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Why the changes? (Jan 2018)

The goal of every single change we recently made is to either increase the number of consignors or to increase the amount of volunteer hours taking place each sale. I’m not going to bore you with the information we have acquired in studying other sale models, visiting other sales, or talking with other sale owners…but you can trust that our goal is to make Happy Moms the absolute best it can be. However, in order for us to become the best, we must make some changes. We are making changes in our inspection process and our checkout line that you will see at the sale. We also made some changes in the structure of our sale. Here are some of these biggest changes, the reasons for the change…and how we believe it will help improve our sale.

Adding a Paypal Consignor Fee: Since we began in 2014, we have been planning and PAYING for each consignor that registers…even if they do not actually consign. Last sale, that was over 130 consignors. Although I never would have believed this 3 years ago, multiple sale owners that experienced the same thing informed us that their consignor numbers actually increased when they added the prepaid fee. While it may conflict with common logic, statistics show that when people pay even just the smallest of fees, they follow through at a MUCH higher rate. Furthermore, being able to better predict our actual consignor count will allow us to prepare and be more organized at the sale. Our building in Greensboro has recently been large enough that it has not mattered much, but as the need arises for us to find another building or locations in Asheboro, it will be much more beneficial for us to know what size we will need and how to organize on the day we move in. Anyone that sells over $150 in a sale will have $5 added back to their consignor check for that specific sale.

Volunteer Shifts are now 3 hours rather than 4: Many preschools and daycares have schedules that prevent some consignors from being able to fulfill a 4-hour shift. The feedback we received is that the three-hour shift would allow these moms (that WANT to volunteer) time to drop kids off, volunteer, and then pick up the children. However, this change led us to creating a new bonus plan for volunteers. A friend with an awesome sale has approximately 30% more consignors than we do…but TWICE the volunteers. We really like how she structures her volunteer incentives and decided to use some of her ideas. You can read the details here, but the main changes are that you now receive a 5% bonus for 6 hours (2 shifts) and we added another 5% bonus at 12 hours (4 shifts). (One of the reasons we added the ability to do more shifts is because we had a two-shift volunteer basically come to us and say, “I enjoy getting out of the house, I like the organizing, I like meeting new moms, I like being able to shop early…and I will volunteer more if you give me a reason to.”) Here’s your reason: 75% of your sales!!!

Changing the Referral Requirements: One of the reasons we were forced to implement a consignor fee at our very first sale was because we could not allow for consignors to take advantage of our incentives with “fake” consignors that only bring 2 or 3 items. The Disney trip giveaway at 500 consignors also required us to put certain limitations in place. Likewise, the referral program was started with the intent and hope of rewarding consignors for bringing us quality items via consigning moms that enjoy their experience, and then choose to return the next season. It was not intended to allow consignors with a large amount of sales to get a 10% bonus because they referred their son and daughter…both toddlers.” It sounds extreme but 10% can add up when you have several toddlers. =) Another change we had to make was that we will begin enforcing the requirement of a new referral to list the referring consignor’s name at the time of registration. I am not accusing anyone of being dishonest, but it’s too easy to see a mom you know at drop off and then give us the name after the fact. This is unfortunate but it’s a change we must implement beginning this coming season.

We ask that your clothing be sorted by GENDER and SIZE when you arrive at your drop-off appointment. Many larger sales require consignors to put away all of their own items...but we are going to continue helping you with this as long as we can. However, having everything presorted will help us move as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We Now Have Pick-up Appointments: This has never been offered through our online system until now.

On a side note, after studying the top ten national sales (based on popular vote), I found the following:
-every sale had a consignor fee (ranged from $9 to $15)
-the only sale that offered the ability to earn 85% required 24 volunteer hours to do so.
-Most of the sales require the consignors to take the time to put out their own items, asking the consignors to allow up to 90 minutes for their drop-off appointment.
-Many sales (even the most popular ones) do not do a full re-sort of all items.
-All of the re-sorting sales have the consignors go find their own items at pickup.

And while this data is not found online for many sales, most sales in our surrounding area mail checks that consignors will receive multiple days, sometimes weeks, after the sale. I’m not aware of another sale our size that has your check ready in three days. Now, with the ability to make appointments to pick-up, it should become even better (as we learn how to best implement it with our limited timeframe).

As you think of these changes please keep in mind that we still consider ourselves newbies at this. One area of improvement…and a major point of emphasis going forward is going to be on quality, quality, quality! Overall, the more volunteers we have, the better our sale will run…and the more consignors we have, the more the word of mouth will spread to shoppers that will come buy your items. As we continue searching for ways to get better, we will continue to hear your feedback and try our best to be open and flexible. Ultimately, our goal is to grow the sale to the best of our ability and be able to continue making as many happy moms as we can.

Daniel and Allison