Occasionally a consignor will ask us how much we’re going to sell her items for. That’s a legitimate question and our women’s consignment policy is to provide as much transparency as possible. That said, we often counter the question with another question – How much do you need to get to make this worthwhile? And in an endless cycle of questions answered with ambiguity, the reply is almost always – “Well, as much as possible!”
Of course, our goal is always to sell women’s consignment clothing for as much as possible. That makes it more worth our while and keeps our Portland consignors satisfied so they continually supply us with more and better resale clothing to sell. Very often consignors will tell us they paid (just to use an example) $100 for an article of clothing. So, they figure they want to get half that back. Doing the math, that means that our women’s consignment shop must sell it for the full retail in order to pay them a commission of $50. (We pay 50% commission on items that sell at $75 or higher.)
Suffice it to say, that’s not terribly realistic, and we wouldn’t stay in business very long using that model. While we want to be Portland’s best resale shop, we also want to provide quality women’s resale clothing at attractive prices; and significantly lower than the full original retail price. Our resale shopping devotées are a savvy bunch. They like shopping and recognize a good deal when they see it. They also recognize good quality and have brand names and designer labels they love and crave.
So, when we ask consignors about expectations for selling their high-quality women’s resale clothing, it’s not to put them on the spot. It’s simply that we want to satisfy their expectations and avoid disappointing them down the line. If we can’t meet an expectation, we usually recommend they try selling their items themselves. If they’re willing to do the work themselves and not share the commission, they will usually end up with a little bit more money. But, and this is a BIG but – there is considerable work involved. Many of our consignors and shoppers have no idea what goes on behind the scenes and how much work we do to make sure each item on our Portland resale shop sales floor is appealing and right-priced. And that’s without factoring in the work we do on marketing, social media, website management and all the other things that make us the best Portland consignment shop! Those other activities are not optional, they’re required, to help spread the resale gospel, to get the Here We Go Again name out there and in front of women repeatedly so when they’re in the mood to shop, ours is the first place that comes to mind. We love what we do and we’re good at it. Thirty years of experience counts for a lot! We are the longest standing, individually owned women’s consignment shop in Portland. We take pride in that, but we never stop working hard for our consignors, and we never stop trying to improve the process for everyone, on BOTH sides of the counter.
A shopper recently commented to me about our pricing on some of our premium denim jeans. Typically our denim runs from about $20 up to perhaps $85. She remarked that she could buy it for cheaper on an online resale website. That’s very likely true. I replied to her that the individual sellers on that platform don’t have to pay the retail rent that we pay, and I told her the amount of our rent payment. Her jaw just about hit the floor. It’s quite true that online sellers don’t have our overhead, and I’m not disputing that they work hard at what they do. At Here We Go Again, we’ve always believed there’s room in the market for a wide variety of resale boutiques, thrift stores of all ranks, flea markets and so forth. After all, there are so many different kinds of shoppers! Each resale shopper has her own budget, taste, resale shopping experience expectations and values.
In order to be the best consignment shop, we strive to price as high as possible to keep our consignors happy – remember they may have paid some big money for some of the pieces – but also at an appealing level so shoppers grab things up. We operate a consignment shop, not a museum, and we want our merchandise to move and constantly make room for more. (And to that end, we hold some pretty bodacious sales! If you’re not getting our weekly emails for all the inside info, sign up here!)
The first part of this post digressed a bit from my original topic, so now let me offer some advice on how to maximize your consignment commissions. Some of this advice will seem pretty obvious, and some may sound surprising, but it’s all in the spirit of helping us make more money for you, which helps us!
- When bringing items for consignment, leave them hanging on hangers. This saves time in two ways – you don’t need to spend the time taking it off hangers, and we don’t have to spend the time rehanging it. We always return your hangers.
When reviewing women’s clothing consignment, we can make nearly instant assessments of the quality and condition or your clothing when it’s hanging, as well as whether we are the right or best place to sell them. Some women’s resale clothing may be in perfectly good condition, but it’s not what our shoppers want or crave. We’d rather have you get it to the right place so that it sells, instead of returning it to you at the end of our 60 day consignment period. Leaving clothing hanging also minimizes wrinkles, which are our enemy in looking for spots or flaws. If clothing is excessively wrinkled, we’ll just say no. We want to take as much as possible from you, so help us accept more, by bringing it in the best possible condition.
- Consider the season – we can maximize your returns when we put resale clothing out at the optimal time. Early in the season is nearly always best; when consignment shoppers are hungry for fresh seasonal styles. In the Spring, we start ahead of the season, in mid February. Everyone is tired of black and grey and craving color!
We switch gears into Fall consignments exactly six months later, in mid-August. It may seem odd to put out sweaters in the heat, but the major department stores are even earlier! We sashay into our Winter and Holiday consignment season after Labor Day.
- Make sure your consignment clothing is clean and fresh. That means checking the pockets, shaking out the handbags, brushing off the shoes. If there’s stuff in the pockets, or the sleeves are rolled up – that’s a dead giveaway that it hasn’t been washed, and we will reject it. Fabric sneakers always look better after they’re washed. Remove the insoles and wash separately. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!
- In the best lighting you have, check for spots, flaws or missing buttons. Moths are devious, make sure they haven’t made a meal out of your beautiful designer cashmere!
- We strongly recommend that you prep and condition leather items. It restores dry leather, deepens the finish, hides scratches and blemishes, and makes them look amazing. We sell a terrific leather conditioner at a great price! Brush off any dirt on the bottoms of shoes.
- Make friends with your steam iron-it makes a big difference for cotton and linen. They’ll look fresher and newer, and therefore more attractive. Fresher and newer = better prices!
- Bring us the best that you’ve got. That may sound elitist, and that’s not what we mean. In order to be the best women’s consignment shop means stocking our racks with the best you have to offer. We have limited space, so we simply can’t accept outlet labels or fast fashion brands. It’s not a judgement on you, or your style, just simple capacity. We can only fit so much, so we need to stay focused on what will sell best and make you the best commission.
- De-pill sweaters. We sell Sweater Stones, an inexpensive & wonderful product for this! This will also get you up close and personal with your knits so you can spot any flaws before we do!
- If you love Portland resale shopping as well as consigning, consider using your store credit towards some resale treasures. Better yet, take advantage of our Consignor Bump months, when your credit is worth 10% more when you use it towards purchases. I mentioned our fun weekly email, right? Sign up now, so you get the notifications!
We certainly hope these tips help you make more money when you consign your clothing at Here We Go Again. If you have questions, ask us anytime! Our goal is to do well for you, and have you join the thousands of consignors who’ve been successfully selling through us for decades!