How to Consign Clothing

Having worked for many years in a women’s consignment store, I know a thing or two about the in’s and out’s of such a store and some of these tips may help you have a better chance of success when you try to consign clothing of your own. Now every store has a different set of rules (some prefer bagged clothing to hangers, any season vs in season) its best not to compare stores because they all operate differently. 

Before you attempt to bring clothing in, do your research first. Pick up a pamphlet from the store or read about their rules and requirements online first. Don’t show up for your first time with 5 garbage bags the moment they open or 5 minutes before they close… I can promise you, you won’t have a good experience!

I collected a few sales tags to show you what people leave on their clothing that they are bringing in. “Outlet $9.99 Compare at $19.00” “Value Village $5.49” “Value Village $9.49” If the store prices based on a 1/3 rate of the retail value an item with a price tag of $5 would have to be sold at $1.60 of which the consignor would receive .64 cents. That is assuming the prices don’t drop or go on sale.

It is in your best interest to remove the label from the inside, play on the fact that most people wouldn’t know the item is from Streetwear Society or George. At the very least remove the price tag. I find a lot of women think that because their items have original sales tags that it will increase the value of their items, it does not in most cases. The only instance where it would is if the item is an expensive highly sought after item such as a Lululemon jacket ($250) or Frank Lyman dress ($200).

Remove the sales tags if it shows a low value or a price sticker.

Check for soiled spots in the forgotten places.

You’d be surprised how many people do not think of all of these areas…. The obvious ones are bathing suits, check between those legs! But every pair of shorts or pants I have to check the crotch on the inside. I don’t think I need to go into detail about what I’ve discovered that people have not paid any attention to.

Arm pits, if you’ve worn it more than twice and wear deodorant you’ll need to inspect this area for sure. Dresses are a popular one for having this problem as a lot of women only wear the dress once and hang it back in the closet. Naturally one assumes anything hanging in one’s closet is clean, but its not.

Collars can be soiled even after washing many times if you do not use Spray’n Wash. They need extra attention as they have had direct rubbing contact with the oils in your skin. If the item has been hanging in the closet for a few months there’s a good chance it has been soiled by the hanger, by just simply hanging there. Whites are exceptionally tough to keep clean which is why they are rare in second hand stores.

If you spent more than you should have, for example, that super stiff Michael Kors bag. Its not practical but you spent a fortune… Don’t go to a consignment store expecting to get your money back from this bad purchase. The Le Chateau leather jacket your mom spent a few months rent on in the 1970’s is not worth $20 now, its the way things go. If you’re dealing with a vintage shop that price will be much different, but in a current styles shop, that leather jacket has zero value as the style is not what is in the magazines.

If you are on the fence about consigning an item, don’t. If you have any doubt in your mind, don’t. If you want your money back, don’t.

Don't come in with high expectations.

Just because it's current in the stores doesn't mean it
will be accepted.

Every store has a different clientele. You may have bought that outfit at the mall last week, new with tags and all and it may not be something that sells for us. Sometimes its as simple as all items from a specific brand or store will not sell, doesn’t matter if you argue that its brand new, sometimes overall they just don’t sell for the store.

Last year everyone wanted jumpers and rompers but each of those women wore it once, realized it was a nightmare to go to the bathroom and decided to get rid of it. We receive these every summer and we haven’t sold one. We had a stunning BCBG black number last year that was new with a huge price tag and we weren’t able to sell it for $15. You can still buy these in the stores now, yes they are in style, but they are not practical.

Detachment is key. You need to fall out of love with your clothing if you are going to try to sell them, same as if you were going to donate them. You are getting them out of your house! Let go. When I reject an item I am often met with a great deal of anger, as if I have insulted their clothing and therefore insulted them personally. Truth is, our clientele expects a certain style and quality of clothing. Should your items not meet this criteria they will become “no thank you’s”. This isn’t to say your item isn’t nice, its simply saying the store will not be able to sell it as more than likely, we have tried a few times before with no interest.

Regardless of how nice you think they are, they won't sell.

Clean your shoes and purses!

Go through every single pocket in those purses and remove all personal belongings or garbage. Wipe them down with baby wipes or a wet cloth, get all the dust off. Check the handles from end to end to ensure they are not ripped or unraveling. Ensure there are no stains or pen marks on the interior and exterior. Shoes are often overlooked but can collect dust and dirt as easily as clothing and should be properly cleaned before being consigned. I find most women do not wipe out the inside and outside of their footwear so there is dust and dirt remaining from their last wear.

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