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How to consign: Tips for buying and selling secondhand with Lollipop Lane Market

Children aren’t cheap–that’s no secret. Southern children–now that’s another story. Smocked dresses and Jon Jons come at a higher price tag than their graphic-tee, cartoon-covered counterparts. However, who can resist the urge to indulge in more affordable options when they will likely soon be useless due to growth spurts? Enter consignment markets.

“Baton Rouge has very few places that sell high-end children’s clothing,” says Lollipop Lane Market owner Amanda Spain in this inRegister feature. “With Lollipop Lane, parents have the opportunity a few times a year to clean out their closets and make a little money. For shoppers, it’s a chance to buy beautiful items at a fraction of the price they would spend buying new.”

In other words, the sales are a win-win. You can Marie Kondo your home, make money and also pass on quality items to other kids in the community. To prepare you for the start of your consignment career–and for Lollipop Lane’s spring sale, going on now through this Saturday, March 23, at Perkins Rowe–we sat down with Spain to learn a few of her go-to tips, as well as common misconceptions, when it comes to buying and selling secondhand.

1. What do you look for in consignment items?

We look for items that are in very good condition, and we take sizes from preemie to 14. Clothing should not be stained, torn, faded or have missing buttons or straps. We run the sale seasonally, so for the spring sale, clothing should be appropriate for spring and summer, meaning no heavy coats or holiday items.

We accept anything child-related–clothes, toys, books, equipment like strollers and play mats, and other gear like diaper bags and kids’ luggage. We do have a couple of exceptions, through. We don’t accept car seats, undergarments or items that have been recalled.
2. What are your go-to tips for cleaning kids’ clothes so they maintain their quality and value? What other preparations do you suggest people make prior to bringing in items?

I have three kids, so I never have the time or energy to wash baby clothes separately or in special detergent. Instead, everything just goes in the same load and I pray that everything comes out clean. I try to treat stains before I wash them, and check again before I put things in the dryer. I am a huge fan of soaking things in Biz or OxiClean or of putting a paste of Biz and water directly on the stain for a while. I just fill up the sink and put clothes with stubborn stains in a soak for a day or two. Even if the stain is set in or old, this usually works. And if it doesn’t, I give it to my mom and ask her to work on it.

To be a successful seller, everything should look clean and neat. Clothes should be ironed, buttons buttoned, ribbons tied, and, if an item has multiple pieces, both pieces should be easily visible. For example, for a shirt-shorts set, pin the shorts on the bottom of the shirt or on the back side of the hanger so shoppers don’t have to dig underneath the shirt to find the bottoms. Books can be grouped as a set and tied with a ribbon, and small toys should be in a Ziploc with all of their pieces together. The bottom line is that people want to shop for things that look new, so successful sellers spend some time making their items look fresh.

3. What are the best items to buy consignment?

Everything! There are such great deals on kids’ stuff. When you think about how quickly kids outgrow the things we spend hundreds of dollars on, buying at consignment shops and sales just makes sense. It’s also becoming increasingly hard to find high-quality children’s clothing, so I think our sale gives shoppers a way to buy classic brands they know will last.

4. Do you have any major consignment finds that stand out in your memory?
I got a BOB jogging stroller for $125.

5. What are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding consignment?

Definitely how to price items for sale. I put a video up on our Facebook page about pricing girls’ clothing, and I will do a separate one on boys’ clothes and gear soon. Potential sellers should check it out!

6. How can buying and selling consignment benefit parents and kids?

First, families make money consigning. Our sellers averaged over $200 at our fall sale, and several sellers regularly make over $600 at each sale. For many sellers, knowing that they can recoup a bit of the cost of raising kids is highly motivating.

Second, many people are trying to clean out, declutter and simplify their spaces. But giving things away or throwing them out when they still have value doesn’t make sense. Consigning offers a way to move things out and not simply toss everything.

Third, we are increasingly becoming a one-wear, disposable economy. Finding high-quality things is getting harder. If I know that I can buy a quality item that has been barely used for a third of its original price, or buy something brand new that will probably fall apart the first time I wash it, I’m going to opt for the first option. Even more so, when it comes to equipment, books and toys, there’s just no reason to pay full price for most the things our kids “need.”

For children, I think watching their parents clean out and consign their things is a great life lesson. My kids have a box in their closets for things they don’t wear or want anymore. They know that I empty the box every season and put those things in our next sale. For them, shopping at the sale is just like going to any other store. They always find things they want.

To learn more about Lollipop Lane Market, check out this article from the inRegister archives. And, stop by the Spring Sale going on now, March 21, through Saturday, March 23, at Perkins Rowe.