Grandmother finds consignment sales offer more than a time to shop

Carol Russell of Walland hangs out with her grandson, Rhett Butler, age 3, in the living room-turned make-shift retail warehouse, as she prepares to sell items in the Duck Duck Goose consignment sale. The event will be held April 14-18 (closed Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and located in Knoxville next to West Town Mall, in the former Kmart building.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Carol Russell of Walland hangs out with her grandson, Rhett Butler, age 3, in the living room-turned make-shift retail warehouse, as she prepares to sell items in the Duck Duck Goose consignment sale. The event will be held April 14-18 (closed Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and located in Knoxville next to West Town Mall, in the former Kmart building.

Consignors tag items with detailed index cards where colored markings and barcodes give the sellers credit for 70 percent of their sales.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Consignors tag items with detailed index cards where colored markings and barcodes give the sellers credit for 70 percent of their sales.

Seasonal consignment sales have changed the way moms shop for their kids.

There are many reasons to participate in consignment sales that are held in churches and other retail locations throughout the region. Primarily, moms participate in consignment sales because they can sell clothing, toys, books, furniture and other items their children have outgrown, and then use what they’ve earned to purchase what their children need.

Along with moms, there are also large populations of grandmothers who shop consignment sales.

Carol Russell of Walland does more than shop for things for her grandchildren, she also sells items as a hobby. Five years ago, Russell participated in the Duck, Duck Goose sale in Knoxville, the largest consignment event in Tennessee. DDG offers a sale in the spring and one in the fall. The DDG spring and summer event will be held April 14-18.

Russell’s son, now 25, was deployed to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. “I didn’t do well, so I started getting busy and honoring veterans.”

Russell created and organized the “Proud to be an American” parade in Maryville. She purchased a large assortment of red, white and blue outfits for children who wanted participate. However, many children arrived with their own patriotic outfits.

“There was a huge amount of clothes left, and I wanted somewhere to move them where they could be used. My daughter heard about Duck, Duck Goose, so I looked into it.”

She says after meeting two of the founders, she decided to participate because they not only provide low-cost items for children but also donate to several charities throughout the area.

The sale provided another outlet for her to stay busy during her son’s deployment and help others by donating a portion of the money she earns to the Good Samaritan organization. “I thought ‘this is good too because I can help the Honduras mission.” Russell is a sponsor for a young boy in Honduras and funds his schooling with money she earns from the sale.

Consignors earn 70 percent of their total sales. She said DDG organizers have told her that on average, consignors make about $300. Since she sells a large volume, she has earned two-to-three times that amount, allowing her to donate to Good Samaritan.

Even though her son has returned safely from serving overseas and is now a local police officer, Russell has continued to lead the parade and participate in the Duck, Duck Goose consignment sale. She not only sells parade outfits but also clothing, books, toys and infant equipment her four grandchildren have outgrown.

She begins ironing, hanging and tagging items four to six weeks before the sale while watching TV or listening to music.

Russell says participating in a consignment sale requires organization and attention to detail. DDG has specific requirements about how an item is hung and tagged. For moms who do not have time to prepare items to sell, there are tagging services available. Marketing director, Joy Barnett recommends Stephanie Green who operates a tagging service in Knoxville. Green can be reached at 865-357-1985.

Even though preparing items to sell is tedious, Russell believes shoppers benefit from DDG’s high standards. Along with following guidelines for displaying items, clothing cannot have stains and everything, including toys, must be clean. Russell irons clothing because she says they sell better. She also enjoys putting outfits together and selling clothes and accessories as a set.

Shopping is also rewarding for Russell. “I’ve bought my granddaughter some designer clothes that I would never have had access to and got some really good buys on them. I love that.”

The sale includes clothing and items for kids ranging from newborn to teen-sized clothing.

She said the best thing she has purchased at the DDG sale is a battery-operated car her 3-year-old grandson drives. “Rhett’s Corvette is the best thing I’ve found. It’s a yellow convertible car, all decked out with a radio.” She bought the car for $125 and believes retail would be around $400.

Russell says consignors are encouraged to sell their items for one-third of retail. Along with gently used items, DDG also allows vendors to sell new children’s items, like handmade hair bows and custom outfits. “It’s things you can’t buy just anywhere because somebody has made it, and it is exceptional quality.”

Consignors who volunteer to work shifts become eligible for incentives, like shopping early. Beyond rewards, she says after her shift ends, “I don’t leave. I get over there, and I get to loving it. I’ll stay the whole day.”

When the DDG sale ends, consignors can pick up unsold items or leave them to be donated. She said charities are invited to select leftover items from the store to help children in their programs.

Russell partners with DDG owners as one of many volunteers who make the sale a success because, “I feel good about what I’m doing and what they are doing.”

Consignors must follow specific instructions for tagging items, which includes printing assigned bar codes on mailing labels from their home computer. For more information, visit http://dkdkgoose.com/knoxville/becoming-a-consignor.

The spring and summer Duck Duck Goose event is April 14-18 (closed Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, dkdkgoose.com/knoxville. The sale is located next to West Town Mall in the former Kmart building.

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