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.
There are 4 divisions in Transitional Design.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joe Schroeder, co-owner of Just For You Shoppe in Grand Rapids, Ohio, likes the idea of knowing more about women’s handbags and apparel than any guy should ever know or admit. It means he and his business partner, Stephanie Ringler, are a well-oiled machine. Thanks to Stephanie’s knowledge of fashion merchandising and Joe’s business sense, Just For You Shoppe is 16 years and counting.
I just wanted to own my own business. When the owner of a local consignment shop was selling their business, Stephanie and I decided to jump on it! When we first opened, the bulk of our business was children’s apparel and infant furnishings. Since 2008, we’ve switched to home decor and women’s apparel. Stephanie and I are a true team. We really learn from each other which takes away the weirdness of being a man in this industry.
We weathered a couple of rough years after a strong start. You have to be prepared to learn. You can’t go into business, especially resale, as a jaded “expert.” You have to be willing to take advice, listen to your customers and consignors, and make your business your life.
Success to us is a compliment accompanied by growth. Hearing people talk positively about our Shoppe puts a smile on our faces. Obviously, though, we’re a business and the bottom line is of utmost importance. If there isn’t monthly growth, we start looking closely at our business. Is the quality of our goods the same? Is our staff consistent in their delivery of customer and consignor service? Was the weather significantly different? We expect growth each month and we’ve achieved it.
I’m a treasure hunter! The fun of consignment is truly never knowing what’s going to be on the floor from one week to the next. As a “flea market picker,” diving into our intake boxes is always a thrill. It’s fun and exciting. I can’t wait to “retire” so I can spend more time working at the Shoppe!
We were the first of our kind in the area. It was disheartening to hear, “Oh, it’s just used stuff.” We’ve countered with beautiful displays, attractive windows, plus seasonal and swing shop changes so that people can’t help but stop in. We constantly experiment with different lines and are always on the move.
The combined power of SimpleConsign’s POS and consignment management has eliminated costly errors and given us so much more free time to be on the floor doing what we love. The program paid for itself in the first year by helping us discover an employee theft situation. We lost thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise. We would have never caught on had it not been for using SimpleConsign. I can honestly say there isn’t a single thing I dislike about SimpleConsign.
I’d like to have a thicker shell and be able to stick to my guns more. I don’t care for conflict. I like to see people happy and pleased. Sometimes, this allows people to walk all over me and take advantage.
My family. My wife and children mean the world to me. They make me proud every day. I consider their success my success and biggest accomplishment.
Be sure to head to the Facebook Page for Just For You Shoppe and give them a “Like.” Leave them a message while you’re at it.
To hear about another wonderful resale partner of ours, read, Resale Partners: How Kari’s Treasure Trove was 23+ years in the making.
Life can take some interesting twists and turns, can’t it? Such is the case for Kari Thompson, co-owner with her daughter Catt of Kari’s Treasure Trove in Newman, CA. When Kari became a mom, she immersed herself in homeschooling and volunteering for 13 straight years. But, when the economy took a downturn, she found herself in need of extra income. During a stint as a bus driver with their local school district, Kari realized she wasn’t living the life she had dreamed of. It was time to start planning for the future. With a few more years of research and a little more dreaming, Kari’s Treasure Trove was born.
I empathized with my artist friends and family who struggled to get exposure for their wonderful items. Venues for the Arts are difficult to get into. After researching different business models, the startup cost, risk and liability for a consignment art business was relatively low. With consignment, you control the inventory standards. Artists and secondhand consignors take care of the supply.
Hold onto your money for as long as possible. We learned that lesson the hard way. A couple of months before we opened, we paid our deposit on our lease, our business insurance, our business license and the California State Attorney General Secondhand Seller’s Certificate fees. Plus, we started our paid subscriptions such as SimpleConsign, ADT, Spotify and newspaper ads. Unbeknownst to us, the building we were leasing would not be issued an occupancy permit, due to recent renovations, for over 2 months! It was a huge drain on our reserves.
I wanted to tie my business into our community and become an outlet for local artists. Both artists and art lovers thank us for making an artisan gallery locally accessible. Our artists and secondhand consignors like to hear how their treasures found a new home and our shoppers enjoy learning about the origin of their purchase.
It can be difficult for a consignor to hear that the amount of money they paid for an item isn’t even a starting point for current value. Some consignors feel offended. It can be very awkward. By contrast, artists are generally the most understanding if their price points aren’t a good fit for our community and usually adjust their prices.
It’s all in the numbers. With the help of SimpleConsign, we track as much data as possible. We only add our traffic count and then calculate our conversion rate. The higher that number, the more successful we are. Personally, when people enjoy themselves and linger, I can’t help but feel successful.
We currently lease approximately 1800 square feet, 1500 of which is sales floor. We don’t rent booth space or charge buyers/sellers fees. All items are on consignment. Here is the formula we use to price our merchandise. It’s also clearly listed on our website:
Hourly wage ($) ÷ 60 minutes x minutes to make an item + materials cost = Wholesale Price (i.e. $10 ÷ 60 minutes x 45 minutes + $50 materials cost = $57.65 Wholesale Price)
Hourly wage ($) x hours to make an item + materials cost = Wholesale Price (i.e. $10 x 15 hours + $150 materials cost = $300 Wholesale Price)
Kari’s Treasure Trove consignment fee is a 55/45 split (55% to Consignor / 45% to Store)
(Base price x 45/55) + Wholesale Price (i.e. $57.65 x .82 + $57.65 = $104.92)
$$ wanted ÷ .55 = Retail Price (i.e. Consignor wants $250 for item: $250 ÷ .55 = $454.55 Retail Price)
Excellent condition: Up to 70% of current price for a new item Good condition: Up to 50% of current price Average condition: Up to 30% of current price
I see myself here, with my daughter Catt, in our shop. I hope to have generations to come work here.
Be sure to head to the Facebook Page for Kari’s Treasure Trove and give them a “Like.” Leave them a message that you’re glad to be with them on #TeamTraxia!