Tips & Tricks For Luxury Consignment Buyers and Sellers
Whether you’re an avid consignment store shopper or consignor, or know absolutely nothing about the business, everyone has a question or two about resale shops.
Here Randi Wood, the owner of Entre Nous, answers your most frequently asked questions.
Q: How do I get the best price for my clothes? I always feel like I’m being taken advantage and never get what I think my items are worth.
A: I understand it can be disappointing when you feel your item is worth more than the second hand price. Here are a few things I can say on the subject that I hope will help you through the process:
Do not sell to a consignment store for cash! If you want the best price possible, place your items on consignment rather than selling them outright. The main difference is you still own your item when it is on consignment, the store is just selling it for you. Consignment stores are trying to minimize risk as much as possible, so they will offer you a lot less to buy the item up front than the item could possibly sell for on commission. When we pay cash up front for a piece, we are taking the risk on that it might not sell at all! My advice if you want the highest price possible, is to take it into a brick and mortar consignment store where you can have a conversation with the buyer about how much money you want to make. Understand that if it is priced highly it may not sell quickly, but it will sell at the price you want if you are willing to wait it out.
The market dictates the price. The store isn’t trying to “rip you off” when they price an item lower that you anticipated. Consignment store buyers are highly trained in fashion trends, luxury labels, and price points and they do tons of research before they offer a price for your piece. As the luxury consignment space very competitive right now, we have to price competitively. No matter how amazing your item is, no one is going to buy it if they do a quick Google search and see the exact same piece being sold elsewhere at a lower price, and neither party benefits when your items just sit in the store? I used to work in real estate before I opened Entre Nous, so I always compare it to selling a house… if a home owner demands a real estate agent prices their house at a price the agent feels is too high, the house will just sit on the market and no one gets what they want. Honestly, the real value of your house or item in both of these situations is how much someone will pay for it, not what you think it should be priced at.
Q: How do I know if a bag is authentic?
A: Every designer has particular markers of craftsmanship that are easy to identify if you look close enough. Google is your best friend as these markers are easy to find on the internet! It is always a good idea to look up pictures of the bag from the designer’s website and compare that one to the one in front of you. Pay attention to stitching, zippers, and the font and spacing of the logo. These things are hard to imitate exactly and often can tip you off if the bag is fake. While there is really no single rule of thumb for authentication, one thing you should do is make sure nothing on the bag is plastic i.e. zippers, toggles, tags etc. There should always be a serial number inside the bag as well. Fakes are getting so realistic now that a lot of the time they will have a serial number as well, so you do have to be wary. There are lots of online forums dedicated to pointing out red flags of imitation bags of nearly every designer and style. As a last resort, there are a few really good online companies that will authenticate bags from photos for $10-$30. We will use them if I am skeptical about a bag or it is vintage.
Q: What is the single most important alteration?
A: Definitely the most important thing you can do / have is the authenticity cards and dust bags for your purses. This always adds value as it adds assurance that the bag is authentic and creates a great “package” for a buyer.
A good cleaning can do wonders for purses and shoes. It takes off any “dirty” or worn marks on shoes which can happen after only one wear, and also something as simple as a pen mark can skew someone’s perception of the value of a purse.
If you don’t want to deal with either, any full-service consignment store should do this for their clients and then bill them accordingly.
In conclusion, consignment shopping is the best way to find interesting and new pieces at a huge discount. There is nothing to be intimidated by in the process, as it is easy to navigate once you know a few things about the industry! Finding a store that has a selection that speaks to you and that you believe has sound policies and procedures is the toughest part, which is one of the reasons I wanted to write this article. I’m dedicated to being open and transparent with my customers and consignors. Thanks for reading: hopefully now you are well on your way to have an amazingly curated wardrobe of consignment store finds!