7 tips to winning at consignment

July 9th     Author: Joe Bell

If you have had the pleasure of consignment, you know that the experience can be both exciting and profitable.  Unlike the daylong garage sale slog, getting spammed on craigslist, or haggling over a couple of dollars on social media; consignment takes just a couple of minutes, produces a higher return, and you can track your earnings online as you await your consignor check.

Like any retail industry, there are tricks of the trade that give savvy participants a leg up.

Below are 7 crucial tips to winning at the consignment game


  1. Understand your consignor contract.

Not all consignment shops are created equal.  The larger the chain, the less likely you are to get a higher return.  Local companies tend to offer higher consignor percentages so they can compete with the mega-chains.  Local stores also offer perks such as higher percentages for store credit.  (At Milestones we offer an extra %10 for store credit)


  1. Don’t wait to consign

One of the crucial mistakes that consignors make is waiting too long to consign.  If you are consigning children’s items, and you take them in as soon as your child out grows them, you will get a higher return.  You don’t want to wait until they go off to college and then try to sell items that were super trendy….. in 1998.


  1. Think like a shopper

Everyone has certain hang-ups when it comes to shopping.  Some of these hang-ups are pretty universal.  Consider this when choosing how and what you want to consign.  A three pack of children’s onesies is very appealing.  If you happen to have the instruction manual for an item, even if it’s for an item where no one really reads the manual, it is more appealing.


  1. Tell people about consignment

In the past, consignment was treated like a state secret.  Fortunately, this isn’t the 80’s.  Thinking outside the Big Box is gloat worthy and super trendy.  Sharing consignment success stories is a great way to get tips from savvy pros and a way to get people into the same stores that are currently carrying your merchandise.


  1. Clean. Clean. Clean.

Consignment stores focus on either quantity or quality.  If a store focuses on quantity, you won’t as much in return and the expectation for cleanliness is not as high.  If the store focuses on quality, you will make more but they will be exceptionally picky.  At Milestones, we only take items that either brand new (have the original tags on them) or look like they are brand new because they are clean and in amazing shape.


  1. Talk to the intake employee

Consignment can be so easy that you drop off items, sign in, and then leave.  While this is convenient, to get the best results you should ask to talk to the intake employee.  The intake employee can give you advice about trendy items, how to prepare items, and what items are in demand (if the store has a lot of the same item, you may be better off waiting to bring that item in).


  1. Don’t consign if they won’t sell online (hey, that rhymes!)

There is nothing more frustrating than selling an item for $3 for which you paid $300 (*cough* college text books).  Good consignment stores will offer to sell your high-end items online as well as in-store.  Sure, you could do it yourself, scouring online groups, giving out your personal information, meeting people to swap at a gas station parking lot in a part of town you are unfamiliar with……. or you could ask the consignment shop folks who sell online professionally.  Just sayin’

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