It’s that time of year again – the Just Between Friends Sale is coming to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, March 10-13. I wrote about it from the buyer’s perspective last fall. For the spring sale, I get to cover the seller’s perspective.
I sold a few items at my first sale last year. Last fall, I sold a lot more. Now that we’re moving to New Hampshire this summer, I may break the 300-item threshold. (Anyone with more than 300 items has to make a special appointment to drop off their stuff. I’ll explain why in a moment.)
The first step to consigning is tagging items. Just Between Friends makes it easy to tag your items. It’s all done on the computer. You log and price each item. When you are finished, you select the items and print the tags. You even have printing options when it comes to how many tags to fit on a page. So, let’s say you print the tags for those Hot Wheels your son hasn’t played with in ages, the kid dinnerware, and a bunch of books you loved but your kids didn’t. But then, your friend Annemarie gives you a bag of clothes and says, “Please get these out of my house. I don’t care what you do with them.” You keep the stuff that fits. Then, you can enter the stuff that doesn’t into the JBF web site and just print out tags for that new stuff. It’s genius! The tagging system also keeps track of what sells and at what price.
Just Between Friends provides a pricing guide, with suggestions for every item you might possibly want to sell. I always price my stuff lower, because I want it to sell quickly. Also, on the last day, items are half price by default. You can specify that you don’t want your item to marked down, and it appears on the tag. I’d rather sell something for $8 at full price than $10 at half price (that is, $5).
What’s it like consigning items at the Just Between Friends Sale? It’s kind of overwhelming for a first-timer. The line of consignors can go out into the parking lot of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds hall. You’ll see people holding a pile of clothes, people pulling multiple wardrobe racks behind them, people sliding towers of bins ever closer towards the door. But the first thing you do: Bring one item to the table at the front door. The volunteer will give you a form to fill out and scan your item to confirm your consignor number.
After you submit your form and one item, you go get the rest of your items and you stand in line. The line actually moves pretty fast, because there are several volunteers inside, checking items. The Just Between Friends volunteers are very picky about what goes out on the floor. They want high-quality resale merchandise, not your stained overalls and broken toys. They look over each item carefully to ensure that it is acceptable. My first time in, there was a stain on the elbow of one of the shirts I brought in. It was rejected. My second time in, nothing was rejected. I’m very proud of that.
This inspection is why consignors of more than 300 items must make a special appointment to drop off what they intend to sell. Can you imagine being the person who has a dozen outfits to sell standing behind the mom moving across the country who is getting rid of everything nonessential?
After your items are inspected, you go out and put everything on the floor. This also gives you a chance to scope out what’s already there. The entire hall is very well organized. Everything is labeled. It’s not just a “toys” table, it’s “this section of the table is for Sesame Street toys, this section is for Disney, this section is for Barbie” and so on. Clothes and shoes are organized by sex and size. There is special rack for costumes and dress-up. The only areas that aren’t so well organized are books and stuffed animals. Those areas are kind of a free-for-all in terms of set up.
If your items don’t sell, you have the option of coming to pick them up or allowing the sale to donate them to charity. The remains of the spring 2015 sale went to the Lake County fire victims, for example. Both times I’ve consigned items, all of them have sold, except the stuffed animals.
The Just Between Friends Sale is March 10 through 13 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
Thursday, March 10
12:00 – 8:00pm Open to the Public. $3 Admission.
Friday, March 11 (NEW merchandise arrives!)
9:00am – 8:00pm Open to the Public. $2 Admission
Saturday, March 12
9:00am – 3:00pm Open to the Public. FREE Admission
Sunday, March 13
9:00am – 2:00pm 50% OFF PUBLIC SALE. Free Admission
For more information, go to the Just Between Friends web site.
A note for Rebecca and any members of the SSS (Facebook swap group): I never consign anything that may have come from Tessa or the SSS. If I don’t remember where I got it, I assume it’s Tessa’s or from the SSS and it goes either to a friend here or back on the SSS.
Disclosure: I did not get paid for this blog post. I do, however, get to go to the sale one hour earlier than the consignors for the presale.
Photos courtesy of J. Hundley, Just Between Friends