I'm a big fan of scoring deals at used clothing stores, especially for my kids. It doesn't seem smart to spend a lot on things that they won't wear much, such as heavy jackets and rain boots.
I love to go into the children's resale shops with a pile of my children's outgrown clothes and earn credit towards the stack of hoodies I plan to buy. (It turns out we lose one sweatshirt per month during the school year.) But they usually take only a fraction of the items I bring.
I do it enough that I know the drill, but I've seen a lot of frustrated customers, so I asked Anne Marie Elliott, owner of Grove Street Kids on Upper Shattuck, just north of the Gourmet Ghetto, to share some tips to help customers have the best experience reselling at a children's store.
Here's what she said:
- Plan ahead. Call or check the website, if there is one, before making a visit. Most resale and/or consignment shops have limited buying hours. It's also good to make sure the buyer is there. We too, get sick, have vacations, or have other reasons not to be in the store even during said buying hours.
- Put your best foot forward. If you want the best price for your items, bring them in freshly cleaned and folded in a box or paper bag. Our purchase price for sellers is based on the condition in which the items are presented. Some shops won't look at items that are brought in in plastic bags. In addition, it's better to sell seasonally; as a buyer, I'm going to offer less for a snowsuit in June, if I take it all, than I would in November.
- Edit yourself. It's better to bring in one or two bags, rather than eight. If you bring in your child's wardrobe from the last five years it will be volume priced at best. It's better to bring in a bag or two every so often.
- Understand the business. Don't take the rejection of items personally. Items purchased for resale are purely business decisions and primarily based on two factors: supply and demand. In addition, what an item sells for is not relative to what it's original retail purchase price was. 1/3 of it's retail value is our *guideline* for selling prices… and also not based on what it can be gotten for “on sale.”
Remember that buying decisions are based on multiple factors, not just whether it's brand name or barely worn. Factors I consider are need, style, condition, my own operating budget, whether someone already brought in 8 bags that day, and so on…
Thanks to Anne Marie for these tips. Where do you buy kids clothes in the East Bay?