Tips and Advice from Kidzsignments

10 Tips for Shopping a Childrens Consignment Sale

Monday, September 30, 2013

This is the season for children’s consignment sales. Seasonal consignment sales offer a unique venue for families to sell items their children no longer use and others a chance to purchase the same items at a fraction of regular retail prices. Sales set up shop for a weekend or a few days in the spring and fall. Some sales also offer a holiday sale around December that specializes in toys and holiday clothes. Here are some tips for successfully shopping one of these events. Mark your calendars for the Kidzsignments Fall/Winter sales  happening September 26-28  at the NJ Convention Center at 97 Sunfield Avenue, Edison, NJ 08837) or  (October 10-12 at 76 Reaville Avenue (next to McDonalds) in Flemington, NJ 08822  . Check out our website at www.NJKidSale.com for more information and complete sale schedule.

Find a Sale

Pick a sale that best fits you. Consider how far you’re willing to travel, sale hours, how popular the sale (the more popular usually means the more crowded), what they sell (not all sell car seats or maternity clothing), what payments they will accept etc. A large sale is usually worth the drive, but don’t rule out smaller less popular sales that may not have a large quantity, but will likely still have quality items for sale. Google your area using keywords ‘children’s consignment sale’ to find one in your area.  If you find a sale you enjoy, join their email list to stay informed.

Make a List

Like grocery shopping, it’s never a good idea to walk into a consignment sale without a list - your plan. Take a few minutes prior to the sale to write out what you’re looking to buy. This goes for clothing, sports equipment, books etc. Don’t forget to specify sizes too.

Set a Budget

Walking into a consignment sale for the first time can be overwhelming. There are thousands of GREAT things to buy and the prices are always great. If you don’t set a limit, you will likely over spend. Consider shopping with cash to avoid the urge to buy more with a credit card. Please note that not all sales will accept credit cards for payment.

Leave the Kids at Home

Some sales restrict if or when children may attend. It’s never a great idea to bring your children even if a sale allows. It’s usually stressful to shop anywhere with a child but a consignment sale can be even tougher because of the crowds and lines.  It’ll be more fun for everyone if you can leave the little ones at home.

Shop Early

Most sales allow sellers and volunteers to shop before the public. This can be the difference it makes to ensure you get the ‘best’ deal, and not just the ‘good’ deals. You don’t have be a consignor to shop early. Check sale websites for opportunities to volunteer a few hours to earn a preview shopping pass. Some sales offer First-time moms an opportunity to register for an early shopping pass (rules will vary per sale). Visit the sale website for specifics on early shopping opportunities. If you plan on shopping the first public day, be sure to arrive early, up to an hour, to get in line.

Grab Your Tools

Having the right tools will make your shopping much easier. Use string to measure your child’s waist and length to use when shopping for pants/skirts. You can use cardboard to trace an outline of their feet to help with shoe or snow boot sizes. You can also keep a list of clothing and shoe sizes when shopping. If the sale allows, bring a wagon, basket or rubber bin to hold you items while you shop. It is also a good idea to come in a vehicle large enough to hold your purchases (especially if you are shopping for train tables, infant gear or furniture).

Shop Strategically

When you first arrive make a beeline for the items you want most. Ask about ‘HOLD’ areas or marking items ‘SOLD’ to avoid carrying (or dragging) heavy loads. When shopping for clothing hold an item if it is a “maybe”, instead of returning only to find it gone. Don’t forget that the last day of a sale is usually a discount day. And don’t make the assumption that nothing good would remain on the final day of a sale. Many overpriced items can be snatched up on half price day when the price is right.

Think Outside the Box

Most people think of consignment sales as a less expensive way to buy clothing, toys and baby gear for their family. But consider buying birthday, holiday and other gifts at a consignment sale. Many consignors are selling brand new items – similar to what you may find at WalMart or Target. Some larger sales offer brand new products lines like Melissa & Doug for sale at a discount.  You may also find vendors at some sales selling homemade items or hard to find items.

Know Your Prices/Brands

Consignors are usually responsible for setting their own prices. Don’t assume every price is a ‘good price’. Know the higher end brands (i.e. Baby Gap, Gymboree, Janie & Jack) which will be priced higher AND the lower end (i.e Jumping Beans, Circo, Kid Connection, Faded Glory) which should be priced lower. Take advantage of your SmartPhone to check Ebay or retail store websites (i.e. Target.com) to compare pricing.  Remember, consignment stores will not negotiate pricing or take items back if you find them cheaper somewhere else.

Inspect Your Items

Be sure to double check your finds before paying for them.  Check the sizes on the garment label. Be careful when buying clothing sets to ensure all pieces are the same size. Most sales inspect items during drop off, but it’s always a good idea to look for stains, holes or make sure toys work and have all the pieces. Double check your movies to make sure the correct DVD is inside and check books for tears and writing. Remember, most sales don’t accept returns.

Laurie Owens lives in Flemington, NJ and is the mother of 3 children and owner of Kidzsignments Childrens Consignment Sale.  Laurie has been running her children’s consignment events since 2005. She organizes semi-annual events in Edison, NJ and Flemington, NJ. If you’d like to learn more about her consignment sale, visit her website at www.NJKidSale.com

10 Tips to Help Secure Your Items

Monday, September 30, 2013

10 Tips to Help Secure Your Items!

 

  1. Secure Your Tags - Place a piece of packing tape over top of your safety pin making it difficult to remove the tag from your item. This will also help prevent the tag from tearing free of the safety pin.

 

  1. Use a Tagging Gun Instead of Safety Pins -Use a tagging gun to attach tags to clothing items, coats, costumes, blankets etc. For extra security, “double barb” each tag in case one tears off the tag.

 

  1. Attach Accessories Securely - Place pieces, accessories and extra parts inside a plastic bag (secure opening closed with packing tape) and firmly attach to your item. Make a note on the tag that the item comes with a bag of accessories.

 

  1. Keep Puzzles Together - Use plastic wrap (Saranwrap™) to keep puzzles pieces in order. Secure and tighten plastic wrap with clear packing tape to keep pieces intact on the puzzle base.

 

  1. Secure Clothing to the Hanger - Pin clothing to the hanger to make it difficult for someone to remove before purchasing. This will also help keep clothing from falling off the hanger.

 

  1. Mark Your Items With Your Seller # - Include your seller number and the items selling price in a place separate from the tag. This will help if the tag falls off or there is a question about the price of the item.

 

  1. Keep Sets Together - Use small zip ties to secure 2 hangers together instead of using rubber bands. This will prevent a volunteer or shopper from inadvertently separating the two pieces that should be sold as one. Zip ties can also secure items with multiple pieces. Make a note on the tag of how many items are included. These zip ties can be found in most dollar stores.

 

  1. Make Your Tags Stand Out -Keep items from being at check out. This can be done by using brightly colored index cards (or cardstock), cutting out tags with fancy (scrapbooking) scissors, or placing your tag in very conspicuous place on your item.

 

  1. Secure Pants on the Hanger - Use a piece of duct or painters tape on the wire hanger to prevent pants from sliding. Create a small tab, using tap, over the shoulder piece of the hanger. When hanging the pants, pin through the tape and hanger and then pant.

 

  1. Prevent Shoes from Separating - Sell shoes in quart or gallon plastic bags. Use packing tape to close the bag and tighten to keep shoes together. These bags can be found at most dollar stores.

The Price is Right or Is it?

Monday, September 30, 2013

How well you price your items determines how much you will earn at a consignment sale.

When you're pricing your items, it is purely subjective.  However, you need to gauge how aggressively or conservatively to price your items.  First gain a clearer understanding of your objective. 

If your items don't sell will you be picking them up?

Yes.  I will search until every item has been collected.

     Aggressive - I want to earn as much money as possible.  If this sounds like you then you really need to price your items carefully.  If you overprice and don't discount they won't sell.

  • Yes.  I will only be picking up my high ticket items. 

     Moderate – I want to recoup some of my costs but I won't lose sleep over it.  I would suggest pricing the items in the upper middle of the price range and discounting your items.

  • No.  I am glad it is out of my house.

     Conservative – Earning some money and having the items out of my house are a win-win.  I would suggest pricing the items in the middle or lower end of the price range and discounting your items.

 

It is important to take the emotions out of pricing your items.  We all have that sentimental outfit that the baby wore home from the hospital or the one they wore on their first day of school but that does not mean we can price it $100. 

  • To price your clothing....New clothes with tags can easy be priced at 50% and more of the original retail price. Clothes that are not new but in great shape are usually priced 1/3 to 1/4 of the original price. The price should also take in account the brand, age and condition of the item.

  • Furniture and equipment prices can be calculated 1/2 to 1/3 of the original price.

  • Books typically sell priced at 1/3 of the original listed price. There are so many variables when it comes to books - Is it soft/hard cover, Is it educational, What is the condition?

  • Work with a buddy. This gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other (and the work becomes fun).
  • Group all your items before you start pricing. Price all the dresses at the same time, the sweaters at the same time, etc.
  • Lastly you should ask yourself "What would I pay for it?"

  • DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!  You will stress, feel unprepared and will rush through pricing and tagging your items.  Take the time to do it right and you will sell more.

Great resources for getting pricing information:

Craigslist

Ebay

Stain Removal Tips

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CLOTHING

  • Fresh stains are the easiest to treat, of course, but even the older more established spots can sometimes be removed. 
  • Laundry stains on washable fabric: Combine equal parts of water, liquid dishwashing detergent and ammonia in a small bowl.  Start with small proportions, as it does not keep for longer than a day or so.  Use an old toothbrush to rub the solution onto the stain, and launder as usual.
    • Loose dyes in the wash? There are new disposable sheets called “Color
      Catchers” by Shout that you simply put in your washer and launder with clothes as usual to keep your clothes looking crisp and free from those pinkish edges. This will work for all colors.  You can find this at most grocery or mass merchandise chains.
    • Hot water may work great for Kool-Aid and Jell-O type stains.  Rinse and soak as needed.
    • Tide Stain Sticks are handy and work well on fresh stains.
    • Clorox Bleach Pen: Is a good spot remover on white fabrics.
    • Goop applied liberally to stain and then allowed to sit works well.  Put it in your regular wash.  This is an inexpensive product to try on fabrics that have been washed with crayon.
    • Biz is great for soaking all kinds of stains loose.  Just soak in the sink then wash as directed in the washer.
    • Did you know that you could try Tilex? This product normally found in the bathroom will work on white clothes with mildew stains?  It is a bleaching product, so beware and use carefully.  On white clothes, just spray on the stain and let sit, simply rinsing if you see blue spots appear.  Using Tilex on colored clothes should really be a last resort as bleach spots are easy to cause.
    • OxyClean in warm/hot water works well (I sometimes microwave the water to get it extremely hot). Or make a paste with warm water and apply directly to the stain with a toothbrush. Allow this to sit for at least an hour. Rinse in warm water and reapply if necessary. Soak in a sink of warm water and dissolved Oxy Clean crystals for an hour or so before washing in warm water. This has gotten many stains out for me, but can take more than 1 application.

OTHER

  • Oops is a latex paint remover that has worked well to remove stains, marks and stickers from of plastic toys.  Test the toy if the plastic is thin, but most thicker plastic toys such as Little Tikes will do well.  This will also take crayon off of chalkboards without damaging the finish! Remember to wear rubber gloves! Find this product at Wal-Mart and most hardware stores.
  • Shoes and laces: You can make your shoes look better by using a spray solution on scuff marks. You should be able to find this solution at a local shoe store.   
  • Soak your white laces in Biz and your shoes will look 80% better!
  • Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser works wonders on plastic toys. Test an small area on the toy first before using all over.

Disclaimer:  Kidzsignments is in no way endorsing the use of any of the above products (name brands) or methods. These are tips used by myself and other individuals that have worked. Follow manufacturer instructions for use and check the care label of your garments. We are in no way liable for damage done to any piece of merchandise as a result of the use of tips on our website

Tips for Great Presentation

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Clothing

  • Press wrinkles, iron collars, cuffs and don’t forget about those appliqués & ribbons.
  • Zip, button and snap everything to present a neat appearance.
  • Put together matching outfits. The obvious thought here is to sell outfits the way you received them. You can also pair together clothing you purchased separately. If the colors/styles match, you may be more likely to sell the set because the buyer does not have to worry about finding something to match. It is fine to mix and match brands. Make that clear on the price tag if, for example your top is Gymboree and bottom Old Navy.
  • A good pricing strategy for smaller sizes (2T and under) is to price low. If you do not feel that one item will bring the minimum price of $2 then pair it with something else. For example, match two blanket sleepers together and price as one unit. Be sure to attach the hangers (via rubber band, pins or other clasp) and note on the price tag that the price is for both outfits.
  • Pair similar items together and create a package for the shopper. Here are some ideas:
    • Hang 2-3 blanket sleepers together and price as a set.
    • Bag 3-6 clean onesies or t-shirts and price as a package.
    • Attach matching accessories (even if they did not come with the outfit originally) like socks, tights, belts, hair bows etc. This will increase the value of the outfit and allow you to price a little higher.
    • Selling sets of pajamas is a great take on this packaging technique.
  • Use the price tag to note a higher end brand or special feature (glow in the dark, adjustable waistband, reversible etc.). Also, note size fluctuations, for example if the shirt is marked as a 4, but wears more like a 3 note that on the price tag. Remember you must use numerical sizes like 3T, 4, 5 etc. If you have an item and it is sized S, M or L adjust that to a number based on what size your child was when he/she was wearing that item.

Shoes

  • Shoes will need to be in new to next to new condition to sell. Shoppers are very picky when it comes to footwear. Only bring your best.
  • Shoes will need to be attached. You will do better if you us a safety pin or other type of clasp versus tying shoe laces together (no shoe boxes please, they make it too difficult to effectively display them).
  • Tie the laces neatly, buckle the buckles and clean out the Velcro to make the shoes look nice.
  • Smaller shoes may be placed in Ziploc style bags with the price tags taped to the bag. Larger shoes can be attached to one another and the price tag pinned around a buckle or through a lace.

 Toys

  • Clean, wash or wipe down every toy you bring. That alone, can make the difference between accepting and rejecting at check in.
  • The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a GREAT tool for cleaning plastic toys.
  • WD-40 will remove crayon marks with ease.
  • All toys that require batteries must have working ones loaded inside. A good bet is to buy the batteries at the dollar store. The one in Flemington (near Farmer’s Market) sells 4AA or 2C or 1D for $1 a package.
  • Check puzzles, games and anything with accessories to guarantee they are complete.
  • Package accessories into a clear plastic bag and TAPE the bag shut to prevent anyone (especially small children) from opening and scattering pieces. Mark the accessory bag with your consignor number in the event it is separated from the larger toys.
  • Mark you consignor on the body of all of your toys using masking tape. This will help us to identify the owner of tags that inevitably become separated.

Books/Videos

  • Books sell well when they are sold as sets. Consider putting 3-4 Dr. Suess or Little Bear books together in a bag and pricing accordingly.
  • Attaching the tag to the inside cover of the book will protect the front from damage from tape and allow the shopper to view the title.
  • All videos/dvds must be in packaging. If you have VHS tapes missing a case check out the discount stores for empty cases. Print a copy of the characters and attach to the front with the video’s name. You should adjust the price down to compensate for the missing packaging.

Infant Equipment/Furniture
 

  • Crib Safety information and requirements can be found at http://www.narts.org/safety/guide.htm 
  • Both equipment and furniture are very popular items and do well at consignment sales if they are well presented.
  • It goes without saying that they should be wiped down clean and free of any dirt or debris.
  • If you are selling an item that requires set up, BE SURE to set it up at home right before packaging for the sale. Make sure it functions correctly before bringing to us.
  • If it requires batteries, make sure it has some. A 3-speed swing with no batteries will never sell because the shopper has no way to know if it  works.
  • Including a mattress with your crib/toddler bed and pricing accordingly can be a great idea. It makes the purchase easy for the shopper since they don’t have to deal with shopping for one. Federal Law prohibits us from selling a stand alone mattress (i.e. mattresses may only be sold with a crib/cradle)
  • If your item is a higher end brand or has special features, note these on the card.
  • Did you pay $500 for the Bellini crib that you are letting go for $250? Let the shopper know that you paid $500 for that piece (note that on the price tag). Better yet, if you can find a brochure or picture from a website stating the price, attach it to the piece.
  • Attaching the original instruction booklet and/or warranty information is helpful but make sure that all paperwork is securely attached to the item.
  • Please do not leave an item in its box. Items left in the box will be less likely to sell because a person cannot see and touch it. The one exception to this rule is if something has never been opened, then it should be left in its original packaging.
  • If you want to provide an items original packaging, it MUST be attached to the item, otherwise it is likely the box will be discarded or used elsewhere.
  • You may be asked to assemble anything that requires set-up. Examples include, cribs, bassinets, port-a-cribs, changing tables, swings, slides etc. Leave the hardware loose so we can easily disassemble for the buyer.

 “Bag It”

  • If you are unsure what to do with a lot of your little things, consider putting together a bag. Here are some ideas
  • Bags of like items – fill a Ziploc with many of the same thing
    • Outlet plugs
    • Open packs of diapers (must be neatly placed in Ziploc bag)
    •  Rattles
    • Socks
    • Hats
    • Bottles
    • Receiving blankets
    • Little People Accessories
  • Themed bags
    • Safety items (a few outlet plugs, a few cabinet locks, etc)
    • Small games/puzzles/books
    • Action toys from a favorite character
    • Bath toys, wash clothes
    • Products (unused lotions, baby oil, powder etc)
    • Video collection from same artist/character
    • Learn to read books
    • Dress up clothing
    • Dance/Karate/Soccer wear
  • By Manufacturer
    • Sassy Infant Toys
    • Fisher Price Toys
    • Safety First items