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We’re all simply too nice. And on top of that, we feel guilty for being nice.

Really. Even when we’re crabby or grumpy and out of sorts, beniceand even if we feel like we’re going to scream if one more person comes in the door with more stuff.

But we were raised to be polite and be nice.

So we try and take a little SOMEthing from just about everyone, especially if THEY’re nice, don’t we? Then we spend the next 60 days trying to hide it somewhere on the sale floor because it’s not fashionable or it’s in sad shape or we simply cannot BEAR to look at it for 2 months.

And then we feel guilty about being nice because it wasn’t very businesslike to accept it was it?

I was an especially soft touch for folks who had obviously struggled to make their items appealing.

No problem turning away those who couldn’t be bothered with condition and cleanliness. Those folks got the firm and polite “thank you but these are not what my clientele are looking for” line.

But those who tried to do their best got all my attention. For example, we had one woman who brought in lesser brands but they were immaculate. Those we took, and those sold, and actually sold well. They were the bottom end of our pricing structure, but every shop has to have a bottom end, right?

For the potential consignor who tried but missed the style mark, I did my best to take a few things. Quite often, these were items where styles were not so volatile: a robe or nightie, a wallet or cosmetic case. I wasn’t truly looking to find something acceptable, I was remembering that after all (for example) not every customer was as style-conscious as we as shopkeepers are. And that some shoppers shop resale SPECIFICALLY because they don’t like the current styles, colors, fabrics.

I told myself that my “search” for something acceptable in these batches was based on “we need basics too”. . . but really it was out-and-out nice-ness. AND my knowledge that yes, I wanted to have her speak well of my shop. . .

and FINALLY I also knew that the little old lady whose things were not my customers’ style quite often had things in her closets that I REALLY wanted. These might be vintage apparel and accessories, household decorative items, even the Miriam Haskell necklaces and bed jackets I could never get enough of! I would always mention this type of item to these consignors, and often got a very good response: next trip in, she bring in the 1950’s alligator bag she thought we wouldn’t take because it was too old (we sold it for $500+), or the stash of embroidered hankies that she thought no one could possibly want (all day long, $3-$4 a shot, delighted customers) , or the old crock her grandmother made pickles in back in Zanesville (which looks terrific on my patio filled with geraniums.)

It was nice and profitable to be nice. And that’s nothing to feel guilty about. Try it. Be nice.

The gorgeous letterpress poster is from Soma Gallery in the UK.

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Every business needs a clever, quick tag line… and every resale business could use one that covers both aspects of the shop!

Kudos to St. Vincent de Paul USA for this one!

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A great question in Auntie Kate’s email box recently. T. H. asks:

Why do customers and consignors give me a hard time? They always argue with me (My things are more in style than what they have out here or They priced this too high, you need to mark it down) and that “they” really irks me. I’m “they” for heaven’s sake! Even my employees are always picking on me: they rearranged my work area last week when I was off! I won’t even tell you how service providers and salesmen treat me.

I’m the boss. How come they don’t treat me like I am?

Auntie Kate answers: A boss needs to look and act the part.

Perhaps your boss-persona needs some polishing. What type of impression do you make on people? When a stranger walks into the shop, can she tell you’re the boss by your charming inviting manner? Or are you often mistaken for the cleaning lady because you have your head down and barely mutter Hi?

Do you dress professionally? It’s hard for a client to respect you and your wonderful store if you are wearing Continue Reading »

A rainbow (of color, style, sizes, brands) ending in a pot of gold (value, desire, fashion!)…

the symbol of good luck is synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day.

And of course, the treasure- seeking aspect is what Continue Reading »

Slow times in your resale shop?

Don’t be bored… there’s so much to think about!

If you’re twiddling your thumbs and worrying about business, don’t.

There’s LOTS you can do on a slow day in the shop, and many of these suggestions will actually

make you MORE money than a busload of shoppers pulling up to your door in the next 5 minutes.

Pick your favorites from this list

  • Clean up your desktop On your computer, organize folders and files. Neaten your sales counter and acceptance area too. You’ll be amazed what you’ll find…. 
  • Plan social media posts Having a backlog of creative content is like money in the bank.
  • Write your “How to..” brochure, finally You know you need a “How to Consign with Us” or “Clean your Cluttered Closet for Cash” or “How your Underloved Items Help our Community’s Underprivileged” brochure/ webpage. Now you finally have the time to do it.
  • Create a presentation  Did you know you can make a slide show, about maybe your business history, your services or mission, and why folks should shop with you? Then upload it to SlideShare so you can link to it periodically from other social media channels. Ditto for videos and animation. Don’t know how to do this? Mr. Google is there waiting to be asked.

  • Check your website copy and social media “About” text Is everything up to date? Have you thought of better ways to say things since you wrote it?
  • Clear out your inbox If you’re like me, there’s stuff there you really don’t need, want, or use. Clean all those old emails out, and unsubscribe to any lists that you are no longer interested in.
  • Learn something new What better way to spend a slow day? YouTube is a treasure chest of interesting, quirky… and maybe even money-making ideas.
  • Write your Marketing Plan Effective promotions take time. Now you have time. Match made in Heaven.
    >> Download Resale’s BEST Promotions.<<
  • Brainstorm If it’s slow and staffers are just sitting around, turn on their creativity: have a brainstorming session. Talk about where you want your business to go, and ask for their thoughts on how to get it there.
  • Create In busier times, there’s no time to rearrange your sales floor, make a zany display, write fun signage. Today, there is.
  • Write thank you notes to clients A hand-written thank you is always an A-1 way to build your business. Write a dozen today, mail them at intervals if you’d rather. You never know what magic might happen when a customer feels appreciated.
  • Snap some great photos Use this time to really get those shots you’ve admired in other businesses. Try out some filters, stickers, whatever… and while you’re at it, try some different photo apps as well. Stockpile these for busy times.
  • “Spy” on your competitors Check out their online presence and note their strengths and weaknesses and use this intell to make your business better. (Tip: You can learn a lot from businesses similar to yours but in other towns, cities, states.) 
  • Catch up on your business research.  There’s blog posts to read, Pinterest visuals to be amazed by, fact sheets to mull over. Get a free education in success.
    .>>Here’s a list of Free Resale Resources.<<
  • Drop a note to influencers in the industry Send an email telling them how their wisdom has helped you. Ask how you can give them a testimonial, a thumbs-up, or a online review as your gift to them. Strengthening your connection to these people can lead to unexpected things.

Thanks to Byrosanna for inspiration.

Want more slow-day ideas? Kate’s got ’em… even that crafty one involving old mannequins.

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