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Clothing consignment has been one of my favorite feel-good side hustles for a long time.
It’s one of those hustles that you can do casually or get very serious about. You can make enough money just to give you an excuse to go shopping, or you can get really involved and flip things for big profit.
You can have a few “extras,” or you can buy your whole family the clothes they need for the year with this side hustle. It can be fun yet practical! (Plus, since it’s essentially recycling, you can feel good about how you’re helping the earth!)
But have you ever tried to make money by consignment?
If you have, maybe you have realized that it’s not always as simple as just taking your clothes in and getting some money.
If the word “consignment” is new to you, it is basically having a third party sell something for you in exchange for a commission when it sells. You are the owner, the third party (or consignment store) is just doing the leg work of selling for you.
If consigning clothes is something you’ve tried before, you probably know that it can be a bit more complicated than just dropping your things off.
It can be frustrating if you take a bunch of clothes in for consignment, only to have most of it rejected or not sell!
I used to work at a children’s consignment store and there really is more to it than just taking in some used clothing.
But if you can manage to get your things accepted, consigning clothing can be a great way to buy new clothes or make a little extra spending money on the side.
While some things are obvious (like don’t bring stained clothes!), many consignment stores have very strict written and unwritten rules.
Here are my clothing consignment tips for more successful side hustle:
Read the fine print.
Most consignment stores ask you to sign a contract before you can start selling with them. Consignment stores vary in what percentage they will give you, time frames for selling, drop off hours, etc. I cannot tell you how many times consignors are “surprised” when their unsold items were donated to charity after the designated selling time had passed. Small details can get you turned away when you go to drop off, too. Pay attention to the store’s policies so that you aren’t disappointed.
Know the drop-off requirements.
Each store is a little different, and it matters! At the consignment store I worked at, we asked for things to come folded instead of on hangers. They liked to have uniform hangers for presentation purposes. When consignors would bring things on hangers, we either had to ask them to take them all off, or had to take them off on our own. This created a huge time crunch when there were other people doing drop-offs. Some consignment stores are the opposite and won’t take things unless they are on hangers. Be prepared!
No smell is better than good smells.
You’d think that consignment stores would appreciate clean, good smelling clothes. Well, the clean part is certainly a must, but if your clothes smell too strongly of anything, they could be rejected. This is because if every piece of clothing comes in smelling different (and strong), pretty soon the whole store smells like every person’s different detergent and it can start to smell bad. It is better to use a mild smelling or unscented detergent.
Pay attention to the store’s style.
Take a look around and get a feeling for the brands and decor in the store. Some stores have unwritten rules about quality and brands, and if you have an idea for what they are looking for by what’s on their racks, it can help you be more successful in your own selling.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
I have found that my children’s clothing gets accepted at a higher rate when I sell them at a family consignment store instead of a children-specific store. This is because there is a lot more competition at the children’s consignment store and a higher demand for children’s items at the other store. Also, some stores have drop-off and payment thresholds. If you have more than one consignment store in your area, experiment with several to see what works better for you.
Keep a consignment box going.
To make the most of your trips to the consignment store, designate an old box or laundry basket for the sole purpose of consigning. This way you can put things in it as you are cleaning or doing laundry over time, instead of scrambling to find things to consign when you need money. You can stay ahead and it will help you declutter more efficiently if that’s one of your goals.
Pay attention to when the store you are consigning clothes with changes seasons.
In my experience, the sooner you get your things to the consignment store when they switch seasons (i.e. now taking SUMMER items, which usually happens in the SPRING), the better chance your items have of being accepted. This is because other consignors will all flock in to drop their things off when the seasons change (especially if they were keeping aconsignment box!) and the stores can be more choosy when so many items are coming in. Be one of the first to show up when a change happens (when the need for new items is highest) and you will also have a better chance of your things being seen by shoppers looking for seasonal items.
Don’t consign too close to the end of a season.
If you do this, your items will be less likely to be put out on the racks in time for shoppers to buy. (For example, shoppers stop looking to buy summer items and start to think about back to school while it’s still summer.) It takes anywhere from three days to two weeks for your items to hit the racks if you’re using a busy consignment store. Also, depending on your store’s policy, items may be put on clearance even if they are “new” to the store if there is a change in seasons.
That’s it! Hopefully this will help you learn to make the most out of it when you’re doing consignment. Good luck!
Want more ideas on how to make money from home? Check out how I’m using Inbox Dollars to make money from home.
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