I get asked “Is now a good time to open a consignment or resale shop?” a lot.
Setting aside the current kerfuffle about CPSIA and its making basically everything that people 12 and under use or wear economically impossible to resell, and looking optimistically forward to the sensible voiding and rewriting of this well-intended law…
Whether now’s a good time to start a secondhand store has more to do with YOU than with the economy.
Are you ready to run a shop? Do you have the time, the focus, and the physical and mental energy to be there, 50-70 hours a week? Is your family behind your expenditure of focus? Or, if you won’t be in the shop yourself, do you have the resources to deal with staff?
Do you have set-up money? While Too Good to be Threw: The Complete Operations Manual for Resale & Consignment Shops shows a reasonable budget for lease expenses, utility deposits, sign and fixture costs, fixing up your location to suit your new shop’s image, advertising monies, equipment and supplies all add up awfully fast.
Do you have a financial cushion? Six months’ of personal living expenses. Plus 6 months’ shop overhead above and beyond that set-up money mentioned in the previous paragraph. Just sitting somewhere, available to use if needed.
Yes? Terrific! Now, what you need to do is start BIG.
That’s what I said. Start BIG. Make a BIG splash, jump into the ring all warmed-up and ready to TKO every competitor, from the other resale shops in your area to the new-merchandise stores whose customers you covet.
With all the media attention on resale, there are more folks willing to explore it. But these folks have great expectations, and you need to get your shop up to speed fast to win their business and their loyalty.
What’s the sense of reinventing the wheel? Of fumbling around trying to decide what your next ad or broadcast email should say? Of learning from your own mistakes (which can cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars) instead of using others’ knowledge to get your business off the ground and soaring immediately? Why fiddle…when your business could be burning?
There’s a wealth of knowledge out there for you that will make you more money, faster. Which will reward your hard work quickly. Which will serve your community and make your family proud of you (and past co-workers jealous!) For general retailing knowledge, I’ve listed some generic books I like. For specific info for consignment, resale, and thrift storekeeping, TGtbT.com , the Professional Resaler’s site, has a taste of what you need to START BIG, and its Products for the Professional Resaler has it ALL.
So, yes, if you’re ready, now’s an excellent time to open a shop.