To Consign ...

As I look out the window at snow still on the ground I am dreaming of warmer weather and a clean and organized closet :).  Spring will be here before you know it!  It's time to start thinking about your spring wardrobe.  Now is a great time to go thru your spring wardrobe and evaluate what needs to go and what should stay.  Whether you did an awesome job of purging last year (prior to putting Spring away) or  you have a huge pile of things to take away - consignment is a great option to say good bye to a big stack or just a few pieces.  I don't really think it's recycling exactly but it is a great way to let someone else have a chance at your best pieces and earn a little ca$h at the same time.  

I have talked about consigning before but I thought to actually hear some tips from a shopowner would be great.  When I talk to clients about consigning  the two concerns that come up most often are:  they don't think they get enough money back or wonder how pricing is done and they wonder why their pieces were "rejected".   Whether you are an old pro at consignment or a novice, I thought a refresher of sorts might help.  I reached out to one of my favorite local shops - The Conscious Collective Consignment - and asked Katrin Ophoff, the co-owner if she would answer some key questions in regards to consigning your treasures.  The extra-cool thing about The Conscious Collective Consignment is they also take your special home good pieces. The shop is located at 445 Bridge St NW, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.    They have a great way to connect via their facebook page here


Question and Answer with Katrin Ophoff Co-Owner of The Conscious Collective Consignment


1.  What items should I bring? Every consignment store is a little different, for us we ask for items to be OFF of hangers and folded in bags or baskets, we don't worry about wrinkles because we steam each and every item before it goes out on the sales floor. Bring us your "like new" clothing, shoes, accessories and home decor, we like eclectic but we also follow current trends and styles. Bring us the best of the best of your items, if you think it might be too worn, it probably is. 


2. What should I not bring? You should not bring items that are damaged in anyway, fading, pilling, moth holes, shrunken items. Keep in mind that we are a consignment boutique not a thrift store, there is a big difference! Thrift store items are often faded, stretched out, may have damage, have obvious signs of wear. A consignment boutique like ours, is designed for high quality merchandise, and that's what you should be bringing in...If it looks like it should go to a thrift store, don't bring it to a boutique. Basic rule of thumb, if you think it's junk we don't want it.


3. What is the seasonal “timing” you use as far as clothing goes? For us, this varies a bit depending on our ever changing Michigan weather. This year, we will start accepting Spring items at the beginning of February...the weather will dictate exactly when we start accepting summer items, like shorts, but usually we begin accepting Summer items around April. Fall items we begin to take at the end of July/beginning of August. And heavy winter items (like winter coats and winter snow boots) we begin accepting in October. 


4.  What are the most common reasons you may “pass” on piece of clothing I bring in to consign? Too much noticeable wear or damage (even moth holes are enough for us to pass on an item), excessive pet hair, smell like cigarettes or other odors, outdated styles (example - pleated front pants for men, women's business suits, etc), often we pass on items just because we have found that certain things don't sell for us (examples: 3"-4" stiletto heels, women's plain button down "business" tops, certain brands of men's button down dress shirts like Van Huesen and Stafford). 


5. If I choose to have you keep any clothing that doesn’t sell what happens to those pieces? We donate any unwanted clothing to the residents of Well House, a local non-profit providing permanent housing for the homeless, we also donate items to Mel Trotter, specifically damaged items because they have a program that recycles damaged fabrics. 


6. How did you choose the charity? We chose Well House because we love what that organization is doing to help homeless individuals improve the quality of their lives. After talking with a few of the Well House board members, we saw that there was indeed a need for the residents to receive clothing. We now have a list of resident's clothing and shoe sizes so we can ensure that we are sending them items that can be used. The remaining donation items that Well House can't use, we have then give to Mel Trotter, who can use the donations as inventory in their retail stores which helps support their goals of helping the homeless as well, the selling point with Mel Trotter was their clothing recycling program, it gives us great peace of mind to know that damaged clothing items aren't just ending up in a landfill.  


7. How do you determine the price of an item? All of our prices are based on the original retail value, we often do research before pricing an item to determine original retail value as well as resale value, which can sometimes differ greatly. We also want to make sure that we are pricing items in a way that makes even expensive brands an option for every customer. For example, a J Crew sweater that was originally priced at $225 could easily be priced at and sell for $50 or more, but we think that still seems a little too high of a price, so we would price that sweater at around $35, which we feel still honors the original value of this item, but at $35 it is more likely to sell quickly because more people can justify spending $35 than $50 for a sweater. 


8. What items would you love to see more of in your store? We have great success with Home Decor items, but it sells so fast that we often have a low selection, I would love to see more people bringing in home decor items. That, and Plus-Size clothing! We are still trying to get the word out that we accept and carrying very stylish and on trend plus-size women's clothing up to a 3x (26/28). 


9. I love the fact you carry not only women’s clothing and men’s clothing (which is awesome) but you also have lovelies for the home.  What should we know in regards to consigning home goods?  (what you take, what you don’t take, etc.) We love having the Home Decor items! We do not accept electronics or cookware, though we do accept Vintage Pyrex and Pampered Chef stoneware bake-ware, and other vintage dishware and glassware. We look for items that have an earthy feel to them, items made of natural materials - wood, stone, etc. We also love vintage and antique items. Eclectic is a good word for our Home Decor. 

I love the idea of starting fresh for a new season by shopping your own wardrobe, passing on the pieces that no longer work for you, AND gain some spending money for new stuff all at the same time.  If you are ready, but don't want to do it alone, contact me I am happy to help!!