Shopping and selling through consignment stores is a great way to make sure you have the designer look you’re after even on a tight money managing plan.  But successfully shopping a consignment store takes planning, care, and diligence because this system of buying and selling is really an ongoing exchange between the customer and the consignment store.  Before you buy or sell, here are some things to consider:

 

No Returns!

If you’re buying something from a consignment shop, make sure it’s the piece you want and that it fits (or can be altered inexpensively).  Consignment shops usually do not accept returns.  You might be able to resell it through the consignment shop, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get back what you paid.

 

There is Some Risk

Make sure you are shopping and selling through a well-established consignment store.  Just like any other business, consignment stores can fail.  If you are consigning your own stuff, know that there is a risk that you won’t be able to recover your money (or your merchandise) if the store closes.  This is especially true for online consignment, in which you send in your items and the site attempts to sell it on your behalf but doesn’t give you the money until the item has sold.  Vaunte.com, for example, was a popular consignment website that has left many without either their money or their stuff.

 

Sell Before You Buy

Many consignment stores will offer you more “money” if you take store credit instead of cashing out your consignment. So make it a habit of consigning often and funding your next purchase that way. Add that discount and you will walk out of the store with items that cost 10-20% of their original price.

 

Do Your Research

If you’re selling, look into how each store you’re considering prices their goods and when, how, and how much they pay the sellers of the item.  If you’re shopping through consignment, call around to find out when new merchandise is put out and if they offer discounts for customers who also sell items through the store.  A lot of consignment stores offer periodic sales; stay on top of those for the best possible deals.

 

Invest Wisely

We are generally not in favor of using the words “invest” when it comes to buying fashion. But this might be the one exception. If you’re hoping to indulge in a luxury brand, look for pieces that have lasting power and resale value.  This will ensure not only that you get the best deal but that you can resell the piece when you’re ready to upgrade or move on to something new.  For example, an analysis by BagHunter indicated that a Hermes bags like the Kelly and the Birkin appreciated at a rate higher than either gold or the stock market over the past thirty years.  This means that you will likely be able to make money buying and then later consigning a Hermes bag.

 

Find the Right Consignment Stores For You

Not all consignment stores sell the same brands. After you visit a consignment store for the first time you should be able to pick up on whether they have the designers you like. When it come to online consignment shopping, the choices can be a little complicated. But in general, for Luxury Goods these online consignment stores tend to provide the most extensive variety:  The Real Real, Fashionphile, and The Vestaire Collective. If you are looking for everyday wear  you will have better luck at ThredUp, SnobSwap, Swap.com, Rebagg, and PoshMark.

When buying or selling through consignment, take your time and research the best platform through which to conduct your business.  If you do, not only will you be able to snag some incredible deals, but you just might make some money along the way!

 

Image credit: Mirjana Jesic

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