I recently “met” Colleen online, she is one of the two ladies behind Best Dressed for Less, South Jersey’s Largest Kids Consignment Sale. I have never bought anything for my kids on consignment (GASP!). I order everything online or buy stuff when we go to the mall as a rainy day activity. I am intrigued by it all, I have heard friends boast about their bargains and have seen facebook posts of excitement after coming from a sale. Before I wrote this post I asked Colleen if I could interview her to find out for me, and for all my consignment junkie friends, what brought her and her friend Kristine to this point. In this interview you will learn how they started, best things to sell, buy and how to consign if you are a newbie! You will also have a chance to WIN two free tickets to the Best Dressed for Less PRESALE,on October 4th, at the end of this post!!! Yes that means you and a friend can get first look at over 45,000 items!!!
October 5-7th 2012
Masonic Home of NJ Fellowship Center
1114 Oxmead Road
Burlington Twp, NJ
How did you start the sale?
Kristine and I are great friends and stay-at-home moms who have become experts at stretching every dollar to make ends meet! Out of necessity, we have become very creative when it comes to saving money for our families. Like all moms, we want the best for our kids but at the lowest cost. You name it, we’ve tried it: coupons, yard sales, Ebay, Craigslist, consignment stores. Through our various experiences we have discovered one thing…that none of the above options is very appealing. Ebay is time consuming, yard sales disappointing; consignment stores are often not very friendly and only interested in a small fraction of what we have to sell. We thought there had to be a better way! We did some research and found there were many seasonal consignment sales taking place all over the United States (especially in the Southern US). Always looking for a bargain, we traveled quite far to participate in two different sales and were thrilled with the great prices we received as both consignors and shoppers. Recognizing what a great opportunity this would be for Burlington County families to buy and sell children’s items, we decided to start a sale of our own in Southern New Jersey back in 2008. At the time we were the ONLY sale of our kind in South Jersey.
Why is consigning so popular?
I think with the economy taking a downturn in recent years and so many families struggling to make ends meet consignment has increased in popularity. People are more selective about how they spend their hard earned money and need to earn as much as possible on the items they no longer need. Also I think with increased environmental awareness people want to do what they can to increase the “useful life” of the products they buy and would much rather see another family use the item than have it end up in a landfill.
What are the best deals?
Our inventory changes from sale to sale but shoppers can ALWAYS expect to find thousands of “like new” name brand children’s clothing items and shoes (for newborns through juniors sizes) at up to 90% off retail prices. .
Best stuff to consign?
Some of our best selling items are little tikes and step 2 play equipment, jogging strollers, double strollers, kids furniture, dvd’s and all kinds of infant equipment bouncy seats, exersaucers.
I know from experience that children are just as happy with gently used items as they are with new. Best Dressed for Less inspects EVERY item that consignors bring us. It is exhausting! Any items requiring batteries must have batteries and be in working condition (we check), clothing must be in excellent condition and be free of stains, tears etc., equipment can not be recalled or unsafe.
Are certain sizes popular?
Yes – Anything 12 months or larger sells better than infant sizes. We actually limit the number of items size newborn through 12 months that each consignor can bring us – because they are NOT the best sellers. In Junior sizes we ONLY accept name brands.
What brands sell?
Favorite shopper brands for children include: Gap, Janie & Jack, Gymboree, Crazy 8, 77 Kids, Justice for Girls, Hanna Andersson, Mini Boden, Ralph Lauren, Lands End, Baby Lulu, Le Top, Mulberribush, Hartstrings, Flapdoodles, Nike and more!
Favorite Junior brands include: Abercrombie, Aeropostale (P.S) Hollister, American Eagle Outfitters, J Crew, Gap, Ralph Lauren
It depends on how many children you are shopping for! We have had many moms shop for two children for an entire seasons clothing including sleepwear, shoes, coats and even winter boots / snowsuits ALL for under $200. Best Dressed for Less accepts Cash, Visa, Master Card and Discover payments.
How much could I expect to make?
The average Best Dressed for Less consignor who enters 100 items earns $300. Each consignor is able to enter up to 100 hanging items and 100 non-hanging items in their consignor account. We have many consignors who have more than one account each season and earn between $500-$1000 per sale.
How many people come each year?
We have an average of 700 shoppers come through Best Dressed for Less each day of our event (including the private presale for consignors and military families on Thursday). That is about 2,800 shoppers
How many sales a year?
We only have two sales per year (both in Burlington Township) in the Spring and Fall.
What is the best thing you ever found at a consignment sale?
I have found all kinds of amazing deals at consignment sales. I have found $65 Hanna Andersson striped dress and legging sets for $10, Brand new dancewear for $3-$5, sports equipment EVERY season (soccer cleats for $8).
What is the oddest item someone tried to consign?
A couple of sales ago we had a woman bring us an antique pram (the kind they used in the 1940’s). It was really beautiful and in great condition but had no safety straps of any kind. We kindly told her we couldn’t accept “antique” or “vintage” baby items and after that had to change our items not accepted list to say no vintage baby equipment. Safety standards have come a long way since the 1940’s!!
How do you address recalls?
Safety is a top priority at Best Dressed for Less (BDFL). We do NOT accept any recalled products into inventory. All BDFL consignors must check for recalled products. We urge shoppers to register their belongings for future recall alerts, which they can do privately and for free using the “Items I Own” tool at WeMakeItSafer.com.
To simplify the process of checking for recalls BDFL has also installed a simple to use search tool on our own website. Consignors can just CLICK a button on our website and be taken to a page where you can enter search keywords in the box below and click SEARCH to see results for potentially recalled items. If in doubt, consignors can also check the CPSC link for recalls at www.cpsc.gov
Because we share CPSC recalls year round on our facebook wall we are highly familiar with all items which are recalled. In the event that a consignor “misses” a recall and enters an unsafe item into inventory we catch it during inspection before it is allowed on our sales floor. We even use the CPSC smart phone app and have our volunteers check suspicious items before the presale.
If you could teach or tell your sellers one thing, what would it be?
I would teach our sellers that presentation is REALLY important. Wash all clothing, check for stains in daylight, make your items look their best by ironing, buttoning, zipping, and snapping as required. The same goes for toys, equipment and other items. Another way for consignors to maximize their profits is to volunteer to work the event (our sale offers an additional percentage to consignors who volunteer).
Many first time volunteers are surprised at how busy they are during their entire shift (but also surprised at how quickly the time flies). Even though they work hard our volunteers still manage to have fun, meet other moms and ALL leave really excited about the great event that they have helped make successful (and the great commission check they are going to receive). Only consignors may volunteer at BDFL.
I would tell our shoppers to come prepared to do some SERIOUS shopping:
-Bring a large shopping bag or basket
-Bring a tape measure (and their kids measurements)
-Leave their children and strollers at home if at all possible.
-Definitely arrive as early as possible (on pre-sale day if you have a pass)
-Come back on Sunday for half price day.
Could you walk a prospective seller through what steps need to be done to make it a successful sale?
How To Consign With Best Dressed For Less In 4 Easy Steps
Register now and you will automatically be assigned a consignor number. You will also choose a password. You will use this information to enter our online inventory system and create your tags. This is how we’ll track your sales and know how much to pay you.
Organize the items you want to sell and gather the materials you need for tagging and packaging items for the sale. Log in with your consignor number and password to begin entering your items into the inventory system. Once you have entered all of your items you are ready to print your bar coded tags. Print your tags and attach them to your items, organizing by size and type. We offer a tagging service for busy moms called Tags N’ Pins Consignment Tagging Service (http://www.tagsnpins.com)
Drop off your organized items at the sale during your chosen drop off time. After you register as a consignor select a drop off appointment on line. Drop off occurs from 10am-9pm on the Tuesday before sale weekend..
Pick up your unsold items at the end of the sale OR choose to have them donated to Family Service of Burlington County. A receipt will be provided for your items marked “DONATE YES”. Anything not picked up by the end of the sale is automatically donated.
Then wait for your check. It’s that easy!!
DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!!!