Top 10 Tips for Consignment Clothes

February 28, 2013
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Who better to offer advice on dealing with consignment clothes and the consignment stores that sell them than an owner of one such shop. I asked Kelly Corby, owner of New Hope Consignment in Wrightstown, Pennsylvania, for her feedback on what people need to know about consignment clothes–that is, getting their clothes ready to consign as well as the store where they are going to consign them. She came up with this top 10 list.

  1. In addition to asking if they have a minimum, ask the store if they have a maximum they will review or accept – you don’t want to fill your car up just to not have some of your items even reviewed!
  2. Ask if they need the clothing to be on hangers, kids hangers, or in bins; do they have to be perfectly pressed or are a few wrinkles ok?
  3. Ask if they are brand-specific. Some stores won’t take clothes from stores like Target (which is crazy because Target has great clothes!)
  4. Ask if you need an appointment and if they require you to stay or if you can “drop off”. If it is a drop-off and that is what you would like to do – make sure you have a plan for the items that they won’t take – do you want them back or does the store donate them? And how do you get your contract?
  5. Ask how long the items stay on the sales floor? Do they get discounted after a certain period of time? Do you still get the same commission if they are discounted? Do you have a pick up date? Do they donate the items that don’t sell?
  6. Ask when and how do you get paid your commissions? Does the contract describe in detail each item with pricing?
  7. Ask if they take clothes that are older than a few seasons back? Do they take Vintage, for example?
  8. GO INTO THE STORE FIRST BEFORE CONSIDERING CONSIGNING WITH THEM! If you have a closet full of preppy and classic Izod and Polo clothes, but the store is really only into funky/trendy clothes, you will know then that you would be wasting your time.
  9. If there is a smoker in your home, bring your clothes to a laundromat directly prior to bringing them into consign.
  10. Who is responsible for an item that is “missing” on the sales floor, but there is no sales record of it?

Corby, who has been consigning clothes for 20 years before opening her own shop, says that a good consignment shop will go over these rules with you on the phone. Many consignment shops also post these rules or at least their expectations on their website.

Bottom line: be well prepared before you consign your clothes so that you’re not disappointed.

Corby’s final thought, “CONSIGNING IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!”

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