These days more and more of my clients are looking to consign clothing rather than donate, to attempt to recoup some of their initial investment. I think consignment is a good idea, provided you do it fully informed before you commit. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make the consignment leap...
2. Do I want my clothing back if it doesn't sell? Many consignment shops will donate items that don't sell, but some request that you come get it. I'd rather come pick it up and donate it myself, frankly.
3. How will I feel if nothing sells or if I don't make much money? First, don't take it personally. Second, if you're counting on a big windfall from consigning your clothing, you're probably setting yourself up for disappointment. The money you spend on those clothes is gone, and donation offers you no financial benefit, so when consigning, it's best to accept that anything you do make is gravy and let it go at that.
Ok, if you're really in the mood to hang all your clothing and schlep it to a consignment shop, call a few first and ask the following questions:
1. Do I have to make an appointment to bring in clothing to consign? You want the answer to be YES. You should be able to get the shop owner's complete attention when leaving your clothing. Also, never drop and leave your items. They should agree to go through them one at a time with you.
2. Do you have a written agreement? Again, you want the answer to be YES. This will protect you as the owner of the clothing. If you leave clothing there without getting anything in writing, legally, you've made a DONATION. Go figure.
3. What items are you accepting right now? Typically, consignment shops aren't huge, so they don't have a lot of room to store out-of-season items. This means they'll want only items that are:
a) In current style and
b) For the current (or upcoming) season
c) Some will only take designer label clothing. Find this out up front.
4. How do you want to receive the clothing? Folded or on hangers? Is laundered ok or must it all be dry-cleaned?
5. What is your split? As the owner of the items, you'll usually receive between 40 and 50% of the price the items sell for. You want to know up front.
6. What happens to my clothing that doesn't sell? Ask if you can come pick it up so you can donate it yourself. Otherwise, if they say they will donate it for you, you have to decide if you trust them to do that. I'm not saying I've SEEN this, but remember that an unscrupulous shop owner COULD sell your clothing items without telling you and pocket all the money, then say "Oh sorry it didn't sell, so we donated it." Again, I've not seen this happen, but you have to wonder if it's something that *could* happen.
7. How often do you pay consignors? This way, you will know when to expect a check. It would be helpful to make a notation in your calendar to remind yourself to check with them if you don't receive a check.
8. How long have you been in business? You want a shop that has a reputation and will be around a while. Ask for references of other consignors to see if others who have sold their clothing there have been happy.
Bottom line is this... when cleaning out clothing, consignment is a valid way to recoup some of your financial investment. Just be sure it's worth your time and effort before you leap into it.