This holiday season we will be part consignment shop, and part toy store! We’ve got a ton of Melissa and Doug toys. Their focus on developmental and creative toys are great for kids of all ages, and toys range for little ones from age 6 months and up!
By Kelly Mercer
To quote one of my mentors, “Style always trumps fashion”, I could not agree more with this, and I firmly believe that when you look good, you feel good. Why should it be any different for your little ones? Your style is a reflection of who you are on the inside, and that surely is unique! Our goal is to style your kids in a truly unique and affordable way.
As a busy parent, it’s challenging and sometimes a headache to keep up with your child’s wardrobe, especially when it comes to picking an outfit for a special event, or getting rid of the clothes they have outgrown. As a consignment boutique owner, I would like to share with you some tips for managing your kids outgrown clothing and gear, and selling it so you can buy some new!
1. Stay on top of it
Whether you have one child or three, the clothes can pile up quickly. Make it a point that when your child turns 2 months, 4 months, 1 year, 18 months etc…to take a bit of time to go through their wardrobe and sort out the items that don’t fit anymore. That way it won’t pile up to the point where you want to rip your hair out. Put them aside for the next step.
2. Remember these 3 categories: throw away, sell, donate/give away
If you’re overwhelmed, start with sorting items into 2 piles. One for items in good condition, the other not so good condition. Think about it, would you buy a used item with a stain or a tear in it? I didn’t think so! You can’t expect to sell or donate items like this. Throw them away, recycle or repurpose them. Itsy Bitsy won’t take anything with stains or tears and Goodwill can’t sell items with tears and stains either. When you’ve sorted out good from bad, then sort your good pile two more ways; one to sell and the other to donate.
3. Think about where the clothing you buy comes from
One of the ways I can justify spending a little more money on my son’s clothes is that I know how much I can sell it for after I am done with it, if it is taken care of and in good condition. How do you know what items have resale value? It depends, but when you have clothing that is less than 3 years old, that’s your first clue. The most current styles will get you the maximum dollar. If you purchased it from a big box store (i.e., Walmart, Target etc…) that’s your second clue. Clothing purchased from retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s etc…have a higher resale value than clothing purchased from Walmart.
4. Don’t forget the season
At the beginning of each season, spring/summer and fall/winter, go through those piles of clothes that don’t fit anymore, and remember, the earlier the better. Keep the off-season clothing and go through the current/upcoming season for sale or donation. Clothing that is in-season is worth more. Save the off-season clothing to sell when it’s in-season and more valuable. Most people shop for the current season, unless it’s a superior quality item (like, say, a brand new North Face Winter Jacket) you likely can sell it in the off-season.
5. Think quality, not quantity
Here’s a little secret; if you want to consign your items and get the most for them, sell them in small, high quality quantities. Throwing everything in a tote in a huge lot of items takes me more time to go through, especially if you didn’t take the time to sort out the stuff with stains. If I see a lot of low-value items in a bin, I am much less likely to look carefully through all of the items. Sorry, but it’s just not fun to go through a bin of unsellable items.
6.Your time: Consignment vs. Sell it Yourself
One of the best things I learned running a small business is that time is money, and it’s no difference when it comes to managing your kid’s clothing. This is the rule of thumb when you are selling your children’s outgrown clothing. I had a garage sale once, and I hated every minute of it (tip: if you’re gonna go the garage sale route, have it with as many of your neighbors and friends as possible). How much time do you want to spend? Garage sales are a total crapshoot as to whether or not they will be worth your time and effort. I have told many customers that you will likely make more money selling your items yourself at a garage sale or online, but it’s a lot more time and effort/hassle. It’s up to you to decided how much time you have to spend, and realize that when you consign you’ll likely make less money, but it’s less of your time.
7. Be realistic about how much money your items are worth
Not all of your clothing is going to be worth money!!! Pricing used clothing is not an exact science. In my experience, the industry standard is 30% of the full retail price, not the sale price, if the item is in excellent condition. So, you can imagine that $8.00 outfit from Target is not going to fetch a good price at 30%. If you have a true designer item or high demand item that is less than 1-2 years old and is in excellent condition, you can price it as much as 50% of MSRP, and if it’s unworn with tags, even more. It all depends on the condition and popularity of the item. I would say you could apply this standard to selling your items online, but not at garage sales. Garage sale prices: 50 cents, $1 and $2 for kids clothing max. That is just in my experience, and if you disagree, then I think you’re an extremely lucky garage sale person.
8. Give yourself a break; what didn’t sell, donate it to charity
So you brought me a bin of stuff and I didn’t accept everything, or you have gobs left after your garage sale. Take it to Goodwill or the local food pantry. Items like onesies, pajamas, play sets from Walmart, Target, Kohls and items in good condition but just look a little worn are automatic donations, in my opinion.
9. Do not save clothes for that next child, who has not even been conceived yet
Trust me, don’t do it. The main reason is, that after working in consignment, I have learned to appreciate decluttering my life. When you hang onto literally everything because there’s a .003% chance you might need it in the next 10 years is a good way to accumulate a lot of stuff you don’t need. I like to live by the saying, “use it up, wear it out, make-do, or go without”. Put the items you no longer need to use now by getting some money out of them or giving them to a family in need. It’s much more fun to have useful things that are fresh and new. Plus, the longer you hold onto things, the less they are worth. Unless you hold on to them for 50 years when they are considered an antique.
10. Presentation is key
I love to sell sets, because people love to buy them. There is more inherent value in an outfit, rather than a pair of pants or a shirt, so make sure your sets are folded neatly together. They don’t even have to be a true set. I have found that pairing the same size and brand of coordinating pieces sell great. Please, please, please, make sure you launder your items and fold them neatly in a bin or small bag. Clothing that smells or is all wrinkled and dirty will not sell. Ever. Also, make sure there are no missing buttons and the zippers work.
Holy moly, it’s August! Time to start thinking about fall and winter wardrobe changes. Speaking of changes, we’ve been making a lot of changes here, and so I wanted to give you the scoop!
The newest addition to Itsy Bitsy is the maternity consignment. People are loving it, and considering there’s a baby boom going on here, we knew it was needed. Did you know that North Liberty is expected to gain about 30,000 people in the next 5 years?!? Most of the new citizens are going to be BABIES! I am starting to wonder if there’s something in the water here. Or, perhaps maybe, it’s just that NL is a super awesome place to raise children.
Anyhoo, we want to move in the direction of Upscale Resale. We don’t want to sound hoity toity, but due to our small space and the demand, we need items with a higher resale value, so that means brands from places like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Von Maur…you get the picture. We do love great staples like GAP, Gymboree, but we want the shopping experience to be unique at Itsy Bitsy. If you’ve got fall and winter items, bring them in! We are looking for sizes up to 5/6 in children’s and we will consign them for you at 50/50. No appointment necessary. Just drop your items off, and if you have time and we have time you can wait while we go through them or be on your way and we will call you when we get done. Please limit your items to ONE plastic storage tote size.
Here’s a list of brands we like:
Blush by Us Angels
Isobella & Chloe
Nike J Brand
Ohh La La Couture
Oscar de la Renta
Pippa & Julie
Un Deux Trois
Little Marc Jacobs
Cutie Pie Baby
Janie & Jack
Jelly the Pug
Citizens of Humanity
Ingrid & Isabel
Tees by Tina
7 for All Mankind
Pea in the Pod
Willow & Clay
Fade to Blue
Bump in the Night
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I decided to take the big leap into entrepreneurship and open my own business in 2011 and I would like to share a little about why I wanted to open Itsy Bitsy Boutique. I had dreamed of owning my own business and being my own boss ever since art school, so I’ve always been looking around for opportunities to do something that I would love. As it turns out, over the years I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places, and always I found some really cool little shop (or if you want to be fancy and say it in French, boutique). I wanted something where I could be creative, give back to the community and make a living. You know what they say, if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life! I have lived in Eastern Iowa all of my life, and in the Iowa City area since 1998, when I moved here to attend to the University of Iowa where I got my BA in Studio Art. What I love about the area are the people, being surrounded by creativity and the beautiful land. It inspires me to live in a community where there is a true appreciation for the arts and where people take pride in Iowa. I once considered moving to Chicago, Arizona, Colorado, but I’m not a big-city girl! I grew up in the quiet countryside, and here I feel I have the best of both worlds. I have roots here and I’m surrounded by so many wonderful and creative friends- I am truly blessed. The Iowa City area is smack dab in the middle of my family in Northeast Iowa and my husband’s family in Southeast Iowa-Eastern Iowa is our beautiful homeland. In 2007 we chose to move to a sleepy little town called North Liberty because the location is perfect for us. North Liberty is now one of the fastest growing communities in Iowa, and after living here for 7 years, I have witnessed remarkable transformation and growth, and I am very excited to be a part of it. I want to help shape the community. It’s a community full of Hawkeye fans (GO HAWKS), young families, professionals and children seem to be crawling out of the woodwork! Literally. I just saw a kid crawl out from behind a wood fence. Yeesh. I believe that the key to economic development and opportunity lies within our community, not in corporate America (I know, I know, que the soapbox! ;) ) Shopping and and supporting LOCALLY owned businesses fosters job creation. I love to buy products that are unique and have been made locally or come from a locally owned business because I know that I’m helping my neighbor make a living and that just feels good! I like to call it “shopping with a conscious” It’s just kinda nice to know where the things I consume come from. I also believe upcycling, recycling and repurposing are important to our Eco-consciousness (I think the “Global Warming”debate is laughable, because there is no debating that taking care of the environment is plain and simple COMMON SENSE, COMMON SENSE, COMMON SENSE). Itsy bitsy is a conglomeration of new, previously loved, and handmade items in an artsy, fun and unique setting. I want to create opportunity for my neighbors to make extra money, be creative and inspire the imagination. I want people to come to my boutique and enjoy the shopping experience, and be made to feel welcomed and what true “retail therapy” is like. I always hear people say that they don’t have a creative bone in their body, but I beg to differ. I think we all have creativity in us, it’s just a matter of finding what inspires you and what you love to do.
Welcome to the Itsy Bitsy blog! My name is Kelly, I own and operate the boutique in North Liberty, Ia. I will be sharing lots of fun things on here, like the awesome things we sell, inspiration, ideas, photography and much more. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. This is one of my favorite quotes because of the profound simplicity of this idea of being the change. You might think, what difference can I make? If you live your life according to the idea of being the change, you are making a difference in your own way, like making a contribution for the good of us all. What would I like to see? Oh, too many things to write here on this post. I will show you with my posts, the way I do business and how I inspire and find inspiration.