Posts Tagged ‘consignors’

Here’s a problem that’s good to have… but it’s still a problem.

A shopowner we’ll call “Overwhelmed” writes:

I’m drowning but in a good way. We have around 1200 active consigners 


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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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If you started off on the wrong foot, if you’ve gone off on the wrong fork in the road, if you’ve been barking up the wrong tree, how are you going to get back on your business back on track and

how can you have your customers, your clients, your suppliers, your donors behind you, rooting for that change?

Now, there are different reasons why you might want to make a significant change in your consignment, resale or thrift shop. The first of course, is you misjudged your market somehow. The second one is that the market actually changed on you. You may have opened six months ago, you may have opened six years ago or 16 years ago, but your market somehow has changed. So you’re going to have to make a change in the way you run your business. And the third reason that you might want to be looking at changing is because you yourself have changed.

So let’s talk about change, why you need to do it, how are you going to do it, and how you’re going to get everybody on your side when you do it.

Making changes in your resale shop


Now, the first: misjudging your market. That’s easy to do. What actually (more…)

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A shopkeeper asks:

“Can you tell me how to figure out how much it costs to accept a single item?”

Auntie Kate answers:

This figure is not easy to pinpoint exactly, but we can get a rough number in two steps:

1- Your daily overhead, divided by the amount of time spent per item (obviously, an average). That’s the FIXED COST. Do not include expenses directly related to employees at this point. If you have only one person working, use the full amount of the time segment; otherwise, divide the daily overhead by the number of staff normally present.

2- PLUS how much the person (more…)

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Igibberish tried, really hard, to listen to a live webinar today. But I couldn’t. About the time he said “native app”, I decided

he was talking to his navel.

Not to me.

Honestly, webinars (and live videos and blog posts and even bag-stuffers, for heaven’s sake) exist to communicate… and if your audience has to stop listening to process

WTF you’re talking about

chances are they will tune out , exit the video, unsubscribe or worse.

So yeh, you and me, having a little chat over coffee, can talk (more…)

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