Posts Tagged ‘Thrift’

Where does discarded clothing end up?


Some interesting facts. And some more. And more. And a fascinating book that a fellow resale shopkeeper sent me.

Not all discarded clothing is lucky enough to adorn a bridge.

Not all discarded clothing is lucky enough to adorn a bridge.

I’m surprised at the 45% figure. Are you? Comment if you like!

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A thrift and resale alliance has some good ideas for youOne woman has started a “thrift store alliance”… which looks like it could be attracting consignment and resale shops as well… in a Florida county.

Watch the news reel.

Gather some ideas that you may want to try in your marketplace from their Facebook Page which has over 14,000 followers.

Does your area have an alliance of shops? If so, tell us in the comments what your group does and how it helps your shop and the resale industry!

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A NFP thrift-store shopkeeper writes: Consignment and thrift shop incoming

Needing some advice on processing donations. Our hospital thrift shop has a lovely, good-sized, well-lit store. BUT … the area to process donations is very small and piles up quickly with, on late Saturdays, yard sale castoffs and sometimes very heavy items. We’re all volunteers, nearly all women, and nearly all in our 60s to 90s!!! How do you manage your piles, in other words?????

Let’s go with the piles metaphor: Applying some Preparation H should do the trick!

First off: Have your H ready-to-go. Depending on how you manage your price tags, HANDY could help move salable goods from piles to perfection. Pre-prepared tags, stored next to where your piles accumulate, could cut tagging and decision-making down to seconds. Whether you store pre-printed price tickets in manila envelopes push-pinned to a corkboard, or have shoeboxes full of $5, $7, $10 tags, just having them to choose from means that bundle of jeans can be dealt with immediately… before they get buried beneath another pile of incoming.

Another H to hep move mounds to desirable merchandise: Think HYGIENIC.. as in cleaning things up so they are sales floor-ready. While I am not always a fan of pre-dampened cleaning wipes, these may be called for in a pile situation: Wiping down those florist vases with glass-cleaner wipes, or wooden goods with a polish wipe, could quickly diminish the incoming catastrophe. On Monday, these lick-and-a-promise goods can be more carefully groomed on the ales floor as volunteers chat, straighten, and cashier.

Then there’s the HORROR aspect of Preparation H: Things that should never have been donated to your cause to start with. You know what I’m talking about: the soiled undergarments, broken figurines, singleton dinner plates. Be relentless in trashing these… don’t be tempted to put these items asideĀ  “to deal with later.” As anyone in the resale industry knows, later never comes. Spend your, and your volunteers’, time on what will raise funds, not sap energy. Sure, maybe that dinner plate will sell for a dime, but is it worth the work and floor space?

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Now I bet you came here expecting me to commiserate with you about not enough customers. (There, there, dear, it will get better.)

But really, I want to talk about your

bare shelves.

If you’ve sold down your stock for the holidays, and stopped re-stocking with winter items, maybe your shop looks like this:

A non profit thrift store that needs some fluffing up

It’s a truism that empty shelves, or racks, look forlorn and picked over, and your shoppers will feel like the only thing “left” is stuff nobody else wanted… i.e. trash. So January needs to be spent

“fluffing up”

… using the merchandise you have to make your sales area look not only full of treasures, but intriguing and inspiring too. Like this:

Merchandising end caps in a thrift store

Now, fluffing up empty fixtures may involve removing some excess racks and shelves from the sales floor. If you have folding racks or removable shelves, that’s no problem.

But what if you simply must leave your sales floor layout as-is?

What can you do?

Racks: Remove an arm from 4-ways. That allows you to fluff up on the remaining 3 arms. Or switch the arms from straight rods which need 10-20 items to look full, to waterfall arms which hold 6 or 8 hanging items.

Make a 2-way rack into a scarecrow displayer by putting both straight arms at the same height, forming a T. Coats, long-sleeve dresses, and the like look like they’re intentionally displayed… especially if you snuggle up a small table (or upturned large basket) to hold a trio of accessories.

Make shelves look fuller with the addition of underlays.

Baskets and placemats

These baskets normally reside in a big dump table in the back of this thrift store, but for our fluffing exercise, we pulled them out, used fabric remnants and for-sale place mats to give some weight to the display, and added a little clock and some brass bookends for textural interest. Lots of appeal, even with low merchandise levels. We didn’t have to move the heavy gondola off the sales floor, and it’ll be ready for next month’s influx of new-to-us goods in a snap!

That’s the way to fluff!

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I saw this photo on Flickr, which is just a jewelry display, and thought:

Oh wow, what a great display for any sort of consignment, resale or thrift shop!

Give a Hand promotional idea from TGtbT.com

Click to see the original photo on Flickr

Need a charity promo in your consignment or resale shop? How about “Give a hand” to a charity. ‘Handy’ bracelet display… the donor gets the bracelet and writes her name (or in memory of) on the hand which then goes in the shop window to encourage others.

Your business has donated the wholesale value of the bracelets (and the promo and store space), your customers donate a set amount (try $10)

… and ALL the income goes to help the less fortunate in your local community.

Here’s a hand template to make your cardboard cutouts.

Here’s the originalĀ  picture by a Flickr user that gave me the idea.

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TGtbT.com loves Bonkers About Buttons!Years ago, I was honored to be shown around a non-profit thrift store which really had it all together.

What impressed me the most? The work room where the fix-it guys, the woodworkers, the craftspeople had the tools and the space to

turn less-than-valuable donations into useful, useable, salable stuff.

There are all sorts of folks who’d like to give a few hours, or more, to your NFP… but who have no interest or no ability to staff your sales floor, your incoming door, or your cash registers.

Maybe they live too far away, have trouble standing, lack transportation or just plain would rather work with their hands, or on their own, or only have non-retail hours that they are available.

Does that mean they cannot help your mission? Of course not.

Announcing a new, special Pinterest board that’s joined our Pinterest Page:

Increase the value of your donations

It’s designed for nonprofit thrift stores: Mostly, ideas volunteers may enjoy to turn charitable donations to your NFP thrift shop into exciting and salable goods PLUS whatever else Kate Holmes, The Resale Guru, and HowToConsign.com find that will amuse, inspire, and enrich your store’s fundraising! Follow this board on TGtbT.com’s Pinterest!

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Telling someone to do something, without giving a reason why, only works for toddlers. And not very well at that.

So if you want your shoppers, your donors, your sellers or your consignors to DO SOMETHING, anything, for goodness’ sake, take a few moments to

tell them WHY.

What's in it for ME, ask all your Facebook friends.

Sure, they should think of you. But remind them why it’s so important. Keep a list of reasons to donate to your nonprofit, or sell to your buy-outright, or consign with your consignment shop, and use them in rotation. Bonus: watching your stats, you might even figure out which message means the most to your audience, and which means more traffic through your shop.

For example, just adding on a few words to the above message would “paint a picture” that would remain top-of-mind in your FB fans’ minds when they’re thinking of donating. Now, the NFP that posted this status update was a consultee of mine, so I know a little about what good donations to their stores do. So I’d suggest a few more words along the lines of:

  • Your gently-used dining room set could help finance a wheelchair for a sick grandparent.
  • The things your kids have outgrown could go back to third grade with a child who has nothing that fits.
  • Loved that cocktail dress 3 years ago? Let us turn it into tuition at business school for an eager-to-learn teen.

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