Saturday, August 10, 2013

DIY Closet Sale- RACK UP THE CASH!

Do you like my tag line? Pun totally intended.
Over the weekend and into this week I had a major stomach bug. It was probably the sickest I've ever been in my life. Nasty stuff. But thankfully I'm feeling better and looking forward to sharing about a fantastic way to capitalize on your closet!
I threw out a line on facebook on a whim asking if anyone would be interested in shopping my closet, since we're moving and I have to downsize massively. I got a MAJOR response and ended up throwing together a "closet sale" the next day.
What's a closet sale? It's like a garage sale, only selling nice clothing in a lovely setting to wonderful women.
It's just something I sort of came up with and produced 24 hours later, so if I had more time I think it would have been a much bigger production, and I'll try to share some of that with you. First of all, you don't want ladies in your closet (way too crowded- I had 15 ladies at once!) or on your lawn (takes away from the atmosphere), so host your sale in the largest room of your home, generally the living area. Perhaps a finished basement.
Want to make it super profitable? I made $87 in the first 20 minutes! Let's talk about it.
1. Advertisement. 
We have an awesome resource for advertising here, a group for our city that is used to buy and sell items on facebook. It's very common in Michigan and I see lots of "Lansing Rummage Sale", "Detroit Rummage Sale" type groups for individual cities. Check and see if your city has one, because that is the best way to advertise for free! If it doesn't, consider adding one.
Additionally, invite all of your friends, family and co-workers. Create an event page on facebook with a few of your pieces from each category and ask your friends to share it/post it to their walls. Try not to photograph everything, just a few things. Resist the urge. You want to give people a taste so that they come out and see it all. You want people to get in the door, so give them a teaser and draw them in!
Our city has a mailer that goes out with the electric bill, call and see if there's something similar for your city that you can place an ad in. Put it on cork boards in local stores. If you feel really comfortable, post it to Craigslist, I'd suggest at minimum asking people to e-mail for the address vs. putting it up publicly since you're inviting people into the house.
Use signs and all of the other typical sale type advertisements as well. Honestly, though, I only used facebook and had an awesome turnout.
2. Selection. 
In order to justify having a closet sale, you need to have a massive selection that would fill an actual closet. I started with 200+ items of clothing, shoes and bags- not including other accessories like scarves, jewelry and aprons. It needs to look very full and have a variety to appeal to all sorts of women.
Another thing to consider is the season. Your sale should be based around the current and upcoming season. Don't sell heavy, obviously winter items (dark, bulky sweaters for example) in April.
Make sure to have a myriad of price points as well, which I also talk about later. I had about 175 items for $2 and another 30 or so on the "designer rack" that were priced individually between 5 and 20 dollars. This way people of all budgets will be intrigued and come to shop. If you don't think your closet is enough, have a friend (or two) join you! This way you can also introduce more sizes and get more women in the door as well. Remember to advertise for the sizes you have.
3. Display.
I actually bought garment racks (places like Target have them for around $20) to use for displaying the bulk of my clothing.
One of the $2 racks
Try to make the clothes look as appealing as possible- freshly washed and pressed. Hang them the same way I speak about in the CLOSET ORGANIZATION blog, tank tops, tee shirts, long sleeves, skirts, pants, jackets in separate groups and then ROYGBIV'ed. You can refer to the other post for more information, but this helps to make it seem more store-like and attractive and also helps customers quickly identify what they're looking for. You don't want your clothes haphazardly thrown together, this will overwhelm the customer and seem sloppy. People don't want to look sloppy,  so they generally won't shop sloppy. Nothing ripped or stained- toss those items in a "free box" and advertise that as well to draw more people in.
4. Pricing.
It's really hard to sell clothing for a cheap price, isn't it? Every time I threw a shirt in the $2 category, I was reminded of the originally paid price. But it's necessary. What I did was advertise scores of items for $2 and then also a "designer rack" which allowed me to individually price items of good quality and brand which were hardly (if ever) worn.
The shoes in the designer section- most have been worn once or twice, one pair has tags still.
People will come for the $2 items and end up leaving with more expensive ones as well. In fact, I had people come JUST for the $2 rack and leave only with expensive things! Having the majority of items in the $2 range also took pressure off of me to remember prices, create tags or have a calculator for adding up totals. It's pretty easy to count by 2's ;). You don't have to make your price point $2, whatever seems most appropriate for your closet and selection.
For the individually priced items, I used a whole punch and card stock to create tags. I cut out the tags from card stock, wrote the description (Coach Wristlet- never used, $15) and then punched a shape out of the end so that I could stick it over the hanger. You can use a shaped punch with whatever shape you'd like or just use a standard hole punch a few times to create a large enough space. The tags also prevented price switching, which can sometimes be important. If I had more time, I would have printed out the tags, but I had a customer show up nearly an hour early and had to abandon my plans of beauty (as well as eating a quiet dinner with my spouse- no matter how much you try to tell people not to come, they will).
5. Atmosphere.
People are coming into your home. Try to make it as lovely as possible! You want people to feel like YOU, YOUR HOME AND YOUR CLOSET are all appealing- that makes them more inclined to buy. This sounds really shallow, but if it's true. No matter how great your selection is, if you look thrown together or the house is trashed, people aren't going to be as interested. Make sure everything is clean and tidy- including yourself! Consider yourself a model for your own closet line that day and dress appropriately. Do you need to look like a supermodel? No. But if you look very sloppy, ladies may assume your closet is sloppy also.
Scent your home- this was really hard for us with Odette who can't tolerate air fresheners or candles. If you're in that boat try this POST about alternatives for scenting your home.
Make the lighting lovely- take advantage of the natural light or use a few lamps to create some pretty mood lighting.
Play music, it may be awkward if there's only one shopper in your home and a lot of dead silence. Play some pretty music (I used my favorite French playlist) or some more upbeat music (like La Roux) depending on your style. When was the last time you were in a clothing store and music wasn't playing over the speakers? Research has been done! Music is very helpful for creating and inspiring a shopping experience.
Create seating spaces for waiting friends and family. I had women (wisely) bring men with them while they shopped. I also had a lot of moms with daughters or groups shopping together, make comfortable spaces available for people to sit and wait so they aren't pushing shoppers out the door. Also, I had a movie on queue for when moms with small, anxious kids showed up so that they could sit and be entertained as well.
Lastly, you'll want to create a space for ladies to try items on. I used our guest bathroom, made sure it was clean of personal toiletries and had a full length mirror (as well as a hand held mirror) for ladies to make use of. Women really appreciated it. This meant more sales, but you will also lose some sales as women try things on that don't look the way they imagined. I still think it's a courtesy that will be appreciated and inspire them to come back or to come again for a future sale. I had ladies who came several times!
So far this has been a massive success and I'd like to repeat it again. The extra items left over will either be donated/given away, stored for future sales OR sold on eBay, especially the designer items. This did require some set up and advertising on my part, but it was well worth it. If you end up trying one, let me know how it goes!
All the best and as always, thanks for reading!

3 comments:

  1. This is such an informative post with so many great ideas! My favorite? The tags for the individually priced items with the new and "now" prices. And a never used Coach bag for $15? Wish I had been there!

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  2. Love it! I'm so excited to host mine. :) Thanks for the tips!

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