Consignment for Beginners
My name is Andi Peek and I manage a consignment shop in Urbandale, IA. Are you new to the consignment world? I’m here to give you a small look into the second-hand world of consignment and how it can benefit our local businesses, residents and environment and be a fun shopping experience all-in-one!
What is consignment?
Consignment is an agreement to sell your merchandise in our store, while you still maintain ownership of them. “Consignment” simply means “we sell it on your behalf”. Our consignors receive 50% of the selling price. Decor on Douglas only accepts the best quality furniture with styles that appeal to a variety of customers.
Types of Consignment Shops
There is a large variety of consignment shops that sell a wide range of products. There are shops for children (clothing, toys, etc.), clothing consignment shops, furniture and home decor shops, and shops specifically for women, even bridal/wedding consignment shops! It’s an amazing industry that helps not only the customer but the consignor AND the store all at once. Consignment is a little bit of everything. Our store specifically takes items (primarily furniture and decor) by appointment and splits the selling price 50% with the consignor once the item sells.
I want to start with a little bit of my second-hand resale background, I worked in the antique community for quite a while and even worked in a couple of thrift stores which then in-turn caused me to patron a number of second-hand shops because I loved the wide variety of inventory that all of them had to offer. At the time, I thought I was pretty familiar with the second-hand market once I started a job in the consignment industry.
When I started working at my consignment shop, I was utterly surprised at how many different second-hand outlets there were. There are antique shops where it’s a shop with primarily antique furniture and decor. Then there are vendor-based shops where the shop rents space for a certain amount of money per month and they get to sell whatever items they want in their space (permitting it goes along with the store policies). There are thrift stores and non-profit shops that are primarily donation-based. Then, along with the second-hand market, there are estate sales and tag sales, where you can get great deals that have an exclusive customer following. With some of the sales I’ve attended, people show up hours beforehand and get numbers to be the first ones inside because of the high-demand to get to the items first.
Fighting the Second-Hand Stigma
There are so many second-hand outlets with quality merchandise that the industry went much farther than I realized when I started working at all the different types of shops. It has shown me that there are a ton of advantages of following and purchasing from the second-hand market.
One major stigma the second-hand market faces are words like dirty, old, outdated, and sometimes even trash. If you have ever thought any of those words when it comes to the second-hand market, you aren’t alone. I’m not here to lecture you, but hope to educate you on why you should not be afraid of second-hand items. You can find some amazing and unique items that you won’t find in a big box store. Buying things from second-hand stores and markets will lower the chances of anyone else owning that same piece. You can even sometimes find brand new items at the fraction of a cost if you were to buy it elsewhere! I’m sure no one is against having bragging rights for that conversation piece that no one will be able to find anywhere else!
Our store motto is that we are “redefining furniture consignment” and we are true to our name. We have a large mixture of high quality new and preowned items. We get compliments all the time and one comment we receive a lot is, “I did not know that this shop was consignment!” While it is flattering to receive a compliment, I want to reiterate that there is absolutely nothing wrong with shopping consignment or any second-hand shops for that matter! Most consignment shops do everything they can to ensure you get high quality items that you will be happy with, no matter what kind of consignment shop they are. You can have a great time walking around our store and with inventory changing weekly, there’s always something new to look at that you will not find anywhere else! We are here to find you that special piece you’re looking for and our goal is for you to have fun and hopefully fall in love with an item when you shop at our store!
Economic and Environmental Benefits
One of the main points I like to make when fighting a second-hand stigma is that no matter how you spin it, buying second-hand is better for the environment than buying brand new. One could say consignment is a fancy word on recycling your furniture and home decor. I have to ask to the people that may be against buying anything second-hand, what’s wrong with re-using and recycling? We often recycle glass, plastic, paper and metal, but we can’t recycle furniture and home decor? When you go out to eat, do you expect them to unpack brand new plates and cutlery so you can eat? When you rent strollers to use at the mall or the zoo, do they all have to be brand new? I just ask that you consider the environmental impact throughout the supply chain of all the materials and the negative effects that buying brand new furniture has on the environment before you turn your nose up at considering preowned items.
I went to a major consignment convention this last year that opened my eyes to the variety of consignment shops that existed. After meeting with a wide variety of consignment shop owners from all over the United States, I have been shown that our industry is a great environment to help build up our local communities, customers, and businesses. We constantly strive to do our best for our customers and consignors. We work in an amazing industry because we get to help people by not only helping consignors make some money, but to also save money for both customers and consignors.
We’re constantly striving to innovate and be the best business we can be. We will continuously do whatever it takes to show that our store has been a great addition to our local community! While we are considered a new business, we have already received a lot of positive feedback that has shown us that we are going in the right direction and can’t wait to see what becomes of our journey.
To reiterate, the second-hand market reaches farther than most people realize, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing pre-owned items. When you shop second-hand or consign your items to a shop like ours, not only are you supporting a small business, which is helping local families and customers, instead of a CEO of a big corporation, but you are also helping save the environment! So, let’s start helping the environment with some guilt-free shopping today and start reducing your carbon footprint!
Decor on Douglas