Saturday, July 23, 2011

Show Me the Money!

So I had so much success recently with selling Mary Harper's clothing I had to pass along a few great tips in case others have some kid's clothes they'd like to sell.  First, I will admit I went a TEENY bit overboard on buying clothes for Mary Harper the second I found out it was a girl.  I am sure I am not the only first time mom to make this mistake!  :)  So not only did I buy too many, but I also bought her clothes for the season I thought she would be in based on how many months she would be during the summer, fall, etc...And she ended up always being about twice the size I had planned on!  So this summer when according to her age she should have been in 9 months, she was wearing 12-18 months.  So lots of cute 9 month summer outfits went unworn.  Another mistake I made early on was washing EVERYTHING.  I soon realized that there were many outfits she'd never wear and I should have left the tags on them for resell or even possible return.  I never knew how many outfits she'd wear only once...if at all - but those outfits became prime candidates for resell!

So I learned a few lessons learned the hard way!  For our new baby that is on the way, I am only washing items he'll wear no matter what the season/age/etc... (sleepers, gowns, etc)  And I will wash the other stuff once I know he's going to be able to wear it.  I'm also holding off buying as many outfits until he gets here and I have a better idea how big he's going to be!

So, here are some things I have been doing that I think have helped in making my reselling of Mary Harper's clothes a success:

1)  Buy quality clothing.

Of course I have drawers full of Circo from Target, Carter's, etc...that she sleeps in or plays in but for most any other outfits, I try to buy quality brands that wash well and resell well.  I try to explain to Josh I can buy a $15 outfit at Target and when she grows out of it, I may or may not be able to resell it and if I do, it would just be for a couple of dollars.  And generally if she has worn it and it has been washed, it's not an outfit I would even want to resell.  OR I can buy a higher quality brand and resell it for $25. It's just like cars...some brands have higher resell values so I try to stick to those.  Even if I paid $50 for the outfit, if I can resell it for $25, than the outfit only ended up costing me $25.  Which ends up being just $10 more than the Target brand that isn't as cute, doesn't wash as well and doesn't resell as well.  Yes, perhaps this is just my way of justifying paying more for cuter outfits but after my first sale, Josh hasn't argued about the amount of money I was able to make.  :)

By the way, I have similar justification methods for my own clothing and accessories.  One example, CPW.  This stands for Cost Per Wear.  So for instance, if I spend $100 on a pair of sunglasses, but wear them pretty much the entire summer, I divide $100 by the number of days I wear them.  So if I wear them in just June, July and August (90 days) they've only cost me $1.11 a day! :)  Us shoppers know how to get creative.  :)

2)  Keep track of how much you pay for items and how many times (approximately they have been worn...if ever).

I've even started saving the tags off of her outfits and receipts and have stored them in coupon organizers.  If you are really organized, you can even go back and include what age your child was when they wore the items.  Sometimes that helps people know how the items runs...larger than normal, true to size, etc...

Those pieces of information come in handy when it's time to resell the items.  Sometimes it doesn't matter because no matter how much you paid for an item, you won't be able to get most of that money back.  But I think it does help when you can state:  Kelly's Kids day gown, Size 0-3, worn once, $10  (Paid $35)

First, people like to know they are getting a good deal.  Second, they really like to get a good deal on something that is virtually brand new.

3) Get creative on how you sell your items!

I know lots of people sell items at consignment sales (insert shameless plug for my sister's sale here  And those are great - they give you a huge audience of potential buyers and some (like the Otter Creek sale) go for great charities!  But don't limit yourself to sales others are doing.

I made a lot of money recently by taking pictures and posting them on Facebook.  I actually had numerous people I didn't know want to add me as a friend just to shop so I'm thinking about starting my own Mary Harper's Closet page just so people who aren't friends can shop there too.

Best part about a Facebook sale is I didn't have to pay a registration fee or give someone else 25-30% of my profits!  Nor did I have to spend hours tagging, finding hangers or waiting in a drop off line!  If you still want to donate to a consignment's sale charity, take a portion of the money you made selling the items yourself and just write them a check!  But at least YOU decide how much of your profits you give away!

I would take a picture of the item (sometimes more than one picture to show certain details or the fronts and backs of the outfits) then would describe the item in the caption:  Castles and Crowns stocking bloomer, Size small, Never worn, $5 (Paid $15)...or something similar.

Then I had each person, write SOLD and their email address if they wanted me to invoice them via Paypal.  I also accepted checks but I was selling to friends so didn't have to worry about not getting the check in the mail!  Shipping for children's clothing wasn't too expensive either since most of the items are pretty small.  I shipped quite a few items and I think I only had to pay $20 total.  I bought plain brown envelopes from the dollar store and just shipped the items regular first class.  (Try not to use the flat rate boxes or the post office supplies because they can sometimes be more expensive).

Be mindful of how your pictures look.  Presentation matters!  Don't have any other items in the picture (TV in the background, a bowl cereal, a favorite pet, etc) that take away from the outfit.  Retake the picture if it is too dark or doesn't show the true colors well. If you have any cute pictures of your own child wearing the outfit, post that too!  What better model to sell your outfit!  :)

For other creative ways to sell your items, think about having a mini consignment sale at your own home.  Have friends who have children's clothes to sell come over and set up in different rooms of your house.  Then invite others over to shop each other's stash!  Have each consigner bring a potluck dish or bottle of wine and you can turn selling your children's clothing into a fun night!  And your husbands can stay at home and babysit! :)

So those are just a few pieces of advice I wanted to pass along in case others were thinking about ways to make money off your kid's closets!  And let me know if you have any other great ideas!

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