Service Project... Why I Love What I Do.

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

My husband and his men's group were looking for a service project. So they contacted a few of our churches ministry partners to see if anyone needed any help. As it so happened Hope Clinic for Women contacted them back and said what they could really use was some racks for their donation room. You see all of the items that are donated to the clinic are currently stored in bins, which makes it hard for the women to shop. My husband was thrilled... after all he has a few "connections" (if you know what I mean) and his response was "Boy have you contacted the right person!"

He asked me to go down and assess the situation. Boy were they right... that room needed an overhaul badly. So we came up with a plan and decided to line the room with racks. I had connections with a friend who had a consignment store that went out of business and she donated slat wall (and associated hardware), maternity displays and a ton of commercial hangers. I made a list of supplies for Hope Clinic and they were able to get everything donated by Home Depot... everything fell into place.

So on Monday night, the men's group showed up at Hope Clinic and I gave them instructions on what I needed them to do. Hubs and I had spent the weekend building and painting racks, so everything was ready to go come Monday. The guys converted an old mail station into a new shelving unit and re-purposed a 4x8 non functioning table into a 32" x 8' feet market place display that would utilize the baskets and bins that Hope Clinic currently used.

On Tuesday, a couple of girlfriends and myself went down and started hanging clothes up in the newly redesigned space. When it was all said and done, we spent a couple of days taking a non-functional room and made it into an awesome new shopping experience for these young mothers! If I didn't have the skill set I did, the guys probably wouldn't have taken on the project, and the donation room would still be a non-functioning room. While I still don't get excited about the skill sets I have, they do come in handy from time to time, and in this case, it was extremely helpful... not just in knowing how to make racks and layout a space, but also in knowing the recalls and keeping potentially harmful items out of the hands of new mothers.

Today, I get to look back and see what we've done. Thanks to being a sale organizer, I get to use my skill sets to help make an impact in the lives of young women who choose to have their babies. Today... my sale organizer skill sets are valuable ones to have :-) I love what I do!

Before:

Dark and not very functional.

4x8 table used as a clutter catcher. Nothing but junk and trash under here. Also notice all of the clothing in bins on the back wall. Hard for the ladies to shop through.

 

After: Notice the guys fixed the lights!

New slat wall and maternity displays

So much room! And so bright! This is the same space as the first picture posted!

The new marketplace display... The guys did a fantastic job making this!

The boys area with marketplace display behind the shelving unit.

I'm not sure why this picture is coming up cockeyed... but it is. The re-purposed mail organizer.

You Did What?!

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

A couple of days ago, I received a message from a consignamaniac reseller. She wanted me to know that she was paying c-a-s-h for a house!

Now granted, this house was a steal, but still, houses aren't cheap. I was even more intrigued when she told me about the plans for her new house. You see, she is going to use it to run her reselling out of. She gave me a break down of what each room would be used for, how she was going to set up racks to help her get organized and she had even talked to her favorite sale organizer and rented her a room for storage! She is not paying a house note, she's no longer paying for storage and people are paying her for rent... and to top it off... she has more space for more inventory, which means, even bigger consignment sale checks!
Then she went on to tell me about how when she was finished with consigning, she would turn around and make this home a rental home and use the income to supplement their retirement plans.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I realized that I love consignment sales even more than I did before she messaged me. She said that her whole goal with selling at consignment sales is to not only supplement her income, but to also enable her to give m-o-r-e. And now she has purchased a second home which will not only serve her as a reseller, but will also provide retirement income for their family.
Now I won't kid you. This family shops and tags year round and makes this their part time job. But still... being able to pay cash for a house? I think I'm ready to step up my game!

Running the Race

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

This weekend I participated in my first (and only) 1/2 marathon. I signed up for a couple of reasons. One was because I wanted to celebrate turning 40. The other was because I wanted to put myself in the shoes of my new sale organizers. You see, for me, running a sale is as easy as breathing. It's been a long time since I have done something "big" and completely out of my comfort zone. So I really wanted to do this to help me relate to all the new sale organizers in our forum. I'd like to share with you some of the things I "learned"as I journeyed through the 1/2 marathon this weekend.

Anticipation:
As we all loaded into our corrals it reminded me of the anticipation and excitement new sale organizers get to face as they prepare for their sale. Where will I place? Will I even finish? Can I do this? Am I going to survive? I am going to totally rock this thing! New consignment sale organizers share that same anticipation. How many consignors will I have? Will the shoppers show up? Will I have enough volunteers? How is this whole thing going to go over with my community? I'm going to have the biggest sale in town!
Preconceived Ideas:
I have learned from my own sale and that of my other sales not to have any preconceived ideas. To go into this knowing I am not going to finish it in an hour and half like the winner did, but instead to go into this knowing I have to finish it in the 4 hours they give you to finish the race. Many new sale organizers think they are going to start out like that 1st place winner, when instead, they need to realize that the expectations need to be more open rather than to pigeon hole themselves into something that is probably not achievable. Your sale is unique to you and you are going to have different parameters and goals than other sales.
Let the Race Begin:
The race began and I was super excited. I was full of energy and excitement. It reminded me of our Sunday Night Set Up. Getting the equipment set up, everyone is full of anticipation and energy.
Mile 2:
Mile 2 brought on some sort of panic attack as I was thinking about a friend who I was running this race for. My chest tightend and my throat closed up and I was having trouble breathing. Doubt sets in. It was a lot like Monday Check In. Its like walking around the sale and asking if you have enough inventory... not realizing that things are going extra smooth because you have extra volunteers. My perception was thrown off in Mile 2, just like it is every Check In day.
Mile 4:
Mile 4, as expected, saw my feet and toes cramp up. I knew it was coming. I was walking with the 3 hour pace team at that point and that's when the "experienced" pace leader (from Nashville Striders) asked if I was okay. I told him that my feet were cramping up. He said "Those chews you have on your pack are filled with salt. Go ahead and take 3-4 of them and drink your gatorade, it will help alleviate your cramping." And that's when I realized the importance of a coach. I have been walking all summer long with my girlfriends... but none of them were coaches, and none of them had the experience to know the little secrets to help us succeed. That's when I realized my place with my sales. I'm there to help them survive just like this experienced pace leader was helping me survive the race. I thought "how hard can this be?" When in fact I should have been looking for a coach to help guide me through this race. Lesson learned.

Mile 5:
At Mile 5 there was the Toga Party Frat Boys at the drink station. They were completely decked out and having a blast handing out water and gatorade to the participants. It reminded me to have fun. There is always something funny that happens at a sale, and I need to slow down and remember it's okay to not only have fun, but to engage in the craziness myself.

The Half Way Mark:
The half way mark was at mile 6.5. I was dragging my butt. It reminded me of Tuesday Organization Day. You put in so many hours at this point, and are working on 3 hours of sleep a night. You start to doubt... But then you see it... the GU station!
The GU Station:
The GU station is where they hand you out the sugar supplements to get you through the rest of the race. The Gu Station is your Pre-Sale! It gets you hyped up to finish because you are half way there and it's all down hill after the pre-sale!
Mile 10:
Mile 10 saw me dragging again and I thought about my second Open to the Public Day. At this point, I just want to be done. I want to go to sleep. Mile 10 was a lot like my Thursday sale day.
Mile 11:
During Mile 11, my sale song came on my iPod (East Bound and Down) and I saw the Titans Colosseum! So close to finishing! Determination set in because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel! Mile 11 is the Friday Night Sort.
Mile 12:
"I Will" Hill. This massive "hill" (which is actually a bridge with a very steep grade to get up and over it) was filled with motivational words. I thought about all of the texts and messages I get from my friends during the sale. They give me the boost I need to carry on... to give me the encouragement to get through the sale week.
Mile 13:
Just .1 miles left to go... The pick up. It's all over, you just have to wrap it up now.
I finished the race in 3 hours and 10 minutes. A far cry from the winner who finished in 1 hour and 36 minutes. But she has probably been doing this for years. This was my first one. My goal was to finish in under 4 hours. I more than achieved my goal. I got my feet wet, I put my best foot forward and took each mile one at a time...just like the sale, where you have to take each day as it comes.
I'm glad I did it. It was very fun and I finished the race. I'm very proud of myself, even though I didn't come in first... I didn't come in last either. All in all... a great experience!

Impact

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

Last night I went out with my hubby and a couple of guys asked me "is registration tomorrow?" Ummm... why yes it is. "Oh, that's good because my wife has all of her stuff pulled out and she said that she was setting her alarm so she can get registered early!"

Wow. I know people liked the sale. I didn't realize that they liked it that much! But as I got to talking with these gentlemen, what I realized was that their wives relied on the sale to "swap" out their clothes. They said that their wives sold as much as they bought and it didn't cost them hardly anything to outfit their children for the next season. What an impact this little sale has made in our community!

More than anything, I love hearing story about how the sale has helped families. Maybe they are re-selling to make money for a goal (several of my consignors are saving the money they make from consignment sales for fertility treatments, service dog training, or just extra funds that allow them to give more), or maybe they are just looking to swap out their clothes and toys. However they use the sale, it's always thrilling to me to know that I am helping these families achieve their financial and personal goals.

Consignment sales are great because they help the sale organizer achieve their personal and financial goals, but they also have a wonderful impact on the community. I am thankful that the gentlemen stopped me last night and told me what the sale means to their family. It helps give me a renewed energy as I get ready for the next sale.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.