It’s a myth that most resale shops randomly reject things you bring in to sell or consign. And, at Here We Go Again it’s also a myth that it’s somehow an easy process for us to say no. We don’t want to be callous, or make you feel bad. Our desire is for every consignor to be a successful consignor. Your success is our success. It’s our goal to be kind in the way we say no, and our fervent wish that even if we weren’t able to take anything from you today, that we provide you with enough feedback that you’ll return another time, better informed about what we look for. If you return with the same kind of items on your next visit, we haven’t done our job right to help you understand the focus of our local resale shop, and what our shoppers crave. Why make you guess?
We employ several methods to help you be a more successful consignor at our Portland women’s resale boutique.
First, our website offers a partial list of brands and labels our shoppers love, to give you a sense of the flavor of our consignment shop. From Anthropologie to Zara, we want you to understand what our customers want. That said, brand name is only one of many criteria we look for when we assess incoming consignments.
Second, our website also offers some guidelines on what we look for when we curate your potential women’s clothing consignment. As your consignment partner, it’s incumbent on us to inform you about what we want, and what sells best for us. Our guidelines include age of garment. While not a hard and fast rule, we’re most likely to accept items two years and newer because they are on trend, and subsequently, more likely to sell. In addition, we want our consignors to know that we can’t accept items that are too loved, or have any imperfections. Further, there are labels we don’t accept, like fast fashion brands. This is not so much a preference, as a business decision. Fast fashion is pretty inexpensive when purchased new, so we can’t command the kind of price we need in order to cover our costs processing those items. And, since we get in literally dozens of consignments every day, we are under extreme pressure to maximize the use of our rack space. We strongly encourage consignors and would-be consignors to browse our racks to see what we carry, and what has been selected for consignment. It can really light a spark for some, providing more insight, and perhaps reminding them of things they have in their closets they’re not wearing.
Admittedly, our decisions about what we take or turn away are highly subjective. Even though we train every staff member in the same manner to review incoming women’s consignments, each individual has their own likes, dislikes and personal preferences. That’s ok. We want our staff to have some authority to make those judgment calls. We also want to appeal to the wide variety of shoppers that frequent our local resale shop. At the same time, we continuously train our staff to refine our intake skills.
Several tips on getting more items accepted: Bring clothing hanging on hangers (or neatly folded in shopping bags if hangers are not an option). Badly wrinkled items are hard to evaluate and more likely to be turned away. (Wrinkled items also require additional processing time, which slows down our process to get them to the sales floor.) At home, check in advance for pilling, missing buttons or things in the pockets. It’s a dead giveaway that those things have not been washed. Do a quick 5 point inspection, because you know we will: Collar, cuffs, crotch, armholes and front. We’re also unlikely to take items that are too basic, unless they are a better boutique or designer brand, i.e., no to a new with tags, black Gap tee, yes to a Vince pima cotton tee in excellent condition.
When asked, we’re happy to provide feedback to our consignors about why we accepted or didn’t accept items that they brought in. We believe that explaining helps you understand how to be a more successful consignor.
What does that mean, exactly-a successful consignor? To us, it means we sell through the majority of your women’s clothing consignments. Ideally for us, we want to sell at least 60% of what we accept. Consigned clothing that doesn’t sell wastes your time and ours. We really want this to be rewarding for our consignors, whether that’s by utilizing your commission as a “Shopping Savings Account” to buy designer resale clothing in our store or by walking out our door with a check in hand.
It’s true that for some of our consignors we sell 100% of their items. Unfortunately, sometimes we sell none. That’s on us. Lack of sell-through might be a simple matter of pushing the season (we took things in a little too early or a little too late, because, maybe...) It might just be that we didn’t get the right person in the right size at the right time for the women’s resale clothing that you brought us. But – it may be that we accepted items that were just wrong for our market and clientele. That disappoints us and you. If our Portland women’s consignment shop is not the right place for the items you have to sell, then you might be missing an opportunity to have them at a different resale shop where they could find the right audience. Portland hosts a plethora of great resale shops, each catering to a slightly different segment of the market. Can we recommend where else to take your items? Sadly, no. Because we don’t work at the other shops, we’re not privy to their processes and protocols. We do recommend calling ahead; tell them what you have and find out if it’s the right fit for their market niche.
Third, and one of our biggest factors in what we take is what’s selling best. As we go through our racks each day, straightening and reorganizing, we take note of what has been looked at, tried on and put back. When we do markdowns and add items to our clearance rack, we likewise take note of what types of resale clothing are not moving. That continuous feedback loop informs and educates us to get better at curating what goes on the racks at our Portland resale shop.
Lastly, our space is finite. Since we closed our Broadway location in 2021, we now have both our Eastside and Westside consignors bringing in women’s resale clothing to consign. Add to that the numerous new consignors who brighten our doors every day and we have a recipe for overcrowding. We’ve often been asked “Can’t you just TRY selling this?” The answer to that question is unfortunately, no, we cannot. During our inspection process, we assess whether we think each item has a good chance of selling. If we are returning it to you, that means we didn’t think it was right for us.
Racks that are too full are no fun for shoppers, and ironically result in fewer sales. It’s difficult for our staff as well, as we try to keep our local resale shop organized. The upshot? Unless we sell things quickly, we run out of space. That’s our ultimate criteria in assessing the resale clothing that’s brought to us. Will it sell quickly? So, it may be that we pass on consignment clothing that we might have accepted in a different time. Lack of space makes us stay more laser-focused on what categories are selling best, which brands, which prints, which colors. It’s a lot.
Occasionally, a consignor will take it as a personal affront that her items were not accepted, or that we accepted only a small percentage of the consignment clothing that they brought in. We try very hard to help consignors understand that what we choose to take for consignment is based purely on business, not personal judgment. We are never passing judgment on a consignor’s style choices, size or preferred shopping venues. We take what we take because we think it will sell. We pass on what we don’t believe will sell. Period. Ultimately, that is the result of all our other criteria: brand, style, color, condition, season, wear, presentation.
In order for us to be successful for our consignors, it’s imperative that we curate carefully so that the items we do take have better odds of selling.
We truly believe that the more times you consign with us, the more we can both refine the process – us, by reviewing what items have sold best for you in the past, what we know is currently in high demand; and you by seeing what resale clothing items of yours are selling and what you see on our racks for sale. Furthermore, we believe that all the best Portland resale shops want the same thing – for items we put out in our stores to sell! That’s everyone’s goal – to find happy new homes among the multitudes of devout Portland resale shoppers.