Retreat!

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I had the pleasure of being invited to a consignment sale retreat a few weeks ago. While I tend to work my sale around my kids schedules, I must admit, having nothing but uninterrupted time to sit and focus on the sale at hand, was really nice. I highly recommend it!

Our first night we grabbed dinner and ate at our destination (a friend's parent's house that was not being used while they were away on vacation). So... all the creature comforts of home without the kids! We brought snacks and breakfast and ate out for lunch and dinner. Our first night comprised of sitting around developing our plan for the weekend and getting a good nights sleep. Well, you know that never happens! 1 am rolled around and here we were, still chatting away! Not only did we develop our plan, but we started hammering out details on one of the main items on the agenda. I know, no one is early to bed around me!

Our second day consisted of planning out who was going to handle each task on the list from 9-1. The partners hammered out their partnership agreement (which took most of the morning) while I started working on layout and floor plans. At 1, we took a break and went on a field trip to scope out a few items on the "to-do" list followed by lunch and back to hammering out what needed to be done on each person's list.

By the Third day, almost everything was done. All of the sale planning had been made, all of the online items had been taken care of, all of the print items had been taken care of and more importantly, a plan and timeline had been made that they could walk through in a simple and methodical manner each week up through the sale.

I came back feeling really rejuvinated and ready to work on my own sale. I think in the future I will be taking this type of approach to handling my own sale. It was an awesome experience.

Expanding in 2013

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

As we head into 2013, I am very excited about a new venture I am working on. We are expanding into a new specialty sale for homeschool curriculum. It won't be my sale, it will be lead by one of my former lead volunteers who feels passionately about this type of sale, but I am going to be mentoring her through this process and walking along side of her during her start up.

There isn't much you can't turn into a consignment sale. The issue that most people face is that they try and do too much, or cover too much ground during one sale. Sometimes you just need to specialize and hone in on specific type of audience. After all, while it makes sense that a homeschool section would be found at a children's consignment sale, most homeschoolers want to browse curriculum without having all the distractions.

There are several used curriculum fairs in Nashville, but the problem is that they rent out tables... which means that you have to visit 50 booths to find the material you are looking for. And there is no opportunity to price shop. As a seller it's great because you can pay $10 or $15 for a booth, but for a buyer, it's a bit of a frustrating experience. Needless to say, we have lots of families that are excited about this new sale. And I am excited for my friend Gaye, as she's very knowledgeable about homeschool curriculum.

One of the things that we have been searching for is a way to utilize my contacts from the sale, and this is a great way to tap into my existing market. It's only a fraction of my existing client base, but I believe this will be a great first step for expanding into specialty sales. This sale will also be a stepping stone into a new business venture that I am looking at in the future. After all, I am not always going to be a sale organizer. But thanks to my current business, I already have all of the key components in place for this new venture, which I could see as my career after consignment sale life. It's all good! You never know where life is going to lead you, and you never know how one thing is a stepping stone to something else.

I'm excited about 2013 and all of the possibilities it brings!

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.

Sale #28 is in the bag!

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I just finished wrapping up our ministry sale that benefited Rejoice Ministries. It's my favorite sale of the year! Being able to impact a ministry in a significant way (something that I, myself as a stay at home mom would never be able to do without the sale) is an amazing blessing. And it's something I look forward to each year.

We had Boot Campers from different walks in their consignment life: One who eats, sleeps and drinks consignment sales, one who is a large volume consignor who is entering the business and one who has a passion for women's consignment. It was fun getting to watch them all start the week kind of timid and leave by the end of the week saying they felt prepared, confident and excited to get to work on their sales. That makes my heart happy.

The sale ran fairly smooth. There are always hiccups, but my team is pretty adept at handling these things. A few sales ago we started cross training lead volunteers, and that came into play this sale. We had one member of our team that just couldn't get a break this sale. It seemed like everything that could happen, did happen in her life. But that's what cross training is for. The sort ran late because we had a slew of families with sick kids, but everyone had a pleasant attitude and we sent them all Starbucks Gift Cards for staying a little later than usual. The boys came and helped out and ran registers during the slow times. It amazes me that they are so diligent with the money at 9 and 11 years of age. Yes, of course they were supervised, I am not that crazy! And we added a new member to our team. She's going to be great. I've found that adding young, energetic ladies to my team has been a God-send for myself. Not that I am getting too old for this, but I am getting older and having a younger staff is helping me have fun again.

We decided to have some pre-sale fun and we did The Consignment Price is Right prior to the Tuesday night pre-sale. We gave away big packs of batteries as prizes to the contestants and a $50 gift certificate to the winner of each game. It was a lot of fun. Brooke (who coordinated the flash mob) took charge of the game and dressed up like Drew Cary and created the signs and prizes. She was great!

The greatest thing that happened during the sale was that we had lots of people who came and gave affirming testimonies about how the sale has helped them in their personal lives. I L-O-V-E-D hearing that! Rejoice also had one of their students come and dance for us during the sort. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. (And she had just had her wisdom teeth pulled out the day before!) I hope to have video soon...

All in all, 2 thumbs up for the ministry sale. There isn't much down time between this sale and the opening of the next sale... so much to do between now and then!

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.