Looking to open a consignment shop? Heed these tips from successful Consignment Shop owners.
Starting a business of any kind can be challenging, but how about a second-hand business? Is the economy a factor? How do you know what to accept as consignment and what isn’t worth it? How well do you know your consumer audience? We interviewed several veteran Consignment Shop owners from around the country and asked how they would advise those who wish to start a Consignment business, here is what they had to say:
Tracy True Dismukes owner of Collage Designer Consignment in Birmingham, AL, says, “Realize it is a business and landlords, insurance companies, utility companies and employees expect to be paid, and if you are a pushover, you need to brush up on your business skills and backbone before signing that lease.” Tracy has been in the consignment industry for over 20 years and is also founder of Consignment Chic, an online community and marketplace for those that love consignment shopping and says, “I’ve seen shop owners go out of business in a very short time who can’t say no to advertising sales people, their employees and to consignors who bring in substandard merchandise, you have to know whom you are selling to.”
Tracy says you need to know your audience, “You may have dreams of creating a beautiful designer boutique but find the reality may be that the people who shop in your store don’t care about labels and just want a great deal on functional work clothes, or there is a glut of discounters and thrift stores in your area and it just won’t support a similar business.” Lastly, it’s important to do your due diligence, says Tracy, “Don’t sign a lease until you have interviewed other shops in that center or area to find out who the customers are, what kind of traffic the stores are getting and what those customers want. It’s all about location.”
“Being open minded, honest and real are essential to running a successful Consignment Store,” says Jeanne Bingaman, owner of Nearly New Consignments Boutique in New Jersey. “Being able to adapt will gain you more acceptance in the business world.” Jeanne also suggests, “Involving yourself in your community will build your reputation as a community asset,” and above all, “enjoy your consignors, enjoy your customers and have fun with your store!”
Shannon Wilburn, Co-Founder and CEO of Just Between Friends (a leading Children’s & Maternity Consignment Sales Event Franchise) suggests to build a network and says “In the consignment industry, it is easy to sit back and let the average items come to you; however, some of the very best items may come from families who do not need to consign and therefore are not interested in your business. Try to find ways to develop relationships with those that have higher end products so that your consignment business gains a great customer base that, in turn, become your raving fans.” She also suggests, “Make a conscious decision to garner the very best merchandise.”
Have you started a Consignment business in the past 24 months? How is business going? Feel free to comment below, we’d love to hear from you.