Shopping consignment for discount clothing is always fun if you're a deal seeker, but what if you wanted to do your own consignment sale? For the entrepreneur that likes deals and would like to make some money, one business is offering the education you need.
Jenifer is the owner of Consignamania, a business that teaches potential consignment-preneurs how to start their own kids used clothing sale. She offers classes in-person for people in the Nashville, TN area. If you're not local or would rather read about it, she also offers a how-to manual called Consignamaniaâ„¢- The How To Guide To Starting Your Own Seasonal Consignment Sale.
I recently spoke with Jenifer about her business, the lessons she teaches, as well as the lessons she has learned in the process.
Tell us a little about Consignamaniaâ„¢.
Consignamaniaâ„¢ is a complete business plan and step by step guide that was written because many new sale organizers didn’t have someone who was willing to mentor them and teach them how to host a successful seasonal consignment sale. We took 8 years of experience and condensed it into 196 pages of information that is needed to host a consignment sale. I was fortunate to have successful sale organizers mentor me, but most people don’t have that and as a result, they don’t have complete information and are unable to make informed decisions about hosting a sale. No one likes learning lessons the hard way, and Consignamaniaâ„¢ helps give the guidance needed to avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes, and more importantly, teaches new sale organizers how to succeed.
What inspired it?
I run a very successful consignment sale in Nashville, TN and I have a reputation for helping other women get started with their own seasonal sales. As a result of being willing to help new sale organizers, I was receiving more requests than I could handle. Team leaders for my sale encouraged me to write Consignamaniaâ„¢, so that I could continue to focus on my family and still be able to help other women start and succeed with their own sale.
How many boot camps do you offer per month/year?
I offer 3 boot camps per year and they coincide with the sales with which I am involved. Boot campers travel to my location and have a 7 day consignment sale experience that gives them hands-on training and providing them a better overall view of how a consignment sale unfolds during a week. Many new sale organizers have volunteered for a shift or two, but it’s a much different experience when you are the one in charge. Boot camps are limited to 2 people per sale so that I can focus on giving each individual a quality program and time with me to discuss specific questions that they may have on their mind about starting their own sale.
Where are they located and how much does it cost to attend?
Boot camps are located in Nashville, TN, at the location where I organize my sale and I charge $299.99 per person. Our comprehensive manual: Consignamaniaâ„¢- The How To Guide To Starting Your Own Seasonal Consignment Sale is currently available at our website http://www.consignamania.com for $179.99.
Can you share with us a sample of the information that you'd give someone if they were attending one of these camps?
Boot camps go hand in hand with our Consignamaniaâ„¢ sale manual. The sale manual presents you with all of the knowledge you will need to know in order to host a successful consignment sale. Boot camps offer a prospective sale organizer the opportunity to experience the physical and mental endurance that is required to host a sale. Each boot camper receives hands-on training which includes all of the nuances of running a consignment sale — dealing with customers, handling problems, dealing with equipment and location issues, and experiencing the tasks and responsibilities of all of the volunteer positions.
Why should someone consider having a consignment sale? What are the benefits?
Seasonal consignment sales are low overhead, seasonal events that are unique in the fact that they provide a win-win-win situation for everyone involved in the process: Consignors (sellers) make money on the gently used merchandise their families have outgrown. Buyers save money by getting steep discounts on name-brand merchandise. The sale organizer receives a portion of the selling price of every item sold. And non-profits receive donations of gently used merchandise that can be passed on to benefit their clientele.
As a sale organizer, there are many reasons to host a sale. For me, I was looking for something that I could do part time, bring in extra income and still stay at home with my children. I was also searching for a way to serve my community.
With the state of the current economy, I have seen an increase in the growth of my consignment sale — now more than ever families need to tighten their belts and come up with creative ways to stay within their budgets.
What separates you from the competition?
I offer more back to my community. Volunteers receive higher percentages when they help with the sale. I also turn over all of the proceeds to a local non-profit from my November sale. Being able to give back is something that is important to me, and I believe that it reflects in my business.
What are some lessons that your business has taught you?
My business has taught me the absolute importance of time management. Having a home-based business requires me to be deliberate with every moment I spend working on my business — making the most out of every telephone call and online session (email responses; website updates; Craigslist listings; and Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace entries). It takes a true, concerted effort not get side-tracked.
Is there anything you'd like to add that you feel I have missed?
Never think that you can do it alone… One of the things that I value most about my sale is that I have a core team of 8 people who assist me. Each one has strengths in areas where I have weakness. They afford me the ability to oversee the process, rather than being in the trenches each day, and they manage the 90+ other volunteers that help my sale run smoothly. After being together all this time, we have figured out where each person fits into the puzzle that makes my business successful. Some do marketing, some are responsible for tallying the tags, others are great organizers — but each one allows me to handle the overall management of the sale without becoming bogged down in the minutia. And, they are all volunteers.
Do you have any advice that you'd like to offer fellow entrepreneurs that are just getting started?
The best advice I can offer new entrepreneurs is that you should be passionate about what you do. I wake up every day and can’t wait to discover new and better ways to make my businesses more successful. I love what I do, and I don’t feel like any of it is “work”. I look forward to each and every one of my sales because it’s like a week long “girls night out”.