I received an email recently from a consignor who asked me to blog about selecting a location with adequate lighting. She said recently attended a sale. The location was nice, but when she got home, she saw that almost everything she bought was stained, but you couldn't tell at the sale because the lighting wasn't ample. To say she was extremely frustrated is an understatement.
Every sale organizer knows that the most challenging aspect of hosting a sale is finding a location. But finding and keeping your location are two separate things. When it comes to your location, it's always good to have a back-up plan.
Too many times we sale organizers spend countless hours finding a location, and when we find one, we are thankful that task is over so we can move onto the next item on our "to do" list. But... locations have been known to back out or change the terms of your understanding.
It's always a good idea to have a back-up plan. As you are driving through town, keep a list of potential sites and contact information within your consignment sale notes. The last thing you need 6 weeks before a sale is to find out that the plans have changed when you are ready to head out and sign your contract.
Be proactive on searching for locations even when you think you've found a place that will host a consignment sale.
Many sales have a pre-determined thought process about what they need in a potential location. There are lots of things that you need, and there are things that you want. Don't confuse the two.
For some reason, I get more emails from new sale organizers about choosing between two locations. This one is okay, but this one is perfect... except it doesn't have a kitchen! So I think I will go with the other location. I don't know where the kitchen obsession comes from... a kitchen never made my top list of things I was interested in in a location, because I can make a "kitchen", I can't fix poor lighting, no heat and air, etc.
Because this seems to be such a popular topic of discussion, lets look at how you can overcome a "no kitchen" situation.
Set up an 8 foot table, out of the way of shoppers of course, and include baskets of snacks and treats. You may want to include a small microwave and coffee machine (if you have it near where you can monitor it for safety and non public usage). Include any paper products you may need. Slide several coolers under the table and have drinks on ice.
That's it! You don't need to have a full kitchen in order to have snacks and drinks available for your volunteers. You can also set up a table and chairs in the corner for meals that are brought in and for volunteers to take breaks.
The most important thing is to keep it simple and keep the important things high on your location wish list and get creative for the things that aren't so important, but nice to have. When you start a consignment sale, you will find that you are going to have to get creative in order to make everything work. No location is going to have everything you want, so figure out how to make what you have available, work for you.
Recently somebody asked me if it was a good idea to talk to a location about adding another sale. There is already one sale in that location and they thought it would be a good idea to approach the location owner about having another sale there. Is this a good idea? Not really. Here's why...
If there is a sale in a location, yes, I can see why a new or younger sale would want to piggy back on the success of the existing sale in that location. However, by muscling in on another sale's turf, you are actually hurting both sales.
- If there are sales there on a more frequent basis, you will in fact decrease the "frenzy factor" that a seasonal (or occasional) consignment sale creates.
- If there is more than one sale in a location, there is an increased chance that if someone has a bad experience at one, they will assume, it's yours. XYZ Sale may get a bad reputation for somethings that UVW Sale did.
You hear me say it time and time again. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Just like everything else, it is important for you to be original. Don't use another sale's location.
So what can you do to help find your location?
- Enlist the help of family, friends and current people on your mailing list
- Talk with Commercial Real Estate agents
- Network! You never know who may know of a few appropriate places
Before you start your sale , search and scour your town for the location that is right for you and your sale. Don't muscle in on another sales turf just because you can. Be original, get creative and you'll come up with a location that is great.