Wee-Sale’s list of boutique items).
  • Bring the items to the sale on a designated drop-off date and time.
  • Watch the money come in. Receive between 40-70% of the total sale price. Your sales are posted each night.
How to Buy
  • Entrance to the sale is staggered, with preference given to those who volunteer, then to consigners, and then the general public. The more you work and are involved in the sale, the earlier you get to shop.  For instance, the schedule at the Wee-Sale before it opens to the general public looks something like this:
    • 11:30 AM – 7PM 16 Hour Manager & Money Mama Shop
    • 12:30 PM – 7PM 12 Hour Managers, Money Mamas PLUS Team Members who work a third shift on Thursday!
    • 1:30 PM – 7PM 8 Hour Hour Team Member Shop
    • 3:00 PM – 7PM 4 Hour Team Member Shop
    • 4:30PM – 7PM Consignor Shop
    • 5:30PM – 7PM New Mom Shop
  • If gaining early entrance is important or you have enough items to consign that the additional percentage of the sale makes sense, by all means, volunteer some shifts. However, do the math. If you sell $200 worth of items and make an extra 10%, that is only another $20. Is working 8 hours worth it?
  • Consigning also gets you entrance into the 50% off sale and then the Dollar Dash, where everything left that is slated to be donated is $1 – no matter the original price – and the funds are donated to a charity. Some good deals can be had, especially if attendance was low and there was lots of merchandise.
  • There are some items where supply is almost always limited. Examples include bicycle seats, infant carriers, backpacks, popular toys, and bargain boutique clothing. If you have any of these types of items on your list, volunteering to get earlier entrance could be worth your time.
  • Bring your own cart.
  • Plan at least a couple of hours.
Too Daunting?

Does all of this give you anxiety? It can be a lot, but it gets easier.

To get you started, ask your friends and family. Post a question on SILK Parenting’s Facebook page. Just go.

If you don’t have time to consign your items, and you are in the DC/Annapolis/Baltimore area, we offer a service to price and prepare your goods to sell at the Wee-Sale. Please use the contact form to inquire.

In the end, done strategically, seasonal consignment sales can help you save money and keep items out of landfills at least a little longer.