Tips on selling to a consignment store?
January 8, 2010 4:22 AM   Subscribe

Tips on selling to a consignment store?

I'm cleaning out my closet and have a large amount of clothes I'd like to sell to a consignment store (this one, specifically). Does anyone have any tips on the best way to go about it? Is it ok to haggle? And if it is, does anyone have any advice on that as well? (I'm not the most assertive when it comes to bargaining.)
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious to Shopping (11 answers total)
 
When you deal with a consignment store, you're not really selling an item to the store itself, so there is probably nothing to haggle. You will determine a price at which the item will be offered in the store, and if the item sells to a customer, the store will pay you a previously agreed-upon percentage of the price.

There are probably some variables, for example maybe some stores do set the price of the item or help you determine it yourself based on their experience. The percentage the seller and store get may vary from store to store, but probably not from seller to seller. The timeframe that you can keep your item in the store probably varies as well.
posted by dayintoday at 5:32 AM on January 8, 2010


Best answer: You don't sell to a consignment store. You drop off your stuff but retain ownership of it until they sell it for you, at which point they give you a percentage of the sale price. The procedure is detailed on the store's website.

The negotiable parts, if any exist, would be the percentage they pay you (site says 40% is standard) and the price they set for it. I would think, however, that you'd have to be offering something pretty special for them to vary from their regular policy or allow you to dictate prices.
posted by jon1270 at 5:48 AM on January 8, 2010


Oops, shoulda' previewed.
posted by jon1270 at 5:48 AM on January 8, 2010


Best answer: Sort ruthlessly. Make sure everything is clean, free of rips, tears, stains, smells nice, ironed if needed. Missing buttons must be replaced and small repairs are okay. If the size labels are gone, use small masking tape tags to size things. Accept that your used clothing probably has a lot less value than you think. They're used to haggling, but unlikely to budge, unless you have really awesome designer labels or vintage stuff in fantastic shape.
posted by theora55 at 6:36 AM on January 8, 2010


Best answer: Whoa small world - I've actually shopped at that store and I work at a very very large employer in town (if you get my hint...). Anyways, that store is pretty upscale (as consignement goes), so if you still have some teen - collegey clothes (I saw in your profile that you are 27) you may want to pick those out and take them to a place like Plato's Closet where you would be more likely to get money for them.

Generally they won't haggle with you, store policy or go home! I've had luck selling what I call "lots" of clothes on ebay. I'll just group about 15 pieces by size, take a picture and sell them on the really cheap. When I get lazy (often), I just donate clothes. In the Princeton area, I usually just take my clothes to a Goodwill store.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:38 AM on January 8, 2010


Best answer: Iron everything -- it makes it looks newer. (It also flattens it and makes it a little bit easier to haul a huge pile of stuff.) Accumulate dry cleaning hangers, hang it, use big clear plastic leaf bags with a hole in the middle of the bottom to protect it in transport (but ask; they may have a policy vis-a-vis accepting stuff only in boxes or some such). Haggling, as others have said, doesn't really fit in. If you have something valuable, feel free to ask what they're pricing it at; if you can do better on eBay, hang on to it, and do better on eBay yourself.

Expect that they will price your gorgeous was-$300 sweater at $40, and that it will only sell at the end of the season at 75% off. It is a great thing to do for big closet clear-outs, but rarely wonderfully profitable.

Make sure you know the sort of stuff the store you're aiming to deal with usually sells -- visit several times and check out the racks -- and that what you're looking to have them sell for you is a pretty close match. If yours is scruffier or nicer, go elsewhere; the store will either reject a lot of what you're offering, or price it very low. It is not unreasonable to plan to round up your best stuff, add the middling things, and take it to a posh shop, and then take what the posh shop rejected and your bottom-tier offerings to a more downmarket place (at which point you definitely want to tick the "if not sold, donate to charity" box on the form).

Read the fine print: you may have a limited time span in which to pick up your profits. They may give you cash whenever you wander in, you may have to call in advance and request that they cut a cheque; it varies.

Sort your stuff by season, and expect to have to bring it in very early at the start of same.

They may also sell accessories, shoes, even swimsuits, so don't overlook non-clothing items.
posted by kmennie at 7:57 AM on January 8, 2010


eBay will get you more $$$.
posted by k8t at 8:37 AM on January 8, 2010


Best answer: I find that I have better luck selling clothes when I'm well-dressed. This could be superstition or just a difference in the way I carry myself, but it can't hurt.
posted by juliplease at 9:46 AM on January 8, 2010


Response by poster: Oops, the server really did eat my post yesterday.

Thanks for the answers. I have a few pieces which I never wore that still have the tags attached. If I leave them on do you think it might net me a slightly higher price when I sell them?
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 9:50 AM on January 9, 2010


Tags still on? eBay it.
posted by k8t at 5:30 PM on January 9, 2010


Tags on may get a slightly higher price.
posted by theora55 at 6:53 PM on January 9, 2010


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