Jul 29, 2014

A Different Way to Shop for Children: Consignment Weekend

Itsy Bitsy Thrifty coming to Woburn in October

A Different Way to Shop for Children: Consignment Weekend A Different Way to Shop for Children: Consignment Weekend

After her first child was born, Ann Marie Palmer saved “everything” from her daughter: Clothing, toys and gear, anticipating that if she had a second child, she could use some of what she already had for baby number two. She and her husband, Rob, did have a second child:  a son.

“What do I do,” she said she thought, “with all this (girl’s) stuff that cost a fortune new?”

Then Palmer got an idea.

She’s planning a weekend event in early October so parents can clear out their attics, basements and garages of certain unneeded kids’ stuff and make some money by selling it.

At the same time, buyers can stock up on kids’ stuff relatively inexpensively.

How? By consignment.

Palmer and a former coworker and friend, James Fedas, have worked in retail for a total of almost 20 years. Palmer studied fashion merchandising in college. The Dracut resident said she came up with the idea of a consignment weekend. Palmer and Fedas spent about two years researching the concept, she said, and starting Itsy Bitsy Thrifty. This will be their first event.

They did their homework, developed a website— itsybitsythrifty.com—and visited other similar events.


Giving Parents a Chance to Make and Save Money

“We take only good quality brand name items,” according to the website, “in desirable condition.”

Their service is different from others, according to Palmer, because “We want to treat everyone’s goods like they’re new.”

They also researched and booked a site: The near the intersection of Routes 93 and 128. Palmer’s husband grew up here.  Woburn is accessible from many communities in fewer than 10 minutes and the site is very visible, Palmer said.

Palmer was dissuaded from donating and consigning her child ware, she said in a phone interview last Friday. She said some organizations that she proposed to donate them to said they couldn’t pick them up. Consignment shops accepted only a certain number of pieces at a time and she would have had to keep checking to see if they had sold.

Ninety-nine percent of the people they talked to at other consignment events are buyers as well as consigners, she said.

Sellers, who price their own items, receive between 60 and 75 percent of their total sales at the higher end of that scale if they volunteer to help at the event. Checks will be mailed out within two weeks of the event, according to the website, minus a $10 entry fee. Sellers can see what sold and for what price at the end of the event.

Entry is free for shoppers.


Registration Already Underway

Itty Bitty Thrifty has begun to accept registrations for the event, which will be held on Oct. 7, 8 and 9.

Consigners drop their items off by appointment on Friday, Oct. 7 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., at the Holiday Inn.

Doors will open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and to VIP shoppers—who register before Sept. 1 or over a certain number of items—from 8 to 10 a.m. The event will continue on Sunday morning, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. Consigners may reduce prices on their items on Sunday, Palmer said. Unsold items can be picked up Sunday afternoon between noon and 3 p.m.

Any clothing left over may be donated to Cradles to Crayons, Palmer said. That organization provides local disadvantaged children with “new backpacks full of high-quality, age-appropriate school supplies as well as clothes, shoes, books and other basic essentials they need to feel successful” and thrive at school and at home, according to the Cradles to Crayons website.

There’s another wrinkle to this form of selling and buying, according to Palmer. Besides individuals, PTOs can use the event as a fundraiser, she said, and have their members recycle unneeded children’s items at the same time.

She plans to hold another event in the spring.

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