Consignment stores are full of people looking for a quick and cheap way to add some style to their home.
It’s not just about keeping things neat and tidy, it’s about creating something of a new look and feel.
That’s why, for many, shopping consignment stores have a cult following.
But what exactly is consignment?
Consignment stores operate like online auctions, and the key is that you don’t actually need to pay anything upfront for the items you’re selling.
Instead, the store is looking to fill its shelves with things that are cheaper than the standard prices.
“You can buy anything for $20,” says Emma, a 20-year-old student at Melbourne’s Fitzroy University.
“But when you’re in a consignment store, you can buy whatever you want for $60.”
The consignment business has grown exponentially in recent years.
Consignment shops can range in size from the smallest to the biggest, from online to brick and mortar, and from big box stores to local shops.
“I’ve had a lot of friends buy clothes from consignment shops because they have no choice,” Emma says.
Some shops charge up to $250 for their clothing, but others are less generous.
“A lot of consignment sellers are just charging you $200 for a box of clothes, and then selling the rest for $150,” says Victoria’s Samantha, who is studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Western Australia.
If you’re looking to buy a new dress for $80, Emma says you should probably ask for a quote.
It can be a bit confusing to find a place to buy clothing, particularly if you’re new to consignment.
“It’s very frustrating because you’ve been looking at it online and theres a bunch of different websites that have all these different prices and it’s hard to know what to look for,” she says.
“So you end up spending all your money on a couple of clothes and never know if you’ll be able to find the one you need.”
When you go to a consignor store, they will tell you what you’re buying, and it could be as simple as looking in their clothing section to find out what the lowest price is for a certain item.
“If you look in their section, you might find the cheapest price is $20, and they might give you a little discount on it, or maybe they will give you more than the price you paid,” Emma explains.
Samantha also has to make sure she’s shopping for the right items.
“You have to find something that fits your style and needs,” she explains.
“You need to find clothes that are flattering and are made from durable fabrics, and you need to try and find something with a good amount of colour.”
You can usually find the exact same clothes for $10-15 in a retail shop, and some consignors will even give you recommendations on what they think you’ll like best.
“Theres always a difference between the people that come to consigned clothing stores, and people that go to the bigger consignment sites,” Samantha says.
“Consignment sites are the smaller ones, but there are always people who come in and buy the same thing, so you have to be careful.
The consignee usually knows the size of the item they are selling, and so will be able tell you which size to go for.”
Consignment is also more expensive than traditional retail because it costs a lot more to set up a store and run it, so it’s always a bit more expensive,” Samantha adds.
If you have an item that you think is too big, Emma suggests trying on a few sizes before deciding.”
Once you’ve bought it, theres no need to go back to the store and find a different size,” she advises.
When you’ve selected your item, it should be sent out for you to check out, and Samantha recommends doing this a couple days before you want to wear it.”
Sometimes theres things that the consignees just like to give you that they will remember you can always bring it back and have it in the shop again,” she adds.
Once you have a dress or other item you’re happy with, you should head to the consignment site to make your decision.
This is usually when the person who is selling it gets back to you, and will give them the size you want,” Emma adds.”
That’s usually the last thing you’ll need to do before the items arrive,” Samantha explains.
“This is usually when the person who is selling it gets back to you, and will give them the size you want,” Emma adds.