In this post, I’d like to share the basics of consigning and shopping at consignment stores. I have been consigning at the Raspberry Beret for about four years and have made tons of money from selling my slightly used clothes, and using the money to buy new clothes (which is really my problem in the first place!!) Since I am addicted to shopping, consignment stores really help me in two ways:
- I am able to get rid of older styles of clothing, making room in my closet for new stuff, without throwing them away.
- I save money on perfectly good clothing that I buy from these shops. Just 2 months ago, I cleaned out my overly-packed closet and packed up shopping bags with 17 bottoms and 73!!!!! tops!!!!!!!!!!!!...and the saddest thing is that my closet is still full! Oops!
- Find a good store which fits your style. Selling college-chic clothing may not go over well at a boutique meant for older women and more mature clothing wouldn't sell well in a store meant for the younger crowd. Make sure you find a consignment boutique that fits you, or else your clothing may not be accepted by the owner, or it may not sell once it hits the floor.
- Make sure clothes are clean, ironed and neatly packaged. Imagine shopping in a store and seeing products that were dirty and wrinkly... would you want to buy them? This is the same outlook that the shop-owner has in mind, so don't bring your clothes in big trash bags... you want her to think that they are not trash, but treasures that people won't be able to resist scooping up.
- Think in the 'now'. When I was cleaning out my closet, I continually would see an item and reminisce about who I bought it with, where I wore it, and ended up getting all sappy over items that didn't fit and were running out style. Instead of keeping these clothes for sentiment or in hopes that they may fit someday, do yourself a favor and SELL them! When you lose that last five pounds you're not going to wanna squeeze back into clothes from high school, you're going to want to go out and buy new clothes for your new body! Don't hang onto stuff that another woman could get a lot better use out of. Think of it as a type of good deed.
- Make friends with the owner of the boutique. Don't always look at consigning as a business transaction but as a fun way to help others find cool stuff for a cheap price and a way to purge your closet and cleanse your shopping soul!
- DIG, DIG, DIG! Consignment stores can sometimes be like 'the needle in the haystack' type of deal, with tons of clothes that may not be right for you, with a few key items hiding that will fit you like a glove and come at a nice price, so definitely take your time to scour the racks. It may seem tedious but when you find that $100 Burberry trench, originally $450, that fits perfectly you'll know it was worth it.
- Pay attention to sizing. As women, we all know how hard it is to find consistent sizes anyways but since these clothes have been previously worn, it may make it all the more difficult. Maybe Lucy shrunk her cashmere cardigan by accident and now that medium is a small, or Lianna may have stretched out her Seven Jeans, making the 28 a 29... you never know, so try different sizes on! It may hurt to put on a larger size and have it fit, but just know that no one else can see the tag. Think about it: wouldn't you rather look hot than have a smaller number on the inside of your jeans and look like you're a sausage squeezed into casing?
- Ask about deals. Since consignment boutiques are mostly independently owned, the owners often have more flexibility in pricing. My Raspberry Beret offers deals all the time from $5 off to 20%-off, all through their email subscription. So ask about a frequent buyer's discount card or an email list or even about current specials. And, most importantly, if an item you love may have a stain, rip, or missing button, ask about a discount. Often, the consignors are very flexible with things like this, but don't push it. The prices are often so low anyways, that defects may be considered in the price already.