What Does Earth Day Mean for Consignment?
April 8, 2021
What does Earth Day mean for consignment? It has a lot to do with consignment! Consignment is all about sustainability. We don’t realize how much fashion pollutes the Earth, but it’s time we start talking about it. Shopping consignment is the most sustainable way to shop for clothing. Some of us value being fashionable more than others, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive or harmful to the Earth. Let’s learn a little bit about what fashion does to the Earth and how you can help.
Here are the facts
32 billion garments are produced for the US market each year, and 64% of them end up in landfills. Throwaway fashion culture is depleting resources and overfilling landfills. The single best thing we can do is consume less and reuse more. ThredUp says for their Choose Used campaign with Olivia Wilde. When you click that link, they actually tell you how many items were burned or landfilled since you hit their page. It’s eye-opening. Whether you’re a consignment store owner or shopper, it’s important to know about this.
This information isn’t meant to make you feel bad because even if you’ve shopped your whole life unsustainably, there is something you can do. The first step is to stop throwing away your old clothes. Instead, donate your clothes or sell them. You can use one of the many websites and stores that allow you to sell your secondhand pieces or even call your local consignment or resale stores.
Now, let’s learn about the differences to find the kind of store right for you.
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Consignment, resale, vintage, thrift. What is it?
- Items are loaned to a store. If it sells, the profits are split between the shop and the consignor.
- Immediate cash is exchanged for items immediately, typically a smaller payment.
- Clothing that is 20 or more years old. Typically must be a collector’s item. It’s more challenging to sell clothing to them.
- Clothing that is donated, the brand doesn’t matter.
The biggest difference between consignment and resale is that you have a better chance of making more money; however, it’s not guaranteed that your item will sell. With resale, you get immediate cash, but you are not making as much as you would if you consigned the item. Vintage items are harder to sell because they are looking for collectibles and/or high-end items. They usually get their items from estate sales. Thrift items are very affordable since they’re mainly targeted at people whose only option is affordable clothing. If you’re considering donating rather than selling, donating clothing to thrift stores can actually be tax-deductible.
What can you do as a store owner?
You are already helping our environment a lot by selling consignment, but if you want to do more, here are some ideas:
- Encourage people to drop off items.
- You already purchase items from consignors, but what if you accepted items from anyone? You can come up with a way to allow people to sell or donate items they no longer use. This is similar to the way Goodwill works which is free, and Plato’s Closet pays customers for their clothes.
- This will obviously look different depending on what kind of shop you have.
- Have a recycle clothing event
- If you enjoy the idea above but don’t want to do it often, make it into a monthly, quarterly, or annual event.
- Have a donation event
- If you want to help but don’t want to take as much responsibility, consider teaming up with a local charity and host an event where people bring items and the items go directly to that charity.
Shopping sustainably allows you to look great on a budget while helping the Earth. If you want to learn more, here is another blog you might find helpful.
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