By Emily Kittle
If you're a parent, you know all too well how quickly kids' clothes and toys can take over your home.
Rather than let outgrown baby sleepers and unused toys waste valuable real estate, consider the perks of consigning: You free up more space for the things you still use and make some money on the side - all while being environmentally conscious.
Jennifer Hanniford, Dupaco's assistant vice president of interactive marketing, recently started consigning her kids' clothing.
"At first I was hesitant to consign, because I thought I could make more by hosting my own garage sale," she says. "But hosting a garage sale of your own requires a big investment of time, energy and space, none of which I have with three kids under 6."
Even with collecting only 40 percent of the item's final cost (the consignment store keeps the rest), Hanniford believes she makes as much money as she would at a garage sale.
Want to try consigning? Consider these tips from Hanniford and Roberta Cunningham, owner of the Dubuque consignment stores Little Folks Trading Post and The Hanger:
- Carefully compare the consigner agreements. Compare the percentages the seller takes home versus the store, whether you have the option to pull your merchandise and if there is a cost to doing so, if they host sales that would further cut into your potential profits, and when they mark your items down.
- Shop at the consignment store you're considering using to find out how it's run and what types of items they accept.
- Start small - maybe with one tote of items - to see what you think of the experience.
- Before consigning equipment like cribs, swings and strollers, find out whether it's been recalled. Consignment stores often will do their own homework and not accept recalled products.
- Consignment stores usually want newer, gently used clothing. The staff will inspect clothes for tears and spots. If you're not sure if your clothes pass the test, bring them in to find out.
- Consignment stores price items at about a third of their retail cost. But if you bring in a nice item that's in higher demand - newer name-brand clothes, for instance - talk to the store manager to find out whether it can be priced a little higher.