Mixing Things Up

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

For those of you who are existing sale organizers, you already know that after a while, you just kind of go through the motions when you have a sale. It's no longer exciting, you know exactly what to expect. So how do you mix things up so that it's exciting again?

During our November sale a new Lead volunteer came on board and said "Jen, I want to do a Flash Mob!" My first thought was "Are you kidding me?" But after I thought about it for a minute, well... it just might be fun! Okay, we'll do a flash mob. From there it went to "What song are we going to use?" Girls Just Wanna Have Fun? And another lead piped up "Jen, with all your Consignamaniac themes, why haven't you considered "She's a Maniac?" Honestly, it never even occurred to me. But she was right, that was the perfect song. Two guys heard us talking and one said "I can re-write the lyrics to Consignamaniac!" And the other said "I know someone who can record it for you!" In 5 minutes my sale went from "Oh, just having another sale" to "OMG! I can not WAIT for the next sale!"

The song is awesome, the flash mob was hysterical. So many of my friends pulled themselves out of their comfort zone to participate (myself included). It went a little something like this...

We even sucked one of the husbands in to "play" guitar for us. What a sport he was!

All in all, it was awesome fun and got everyone excited about the sale again. Now, I'm not suggesting you try and pull a flash mob at your sale, but I will say, pulling yourself out of you box for 5 minutes can totally re-invigorate you towards your business.

I'm glad we did it! Hands down, I think we can claim to be the most fun sale in town. And at the end of the day... that's all that matters. Am I having fun? Why, yes. Yes I am.

Facebook Etiquette

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I have recently had a rash of sale organizers and other people in the consignment arena contact me about Facebook hijackers. You know the ones... the competing sale who posts on YOUR Facebook wall in attempt to advertise their business to your clientele and all under the guise of "Good luck at your sale this week! We love your sale!" [wink, wink]. No, you don't. You are attempting to hijack their Facebook page. And if you think they are too stupid to figure that out, think again.

For you Facebook hijackers, it is never, ever appropriate to solicit your business to another business's Facebook clientele unless you have the permission of the business owner. And even with the business owner's permission, there is still a proper protocol that you need to follow.

If you are going to put your link on another businesses page, the correct procedure would be to A. obtain permission from the business owner. B. "Like" their page C. Post on your wall with a link to their wall. So, instead of posting on XYZ's business page: We love your business! You should post on your own page: Good luck XYZ (link to their page)! We love your business!

This allows you to share them with your clientele, is completely appropriate and doesn't hack anyone off causing you to quickly become blacklisted for trying to steal someone else's customer base.

It all goes back to that old saying: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should! You never know when you are going to need these people to help you. Don't hack off everyone in an attempt to promote your business. Customers are becoming very choosy with who they are giving their hard earned dollars to and they are choosing more ethical businesses over non-ethical businesses. Be smart and use your head. You wouldn't want someone doing that to you, don't do it to someone else.

Know What You Are Getting Into

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

A few weeks ago I received a call from a very nice lady whose boss thought they should start hosting consignment sales. Her boss owned a location to host the event and thought this would be a good way to make some money from the location. She was calling for some guidance on behalf of her boss. Unfortunately, he thought that you just threw up some racks and had a sale.

The conversation went something like this: "My boss says we should have a $30 fee. Does that sound about right? My boss doesn't want any volunteers, just me and another girl. Do you think that would work? I've never been to a consignment sale before, I assume you have to have some sort of check in process. I used to auction cattle, so he thought I would be the perfect person to head this up. And we are going to have our first of 12 sales this year in 6 weeks." Monthly sales, no volunteers, outrageous fees, and an auctioneer as the host... I am still trying to figure out how a cattle auctioneer is the perfect choice for the sale organizer.

Now for those of you who are seasoned at hosting a sale, I know, you are laughing and shaking your head at this point. This poor girl didn't have the first idea about seasonal consignment sales. She had never even been to a consignment sale. And I'm pretty sure that the expression on my face was an interesting one because my mother-in-law kept looking at me while I was on the phone with this poor girl and couldn't stop laughing at me!

If you are going to host a consignment sale, you need to have a basic understanding of how they work. That means that you have either consigned, volunteered or shopped (perhaps all 3), or you have done extensive research. For example, we have some new sales in Alaska. There are no sales in Alaska, but the ladies involved have done their research, have family and friends who have attended sales in other parts of the country and have a basic understanding of what they are getting into before they made the commitment to start a consignment sale.

If you have never been to a sale, you need to research, research, research! You need to know what you are getting into before you think about tossing up some racks and "hosting a sale". You should never start any business on a whim.  You need to look at hosting a consignment sale like you would look at any business. Have a plan, do your research and get guidance to help you from making costly mistakes.

How Frequently Should I have My Sale?

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I get a lot of questions about how frequently should you host a sale. If 2 a year is a great side business, then imagine how great it would be to hold 6-12 sales a year! [Insert Buzzer Here] You couldn't be more wrong.

One of the things that make seasonal sales special is the frenzied atmosphere. The more frequently you have them, the less frenzy you have. In fact, if you have a sale next month, why would your customers feel the urgency to come this month? You water down the effectiveness of your sale when you are always having a sale.
Don't forget about your volunteers. They will carve out time for you 2-3 times a year. They won't be able to carve out time for you on a monthly or every other month basis. Without volunteers you have no sale.

If you are interested in hosting a sale on a monthly or every other month basis, you need to think about opening up a store. Seasonal sales work because of the seasonal nature. When you start watering them down with more and more sales you reduce the effectiveness, the frenzy and your volunteer team.

You need to think long and hard about hosting a seasonal sale. If your goal is to have a sale on anything other than a seasonal basis, you need to reconsider your objectives. Remember each sale takes about 6 weeks to host. Hosting on a frequent basis doesn't allow you any recovery time and it takes away from the uniqueness of owning and operating a "Seasonal" sale.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.