Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Well, for type A, OCD, ADD people like me that is. It's consignment time baby!

I, for one, love that time of the year where I can finally unpack those bins of outgrown, barely worn clothes and slap tags on them. Where I can bribe my kids with visions of new toys if they will just release their death grip on a toy that 20 minutes prior they had not touched in 6 months. Where I can see the vision that my husband "might" be able to park in the garage again (but alas, this usually lasts about 14 days until I start cleaning out the next batch of consignment items). Where I am already making bets with anyone that will listen of what I hope my check will be.

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

As many of you know, I've been a participant of some kind in consignment sales for the last 12 years. I started out as a shopper, then a consignor, then a volunteer, then an owner and now I'm back to just volunteer/consignor, but man, oh man, I love it. I love that my kids can look amazing for a fraction of retail. I love that the people I meet at these little events have become some of my dearest friends. I love that I am literally making money on many of my kids old items.

I decided to write today's blog to inspire those of you that have never even come close to relating to the first few paragraphs I just wrote. You may be someone who just had a baby that still thinks that buying new is the only way to go. You may be someone who currently just donates all your kid's old stuff to local charities and not thinking another thing about it. You also be someone who has 9 billion tubs of your kids outgrown stuff in the attic, garage, etc. and the thought of even opening pandora's box is enough to make you want to suck down a migraine pill.

Let's face it: participating in a consignment sale is a ton of work. Yep, I said it. Everyone glorifies it like it's the easiest thing in the world, but it's not. The hard work is the reason that many moms choose to dump their like new Gymboree in boxes priced for $.25 each at garage sales. It's also the same reason that they dump off trash bag after trash bag of their kids items to charities. Who has time for all that work? Well, I've made time because I've figured out a few things, the most important being:

When I consign, I no longer have to budget for kids items. I just use the money I've made to buy the next season of goodies.

Now, some of you reading that will think, "that's just not possible" but I'm here to tell you IT IS! Not only is it possible, but many times, I end up not spending as much as I just made; therefore, I walk away with a new wardrobe for my kids and MONEY to buy other stuff that the precious darlings will NEED ;)

To help you get started, I will be blogging over the next 24 hours on ways to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed and turn that feeling into motivation. If you will follow the next few posts step by step, not only will you declutter your home, you will also find that you will have a nice little check in your mailbox in about 6 weeks :) So, stop procrastinating and commit to making some money and diving into the consignment world!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nicaragua BOUND Baby!

Well, the hubs is going on a little trip. It's kind of a last minute thing, but he felt his heart stirring a few weeks ago about a trip our church had planned to Nicaragua. It's through this group: XMA

Basically, he's going on a no frills mission trip to Nicaragua from June 23-30. They basically go into the most remote places to teach peeps about Jesus. It's dangerous but the danger excites J. It thrills me, let me tell you!

Why am I writing this? Well, we've paid everything except the final $950 due Sunday. Yes, as in 5 days. God has totally provided the first $750 and we've already had $175 in donations towards the $950, but I'm hoping by raffling off some pretty amazing items tomorrow we can raise the rest.

How can you help? Well, help me spread the word. Feel free to post this link to everyone you know as we will be updating tomorrow with the raffle items including an American Girl doll and a piece of artwork from Pitter Patter Art. If you want to donate something cool for the raffle, shoot me an email to I am humbly asking for some help with this and trust that no matter what, God will provide for Jonathan to go on this trip! Check back Thursday morning at 10am for all the scoop on the raffle! THANKS!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Best Kept Secret

Don't you love when you find a place where you find everything you are looking for when it comes to your child's wardrobe? Don't you love when people ask you about your child's adorable outfit and you smile because you know you got it for a great deal? Yep, I do too.

Sometimes when you find those hidden gems, you almost don't want to let people in on your little "secret." Well, I'm letting the cat out of the bag....

I've found a great newer sale where you can literally find everything you need not only for your kid's summer wardrobe, but you might find a few gems for yourself. It's Encores and More Murfreesboro.

Now, you and I both know that here in Nashville, you have about 8 million sales to consider when it comes time to selling your children's old goods, but when it comes to shopping, it's not too often you find that diamond in the rough. You know that sale where you go in KNOWING you are going to completely blow your budget, you are going to find adorable outfits, killer shoes, and some amazing toys that you plan to put up for birthdays, Easter, etc. but they are so great you can't stand it and cave in and give it to them. Where you score a pair of boutique shoes for your little girl's Easter dress for $5. Where you find brand new Matilda Jane for pennies on the dollar. Yes, it's hard to find, but I promise you, I've found it!

Encores in Murfreesboro is rather new to the scene, but let me tell you they are coming in like a lion. Their first sale was in the fall and I put about half of my stuff in it just to test the waters. I was amazed that I sold just as much, if not more than some of the mega sales around town. Yes, even the one I used to run.

This time for the Spring sale, the owners have outdone themselves. In the fall, they never dreamed they would have the response they did and quickly filled up their space. It was definitely a tight fit, but people walked away singing it's praises and begging for more so the owners answered the call and got a nice, HUGE location this time. It's at the Mid-TN Expo center in Murfreesboro and there are literally RACKS AND RACKS of amazing clothing, tons of toys, adult clothing and home decor and did I mention TOYS!

Tomorrow is the last day of drop off, but they still need workers and the best part starts Wednesday: SHOPPING! Go check it out and let me know what you think. I know you are going to love it. Trust me, I'm picky and don't put my name behind many things, but I'm telling you that you will kick yourself if you miss this sale. The owners sent me a few pictures to show off the goodies they have in so far and I was blown away. I'll share a few below.

The best part about this sale in my opinion? Oh, how about hundreds of NEW WITH TAGS boutique outfits and Gymboree sets, loads of brand new shoes, and much more. They get a lot of boutique overstock and the Gymboree selection is amazing. So...come on down and shop! Say hello while you are there as I'm working all day Wednesday so that I can shop the worker sale Tuesday night. I'm not missing this sale, that's for sure!

How adorable is this table and chairs?
 Check all the girls shoes AND all those cozy coupes in the background!
 Need some Matilda Jane? Um, yes, please. Yep, this whole rack is at Encores Murfreesboro!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sweet Leslie

I wish I wasn't typing this. I wish I had answers for what I'm about to type, but I don't.

Our sweet Leslie Armstrong passed away last night. For those of you that worked, consigned, or shopped at Encores North, I'm sure you saw or interacted with Leslie. She was that sweet redhead who checked you in during dropping off, cut your tags at check out and always had a smile on her face.

Here's some of the pics I will cherish forever. The first is Alicia Pelham, Natalie Dohanos, me and Leslie on a cruise we took in October 2010:
This pic was taken at the Encores North sale when we were still at Goody's. This is Leslie and Katy Oakes. Man, she had a great smile:
Probably one of my favorite memories..the first time we all went to dinner and thought it would be a good idea to ride in the back of a pickup truck. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life:
This was the sale held next to Aldi's. Leslie was so excited because she found out the day of worker presale that she was having a boy, sweet Mason.
Same sale...Leslie needed some new maternity clothes so Pam Davis and I thought we could help her out :)
On the cruise: we were going for a glamour shot style portrait and obviously, having a great time.
Sweet Leslie, you have impacted me more than you will know. You were a true friend and I will miss you so much. Scrapbook retreats and sales won't be the same. My heart is broken.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spring 2012 selling season is HERE!

Hard to believe 2012 is here! With a new year comes the stress of suddenly getting ready for the next sale. I know for me, it's hard to be thinking about pulling out spring/summer clothing when it's 30 degrees outside.

It's been a while since I posted so I thought I would update you on what I am planning on doing this consignment sale season. As you all know, I sold Encores and More North to the owners of the original Encores in January 2011. Many have asked how it feels to not have the sale and to be honest, I really don't miss the sale itself, I miss the people. I loved getting to spend so much time working with ladies I loved and respected. I also LOVED to see just how far the blessings from the sale could reach. I consider it a great honor that I got to run Encores North for as long as I did.

I am still buying out children's boutiques and Gymboree. I will continue to sell that inventory through Encores, but will be doing so at Encores Murfreesboro. Natalie, my sale manager at North when I still owned it, is now running that sale and although she just had her first sale in September, it was really awesome. I love how much she is focused on the community and I loved that I found the brands I loved for my kids there: Mini Boden, Gymboree, Matilda Jane. She was super picky on her adult stuff so it wasn't overwhelming to shop and I even found some Anthropologie there!

I do plan to put my leftovers in Encores North, but since the sale is later than normal, I will be putting all my item in the Boro sale first. So, what about you...where you are consigning this Spring?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Consignment Manager

Hey everyone! I wanted to take a few minutes and give you my perspective on My Consignment Manager and all the questions everyone has been asking. Please keep in mind, this is my opinion and thoughts, not anything I've cleared with the new owners.

Jonathan and I had first considered using MCM or one of their competitors years ago. When we started 6 years ago (almost 7!), we literally had an old school system that was based solely on an excel spreadsheet and old school barcodes. For 6 years, at the end of each sale, all the info we could give consignors at the end of each sale was the number of items sold and at what price (and whether or not they were discounted). We hated we couldn't give more info, but based on the old system, we couldn't have all the info (including an item number) on that specific bar coding machine.

That's where my sweet hubby came in and by the grace of God and 5 years of college, he was able to write the program which allowed us to have people create tags at home. Again, although this worked SO much better, it still didn't allow people to see specifics on their sheet that came with their checks. The other downfall to that system was that if people accidentally transposed their numbers, the system had no way of knowing that and someone could end up tagging their items under the wrong number. And yes, it happened a lot.

When I sold the sale, I strongly urged the new owners to go with a system like MCM. It was something Jonathan and I were planning on doing to prevent the transposing of numbers, plus I knew with a program like this, MCM would get the phone calls at 2am about lost tags versus my husband. It seemed like a great thing! Natalie and I were gung ho about the changes until we went and shadowed another sale that had recently implemented a program like this into their sale. Here's what we found:

*In order for the inventory to be 100% accurate, you either have to check off an itemized list OR scan each item in at check in. The reason is that SO MANY PEOPLE at that sale accidentally left stuff at home, gave things to a friend or just plain forgot to pin the tag on after they printed. I would say we easily saw 50% of consignors who arrived and had to x items off their inventory sheets. THANK GOD we kept those sheets when you read the points below.

*Consignors showed up constantly with complaints about their uploads. They didn't see an item on the floor and yet, it wasn't listed in their sold items from the night before's upload. The other sale literally had one worker who all they did was walk the floor and reassure consignors that their items were on the floor, etc.

*You wouldn't believe the number of people that showed up both at pick up and called later claiming they had brought an item and it apparently sold, but they didn't get paid. Back to those inventory sheets above. Yep, sure enough when we looked it up, they had indeed not brought the item. Now, I know many of you would say that's the reason we sign a waiver, but let's be honest, no sale wants to have a reputation of theft or untruthfullness.

So, why does it work well for other sales:

*they limit items or consignors. If you think about, how many sales let you bring an unlimited amount of items. We calculated that in order to check inventory on every single consignor (1100 of you), it would take between 1/1.5 hours for check in. Was it worse to have people mad about not seeing specifics on what they sold or having people mad that check-in took so long? Also, we had 72 hours to have 1100 people drop off. Most sales have a max of 300 people and the same amount of time.

*they don't do restock. Again, in order for the system to go live, we have to shut the sale down, which means people would not be able to restock like they do at Encores North. I personally believe that restock is one of the main reasons the sale stays so busy throughout the week.

So back to why the new owners did it the way they did? Well, quite simply, it's a learning process. They are still trying to figure the whole thing out and MCM has come right out and told us that we are one of the largest chain of sales they have ever worked with. It's not that they want your sales to be some big secret, but figuring out how to balance all of the points above and keeping everyone happy is tricky. Should you have been notified before? Yes. And I think I can tell you that they are sorry you weren't. No one likes change and change is handled best when everyone is in the know. I can promise you it wasn't intentional.

So why should you trust the new owners? Well, I'll tell you that I do. They have ran a successful sale in the Nashville area for 18 years and are bigger and stronger than ever before. They've given complete control to Natalie who proved to me for 2 years that she is very capable to manage this sale. I personally put over $25K in inventory in the sale and I can promise you I would have never done that if I was worried about not getting paid. No way. I can also tell you that although I love the owners of other sales in this area and have participated in many of them, I have yet to find another sale where I can sell the items for the prices I put and sell the majority of my items like I do at Encores North. I sell things there close to retail sometimes and boy, am I glad I do! That money goes towards clothing my kids and buying more inventory for future sales.

So all that to say, I'm glad you guys are expressing concerns and I know the new owners are always considering new ways to make the sale better and better. I just wanted to take a few minutes and explain why things were done this time. Don't forget, half price is Friday and Saturday and I can promise you there is still TONS of great bargains (AND all the NEW GYMBOREE AND BOUTIQUE is going HALF OFF!). Have a great week and thanks for reading this far :) Brea

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brea's Favorite Things: Day 1 Drop Off

So as many of you know, this is my first official sale where I am no longer the owner. Although I sold the sale in January, I was still acting as the owner for the Spring sale while I transitioned Natalie into the full time manager role. I honestly wondered how I would feel for the Fall sale...would I regret my decision to sale, would I miss it, would I be emotional?

Well, it turns out I worried for nothing. As I watched my sweet Natalie effortlessly fill my shoes in her new role, I realized that was God's way of giving me peace that I had made the right decision. The fact that she let me work all 3 days of drop off so that I could see all of you, hug your necks and get to work during the madness made all those sad feelings drift away. Getting to see all of you today and your excitement about the new location and the amount of stuff there made me giddy and I loved the fact that I walked out tonight just as stress free as I felt when I walked in this morning.

It truly meant the world to me that so many of you hugged me, loved on me, brought me coffee, asked about the kids and Jonathan. I truly think what sets Encores North apart from other sales is that we truly are like family and I am so blessed that you stuck with Encores North even though our family tree has changed a bit. Connie and Russie are so excited that you guys have embraced them so openly and man, the changes they have made are AH-MAZ-ING.

So, all that to say, I may not be the owner, but the sale will always be my baby so by golly, I'm doing my top 5 favorite things of the day each night. I hope my posts will inspire you to tell EVERYONE about this amazing sale :)

A couple of housecleaning things to note first:
1. When you arrive to drop off, come in and check in first before you haul anything out of your car.
2. After your items have been inspected, PLEASE put all your clothing items out in the appropriate size and do it as quickly as possible. People with appointments after you are waiting on the racks to load their items in. If you wish to browse, bring your rack up front and then go back to look at items.
3. On that note, PLEASE keep your kiddos with you at all times while you browse. We are working out tails off and we really don't need kiddos playing on toys. Also, DON'T hide any goodies you might want. If security finds you hiding items, you will be approached and besides, it's just not cool. Everyone should have equal opportunity to shop and it's not fair to give yourself an advantage. If we find workers hiding anything, they will not be allowed to work again.
4. On that note, if you want to be the first to shop for all those must haves, come work some shifts. It takes all of our amazing volunteers to pull off a sale of this size and we are really a cool group of hot mommas (yeah, I've had a lot of coffee today) so come hang with us! It's great "adult" time where you get to get some exercise and meet new friends instead of wiping booties and talking baby talk at home. PLUS, you get to shop before the consignors!

So, now the part you are waiting for...Brea's TOP 5 for Monday, September 19th:

1. Replica antique metal car $50-this will fit a toddler and is PERFECT for portraits-so COOL!
2. Double (yes, I said DOUBLE) jogging stroller $24 (I know, right!)
3. Awesome Little Tikes play mountain for hot wheels $4 (see pic above)
4. Matilda Jane outfits that are brand new with tags in size 2. Ruffle pants were $12, three piece sets $15. Um, yes, I LOVE this since I am now selling MJC :)
5. Awesome Little Tikes slide $12
 and because I can, I'm adding 5 more :)
6. Little Einsteins Pat the Rocket with all the figures $7 (sorry ladies, my Mary Elizabeth has already claimed this...she's convinced her little brother is Quincy)
7. Mini Boden boys heavy coat in size 3/4 $20
8. multiple cozy coupes from $10 each
9. multiple awesome toy boxes from $15 each
10. AMAZING cream colored wooden crib. Would be a perfect crib to pass down from generation to generation and it converts to a full bed. $285 and BEAUTIFUL, your little princess will love it :)

Ok, I promise I will shut it, but just to give you an idea...we had about 325 drop off today, we have 1700 registered and we already have 16 racks of boys 4T. Yep, it's going to be a good sale :)