Resale franchises, like Clothes Mentor, Plato’s Closet and Once Upon a Child, pay cash for used clothes, toys and accessories. Here’s what you need to know before you go.
It’s not consignment. Consignment stores are wonderful, but they have a different business model that lets them take used stuff at a lower risk. If they’re able to sell what you bring in, great – they get the sale and you both split the profits. If they have to lower the price to get it out the door, they still get some money and you get your smaller slice, too. If it doesn’t sell at all, you get your clothes back and the seller hasn’t lost any investment other than time.
But when a reseller buys your stuff for cash up front, they are the only ones to take the loss if the merchandise doesn’t sell. It’s one reason they’re so picky about what they’ll buy from you.
The pricing structure. Each has its own system, but resellers generally resell clothing at 70 percent off its original retail price. They pay you 30 percent of what they’re selling it for.
To put it another way, you get paid about 9 percent of the original retail price. So if you bring in an item that sold for $50 retail, the reseller will give you $4.50 and put it out on the rack with a price tag of $15.
Don’t bother trying to haggle. Prices are determined by a software program.
Condition is king. Clothing has to be absolutely immaculate. Shoes should look like they’ve never been worn.
Style is not subjective. Resellers are only interested in styles that have been in stores within the past two years. Clothes are now manufactured with little tags sewn into them indicating what season and year they’re from, so it’s easy to tell what’s on trend.
Call first. Resellers want your first experience to be a positive one and don’t want you to schlep down only to be disappointed. Give them a chance to get you up to speed and answer questions.
Don’t bring in five garbage bags of stuff. The first time you go, bring your 10 best items.
Make sure it’s “floor ready.” The reseller should be able to take items out of your hands and put them directly onto the sales floor. Clothing should be freshly laundered and pressed, and toys and other items should be completely clean. If something is dirty or has even the tiniest whiff of a bad odor, you’re not going to make the sale.
Bring a basket. Resellers prefer you bring your wares in a laundry basket. It’s the easiest way to sort through things, and to move all of your items from one part of the store to another. Don’t worry, you’ll get it back.
No wire hangers! Or any kind of hangers. Resellers pick up each piece of clothing individually and inspect it. Hangers are just annoying and get in the way.
Mind the hours. The process takes about 30 minutes. Most stores stop buying clothes up to an hour before they close.
Don’t get offended. Resellers don’t like rejecting clothing any more than you like having your clothing rejected. It’s not personal.
Boys’ and men’s clothing is in high demand. “Guys wear their clothes until they fall off,” one owner told me. “It’s impossible to find boys’ clothing size five to eight without the knees blown out,” said another. If you’ve got it, bring it in. You’ll probably find resellers eager to buy what you have.
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