Resale Partners: Transitional Design gives peace of mind through resale
October 5, 2017
Chris Fagan & her mother, Nancy Sheeler of Transitional Design
Resale partners, Transitional Design, truly puts service ahead of sales
When Nancy Sheeler retired from IBM, resale wasn’t even on her radar. Transitional Design, in Broadview Heights near Cleveland, Ohio, was started out of a desire to serve seniors in her area. “I wanted to help seniors downsize and oversee every aspect of their move. I wasn’t planning on selling anything, but I soon realized that one of their biggest stressors was what to do with everything they could not take with them,” Nancy said. So, out of Transitional Design services eventually came Transitional Design Resale and Traditional Design Online Auctions. Now, after 6 years in the business, Nancy says her expertise in “figuring things out” has paid off.
How does Transitional Design operate between services and sales?
There are 4 divisions in Transitional Design.
- Transitional Design Services. We specialize in seniors, but obviously, work with anyone. We handle everything from complete estate closeouts to “aging in place” services which helps the senior de-clutter. If someone is moving, we help them sort, pack, move, clean and settle into their new location.
- Transitional Design Resale. Our resale shop is 15,000 square feet. Nearly 70% of the inventory comes from our downsizing customers. The other 30% is outside consignment.
- Transitional Design Online Auctions. We generally run 2 to 3 online auctions each week. We’ve had everything from mid-century furniture to cars and motorcycles.
- Transitional ReDesign. Local artists paint furniture pieces and re-purpose them or give them a face lift. These finished pieces are sold in the resale showroom.
What have you learned about the resale business over the years?
We started with our online auctions first, but quickly realized items were selling way too low. We decided to open our resale store, Transitional Design. Literally, you could have read an entire book between customers that found their way into the store that first year. None of us had experience. Basically, we just played a guessing game on prices. We also allowed customers to negotiate prices in the beginning. Not anymore! We’re pretty savvy about resale prices in this area now.
Has your business model been a success?
Five years ago, Transitional Design grossed $30,000. Today, we have a gross revenue of $1.5 million. When an item comes to Transitional Design Resale, it will remain on the sales floor for 2 months before we discount it. If the item doesn’t sell in 3 or 4 months, it goes to our online auction. Practically everything sells once it hits our auction. We donate only about 1% of our overall inventory and that’s mostly clothing items.
How do you handle the emotional side of senior care management?
I have an amazing staff. Transitional Design employs almost 30 hourly staff members who do everything from assist customers to move heavy pieces of furniture. We work with a lot of people in extremely emotional situations, but it’s rewarding to provide much-needed peace of mind.
What’s the most interesting item you’ve had for sale?
One of our very first jobs was for a hoarder. We’ve actually had a few of those, but nothing requiring a hazmat suit… yet. This particular hoarder had collected coins which turned out to be worth over $800,000! Other than that, we’ve sold 3 camel saddles. (I guess there’s a large need for camel saddles in Ohio)
If you’d like to learn about other wonderful SimpleConsign Resale Partners, read How Kari’s Treasure Trove was 23+ years in the making and Treasure hunting became a livelihood with Just For You.
I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for over 40 years. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Director for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.
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