Thanks to Jennifer Scoggins for her contribution today! Jennifer is a consignment shopping enthusiast and the owner of The Lollipop Market, a seasonal kid’s consignment sale in the Bay Area.
My oldest child is a sweet little girl. If you’ve also had a girl, you know that no matter what you register for – 90% of your shower gifts will be clothing. My daughter might not have had an infant swing or an Excersaucer, but I didn’t even have to think about buying clothes until she was 9 months old. That’s when I discovered the world of consignment shopping. When I walked into my first seasonal consignment sale and saw how much I could save by shopping for gently used items, and realized how much I could earn by selling my own – I was hooked.
I now have 2 daughters – 4 and 5 years old – and I spend less than $150 a year, per child, on their clothing, jackets, and shoes. I love that I can easily recycle the items we no longer use, and I feel good about my purchases, knowing I’m buying recycled items as well. I’ve learned how to essentially trade my children’s clothing each season, and in this post, I’m going to tell you how.
Consignment shopping combines all the best parts of ebay, craigslist and garage sales: highly discounted prices on gently used items – without the worst parts: shipping fees, no-shows, and limited selection. There are lots of ways to shop consignment: 1) traditional brick and mortar consignment stores that stand year-round and offer gently used merchandise at a discount; 2) seasonal sales that pop up just twice a year –for 2 – 5 days–and offer great deals on clothing, shoes, baby equipment, toys, books, puzzles, and more.
If you’re not familiar, here’s how a season consignment sale works:
Usually about half of the inventory at seasonal sales is for children 2 years old and younger. This is because, as you know, those little pumpkins grow so fast that they often have bins of clothing, gear and toys that are hardly used. If you have a baby, you can score incredible deals on like-new clothing and shoes – and also on all sorts of baby gear, carriers, hiking backpacks, tricycles, ride on toys, duplo blocks, puzzles – almost all of your favorite items for your kids can be found! Because consignors set their own prices at seasonal consignment sales, some of the deals are too good to miss.
And that leads me to this list – the top 3 things every new mom should know about seasonal consignment sales:
1. Shop as early as you possibly can
If you’re thinking of selling, most seasonal sales allow consignors to shop before the sale opens to the public. Most sales are staffed by consignors, who work both to earn a greater percentage of their sales and to shop even earlier. In my experience – the benefits of volunteering are too good to be missed. For example, someone will be selling a Snap N Go stroller for $10, another for $15 and another for $20. They will all likely sell during the sale, but the early shoppers get the best deal. If you’re not a consignor, many sales owners will barter with you for early shopping. Are you a photographer, do you own tables or clothing racks that you’d allow the sale to borrow? Or maybe you’re well networked and can help with marketing – as a blogger or by handing out fliers before the sale. Ask you local sale owner how you can help, and smile secretly to yourself for being a savvy Mama who knows how to use her skills to get a great deal!!
2. Take GREAT care of your items and sell them
Most seasonal sales allow consignors to earn between 65 – 75% of their sales. Baby equipment in great condition can often sell for 50% (or more) of what you paid for it, especially if it’s a brand like BOB, Peg Perego, Baby Bjorn, or other favorites. I’ve done it all – Craigslist ads, ebay listings, swap groups, and garage sales. I find seasonal sales to be the easiest way to quickly clean out my closets and garage — and to have cash in my hand a week later.
3. Know how to find a sale near you
Consignment Mommies is my favorite resource for locating both seasonal sales and traditional consignment stores. You can go to their website and enter your zip code and find every sale and store in your area. They do a great job of keeping their resources updated, and if you move to a new area – you can quickly find the sales closest to you. Did you know that there are 10 different seasonal sales all over the Bay Area? This is consignment season – find a sale near you and score some great deals. Happy shopping!
Jennifer Scoggins runs The Lollipop Market – an upscale seasonal consignment sale in the San Jose Bay Area.