The Consignment Craze: How Consignment Shops Can Help. Save Money And The Environment At The Same Time
By Rebecca Wright And Jim Murphy
Parents know it’s important to always be looking for ways to save money.
Kids tend to grow out of clothes very quickly, and it can get pretty expensive constantly having to buy a new wardrobe with every growth spurt. And what do you do with the clothes they barely wore because they only fit for a short time?
Consignment shops are the latest trend. They’re all about saving money by selling “nearly new” clothes, and having a way to make money from the clothes you no longer have use for. And while you’re at it, there are consignment shops that accept and sell adult clothes as well. Why not share with your kids in the whole wardrobe change experience!
Of course shopping consignment is not only good for families, it even benefits single people as well. It’s a movement that’s both environmentally and economically feasible for all, and a craze that just continues to grow. (Just like your little ones do!)
Biz X checked out a sample of local consignment shops to see how it all works. Read on to learn more!
Once Upon A Child
New to the local consignment shop scene is Once Upon A Child, (part of a franchise with each store individually owned and operated) that buys and sells gently used kids clothing, toys, baby equipment, shoes and books.
The Windsor location opened very recently, on March 25, 2019, in the East Park Centre at 6711 Tecumseh Road East.
“Currently we are in a stocking-up period where we are just open to buy from our customers,” explains Melanie Prince, who is the Co-Owner along with her husband, Jerrod Smith.
She adds that a grand opening to start selling items will take place by the summer.
If you would like to bring in items, no appointment is necessary, but they require clothes to be freshly laundered and brought in some type of container, like a box, tote or laundry basket. She mentions that they’re accepting and will be selling clothing sizes ranging from preemie to youth sizes 18 to 20. And if you have toys and/or equipment, they ask that they be clean, in good working order and have all original pieces.
“Our pricing is based on brand, style, demand and condition,” Prince states.
Once a deal has been reached on the value of your items, cash is paid on the spot — something Prince says sets them apart from other consignment shops.
“There is no limit on the number of items that you can bring in,” Prince says. “We buy all brands and we buy all seasons, all day, every day!”
Over the years, the social stigma of buying “used” has dropped significantly as other costs have risen in the economy, she adds.
“If you have ever rented a place, slept in a hotel, swam in a swimming pool or simply ate in a restaurant, then you have already embraced the awesomeness of buying used,” Prince points out. “I think having an outlet for caregivers to earn cash, save money and be kind to the environment by recycling, is a great experience for all.”
Gumballs & Overalls
At Gumballs & Overalls, Owner Tracy deWaal says they accept and sell almost everything that is needed to raise your kids from birth to teen!
“Today’s parents are so much more in tune with recycling, reducing their carbon footprint and keeping things out of the landfills than ever before,” deWaal notes. “Consignment shopping is one of the best ways to accomplish this.”
At Gumballs & Overalls, an upconsignment boutique, they are selective on the items they accept from consignors, so deWaal mentions that you bring only gently used items in great condition, are currently in style and have all their parts and pieces.
“It’s also the season to bring in formal wear, backyard toys, bikes and baseball and soccer cleats,” she adds. “Items such as toys, baby gear, books, video games and dancewear are accepted all year.”
People earn 40 to 50 percent of the selling price of each item and this is paid out in cash whenever you want it, according to deWaal.
Gumballs & Overalls opened in 2004 and is located at 221 Sandwich Street in Amherstburg. Something many people may not realize is that they have a “tween” section for those kids who are beyond size 14.
“I feel like the stigma of being embarrassed to buy something used is long gone,” comments deWaal. “Consignment shops, thrift shops, buy and sell sites and Kijiji are all testaments to this. They’re everywhere and as popular as ever!”
Life is expensive, especially raising kids, she reminds us, so why pay two to three times more for something that is in perfect condition?
“I also feel like today’s parents and grandparents work hard for the money they earn, despite rising costs all around us,” asserts deWaal. “It only makes sense to stretch your dollars as far as you can.”
Bump, Baby & Beyond Maternity & Children’s Consignment Shop
Bump, Baby & Beyond Maternity & Children’s Consignment Shop Owner Erin Daly says the benefits of consignment shops are twofold — “You can get rid of your items quickly by dropping them off somewhere without having to deal with trying to sell online and having strange people coming to your home or not showing up at all. And you’re getting money back instead of just giving your items away that can be used to get the next sizes needed.”
At her shop, she sells and accepts anything from preemie to kids’ size 16 clothes, toys, baby gear, books, games, DVDs, maternity clothes and items, baby gear such as carriers, cloth diapers, strollers, high chairs, bouncy chairs, swings, seasonal wear and more.
Daly opened her business earlier this year in January 2019, and it’s located at 1775 Sprucewood Avenue, Unit B4, LaSalle.
Through her shop, the consignors receive their money after the items sell.
Daly says consignment is a great way to buy excellent quality, if not buying new, for a fraction of the price of new.
“I have several consignors who keep their money from their items on account so they can purchase newer items for their children as they grow,” she notes.
Daly thinks consignment shops are on the rise locally because there is a need for them.
“In our area, we seem to feel the highs and lows of employment stronger than some other areas, and people are starting to realize, there’s no reason not to consign,” she comments.
She posts items to Facebook and Instagram that are for sale, and customers can come in or call in to purchase.
“People seem to be realizing there are more benefits to consignment than downfalls,” Daly believes. “They’re also starting to understand that there really is money to be made by upcycling their items, as opposed to just tossing them or giving them away.”
Closet Cravings Upscale Consignment Boutique & Gift Shop
For high-end women’s fashions and trends, you might want to check out Closet Cravings Upscale Consignment Boutique & Gift Shop.
“We sell ladies’ clothing, purses, shoes and costume jewellery,” describes Owner Lisa Berbynuk.
While her business sells nearly new, gently used items on consignment, they receive many items that are brand new with the tags still on.
“We only accept items in mint condition and relevant to current fashion,” states Berbynuk. “We have limited space and fill our store with coveted luxury name brand items as well as regular mall brands.”
Photos of their merchandise are posted to their social media sites and customers have the option of either visiting their location at 11962 Tecumseh Road East in Tecumseh to make purchases, or they can call and use a credit card to purchase something they see online, over the phone.
Berbynuk opened her business in 2016. She explains that they take good quality items on consignment for a 90 day contract.
“If your item sells during that time the consigner receives a percentage of the sale price and the store receives a percentage,” she explains.
All items have to be freshly laundered and in fashion.
“Anything that can wrinkle must be pressed and on hangers, and we do not accept items in garbage bags,” she adds.
They allow no more than 40 clothing items per drop off and no less than five unless it’s one very high-end item. (Appointments are suggested when dropping off items.)
“Our shop gives everyone an opportunity to purchase high-end items at more affordable prices,” Berbynuk says.
Siblings Children’s Consignment Shop
When consigning, you’re supporting other local families by making them money without even knowing it, asserts Siblings Children’s Consignment Shop Owner Jessica Ryan.
She accepts freshly washed, in-season items, placed neatly in a box or basket, as well as toys with working batteries and all pieces, books and lots of different baby gear.
“If you would buy it in its clean condition, we will take it,” Ryan explains.
Once your items sell, you, the consigner, will receive 40 percent of the sale.
“We keep your items for 90 days, and after 90 days they can be requested to be returned or locally donated,” she adds.
Ryan mentions they post items on Facebook and Instagram to purchase and also hold things for up to three days in case you’re at work or you can’t make it due to the weather.
“Life happens,” Ryan comments. “I am a mother of four and I understand it’s hard to get out and how hard it may be to consign your items. That’s why I try and make it simple.”
Consigning and shopping second hand is fun, Ryan believes.
“You meet new people, you see babies often and you even watch them grow,” she describes. “I also see kids that are so excited to come see what new toys ‘Ms. Jess’ has at her shop so they can test them out.”
Ryan says she gets that warm fuzzy feeling by helping people who don’t have much, or by encouraging them to bring items in to make extra money to pay the bills.
“I treat each and every one of my customers like family,” Ryan expresses. “I am not just a business owner, I am a friend, a helping hand, experienced mother and I was a young mom too.”
Ryan loves what she does, though she admits sometimes it’s not easy.
“I lay awake and think, ‘I didn’t have a warm coat for that mom today, but I can help find her one,’” she says. “We have a request board and customers are encouraged to make a request for items we don’t have. Someone reads it and says, ‘I have one I don’t use anymore.’ We love to help each other. That’s one of the reasons I opened — I want to make a difference in the community.”
Siblings opened in 2017 and is located at 818 Ottawa Street in Windsor.