Considering Furniture Consignment? Tips & Expert Advice

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When faced with unwanted furniture in your home in the past, have you always just gone the Craigslist or give-it-away route? We asked a couple of experts — consignment store owners — to give us the reasons why you might want to choose to consign your furniture instead, as well as share their suggestions on what information to gather before approaching a consignment shop.

Good Consignment has recently launched in Austin, and owners Stephani Rose and Stephanie Matthews shared some insight into the process of consigning furniture for anyone who may have questions or be intimidated by the idea.

WHY CONSIGN
Furniture consignment isn't for every furniture piece (say like, your leftover college furniture or a severely damaged item). But if you have a piece of vintage or antique furniture you no longer want, have inherited a piece that isn't your style, or are sick of paying the fees on a storage container full of furniture you haven't used in awhile, you might want to enlist the help of a consignment store over trying to sell it yourself. A few reasons why consigning could be a good idea for you:

Reach a larger audience of potential buyers willing to pay
If you've got a valuable piece of furniture, going through a consignment shop means you'll reach buyers looking for well-designed and made furniture — and willing to pay for it.

Time-saving convenience
You'll deal with the consignment shop — not field calls and emails from interested buyers.

No strangers coming to your home
Though the actual dangers of selling through Craigslist are pretty slim, you still have to meet a stranger at your home or storage unit and haggle over a price.

What consigning and Craigslist have in common
They both free up space for your new decorating project. If you've filled up your home but want a new look or have inherited a furniture piece that isn't your style, consigning your gently-used but fabulous furniture could get you more money to enjoy new designs.

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GATHER INFO ABOUT YOUR PIECE
Here is a list of the basics Stephanie and Stephani suggest you have on hand when you contact a consignment shop or online showroom. All these things help consignment shops better establish pricing and give the most information possible to clientele.

  • Photos! This is obvious, but we recommend you take as many as possible. The most important things are any wear or damage. We know nothing will be pristine, but we can’t best evaluate it unless we know what its true condition is.
  • Know when it was made if possible.
  • If it is an upholstered item, note if the upholstery is original and what its condition is (and take photos of wear to fabric/leather and any exposed metal or wood).
  • Research who the manufacturer was and locate any tags or labels on your item (take a photo of this too!).
  • Try and locate the original bill-of-sale if possible (It can help verify the manufacturing time frame, usually lists the specifications of the item, and lets us know what the market value for the item was when you purchased it).
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WHAT TO ASK BEFORE YOU CONSIGN
Once you have contacted the consignment showroom about your items, you should request the terms of the consignment agreement in writing. Make sure you have answers to these questions before entering into an agreement:
  • What is the consignment term?
  • How long will your item be consigned?
  • What is the split of proceeds between you and the consignment shop?
  • Will your item be marked down over time if it does not sell at its original price?
  • What happens to your item at the end of its consignment should it not sell?
  • When your item sells, when should you expect payment?

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THINGS TO REMEMBER
A few last tips from Good Consignment:
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request clarification! You should feel comfortable that you are consigning with someone who is happy to help you understand the process.
  • Once you’ve agreed on the consignment terms and signed the contract, you can start your consignment. Usually, it’s the consignor’s responsibility to deliver, or have delivered, the consigned items, and they should be free of dust and cobwebs when they arrive.
  • When you make arrangements to drop off your piece, be sure to find out if assistance will be provided to help you unload — that way you can bring an extra set of hands if you need them!

Have you ever sold furniture through a consignment shop or online showroom? What was your experience like? Have any advice for folks thinking about consigning furniture for the first time? Or have a favorite consignment shop in your area you'd like to recommend? Leave it in the comments below!

(Image credits: Courtesy of Good Consignment)

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