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.

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!

QR Codes

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

Have you ever thought there is just too much information to put on your advertisements? Now, you can get your very own quick and easy QR Code for your consignment sale! Just put your QR Code on all of your promotional materials and potential customers can scan your QR Code with their smart phone and viola! Instant access to your website (or any other online media you'd like to send them to).
You can visit and get a QR Code for your sale today. It's free, easy and there is nothing to it!
Go ahead and check out! You can scan my codes right here on this blog!




Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

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.

Trust me when I say, I know how hard it can be to find a location. But the lighting needs to be one of your top priorities when looking at potential locations. You never want someone to walk away from your sale, only to get home to discover everything is yucky. As a sale organizer, it's your responsibility to bring in supplemental lighting if need be. I know of one tiny little church sale who brings in this huge lighting rig because they only have "mood" lighting in the area where they have the sale. They knew they had to overcome that issue if they want to be successful.
As you look at potential locations, you need to make lighting one of your top priorities. There are things you can overcome, and things you can't. Lighting is one of those things you have got to have right. If you don't have proper lighting, it can be overcome if you put a little thought into the situation before you arrive for your sale. You don't want to start a consignment sale only to sabotage your efforts by running your customers off with damaged merchandise.

Show Me The Money

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

One of the most popular questions I get is "Tell me exactly how much money I am going to make as a sale organizer, so I can decide if I want to start a consignment sale."

This question frustrates me more than any other question I get because yes, my sale does quite well, but that's not why I do it. I do it because I love it. It's not "work" for me. If you start a business because you think there's money in it, but you don't like it... will you be successful? Probably not. If you start a business that you love, and you work hard at making it successful... will it be? Probably so. But it's because you love what you do and you want to work at making it successful!

My advice to you is to never start any business that you aren't just absolutely crazy about. What I love about my consignment sale is the ability to make an impact on others in my community. I love helping people and I have become successful at doing that. Others aren't that way. They start a consignment sale, but they don't like helping other people and the only thing they think about is the money. They treat people poorly and their business suffers. And that's true in any business not just consignment sales.

You need to do your research before you start a consignment sale. How much are money are you willing to spend? How much time are you going to devote? Do you have a knack for hunting down bargains, or are you going to purchase all of your equipment new? Are you going to scavenge for the best location at the best price? Are you going to do mass mailings or boot strap word about your sale? How much time are you interested in spending in educating your community? Are you outsourcing your website and design or doing it yourself? What are your demographics? How big is your community? Are you a real go getter? Or are you the type to just sit back and wait for things to happen? How much are you willing to work at your business? Are you going to rely on the fact that you think these sales are great and therefore everyone will just flock to you? Or are you going to go out and bust your backside to expose people to your sale? There are so many factors, that giving someone a definitive "here's how much you can make" answer is not only impossible, but its just plain irresponsible.

When you evaluate potential business opportunities don't just look at the money. Look at what is a good fit for you and your skill sets. When you do something you love, you have a very good chance of making it successful. Follow the scent of money, and there is a good chance you will be disappointed. Successful businesses are built by people who have worked really hard to get to where they are.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.