I haven't let it be a secret that my identical twin sister, Kelly, owns a store in Omaha, Nebraska called Scout: Dry Goods and Trade. It's a buy, sell, trade store (here's the link to the online version of her shop). Twice a year when I switch out my clothes for the new season I create a pile for the items I'm no longer into. If I'm not planning on having a massive yard sale then I bring those items to my local buy, sell, trade store. As I'm sitting there waiting for the staff to go through my items, hoping that they want to buy it all (and for the highest possible price – obviously) I can't help but think that there's gotta be some insider tips on how to get them to buy more of my stuff! After all, that is the point in bringing the items in the first place!
I asked my sister to answer some questions about how to get the “buyers” at the buy, sell, trade shops to buy more of the items that are brought in. Kelly and her shop manager, Emma, answered my questions.
Insider Tips for Buy, Sell, and Trade Shops
And Then We Saved: Please tell us a little about what Scout is and what Scout does.
Scout: Dry Goods and Trade: Scout is an independently owned and operated buy-sell-trade business providing the Omaha area with men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.
ATWS: How does the buy, sell, and trade system work?
Scout: Our buy, sell, trade system is extremely easy. A seller packs up their unwanted items and brings them in to us. No appointment is needed. Then, we take the seller's first name, the bag(s) of clothing, and then we inspect the clothing. When we're done checking out everything we call the seller up by name. We then let the seller know which items we're interested in, and give them a figure for either store credit or cash. Then, the seller can choose store credit and trade what they brought in for something new or take the cash. When we buy, we're looking for items that are in excellent condition, on trend, unique, and vintage.
ATWS: How is your system different than how consignment shops work?
Scout: Consignment is vastly different from the buy, sell, trade system. What we do is pay the seller outright for the clothing and accessories that fit what the store currently needs in its inventory. That way the seller doesn't have to wait until an item sells to collect the money like they would have to with a consignment store. There's no waiting and no gamble on if an item will sell or not.
ATWS: Are there items that people bring in that you ALWAYS buy?
Scout: There are so many variables to this question. To best answer the question, I'd have to stay that we'd never turn down a vintage or new leather cross-body Coach bag in excellent condition. And we never turn down items that have a current runway feel, current uniqueness (not in the sense of overdone craft fare), and we would almost never turn down sublimely constructed garments.
ATWS: What items do people try to sell you that you NEVER buy?
Scout: We always turn down clothing that is in bad or sub-par condition. We want items in the store that a customer can be excited about. Also, we've made a pledge to never buy Crocs or items without a purpose. When we're buying, we always think in terms of maximizing. We ask ourselves, “Is this item exciting?” and “Would I chose this for my best girlfriend or guy friend?”
ATWS: What are some secret tips to get buyers to accept more of your items?
Scout: Between you and me, there is no secret. The “secret” is understanding. Scout is like setting your best friend up on a blind date. You know their aesthetic (or taste), what they want in life and yadayada. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s the wrong season, sometimes it’s too grubby, but you don’t stop trying. You just get a better feel for what they’re looking for. [It’s like a date], so if the person’s not into you, you ask why and work to get it right. There are no hard feelings, you tried, and then nail it the next time.
ATWS: Is there anything the seller can do to persuade you to buy items you originally denied?
Scout: Typically, a seller cannot dissuade us from our decisions. However, that being said, we're never shut off to hearing someone out, and changing our minds if a seller has made valid points. Most of the time though, it's not about persuasion at all. We always accept as many great items as possible that a seller brings in.
ATWS: Does how the seller dress or act affect how much you buy from him or her?
Scout: Nope. The buying process is solely based upon the items.
ATWS: Is there a better time to bring items in than other times? (For example, first thing in the morning, etc.)
Scout: The best time is around 1:00 in the afternoon because that is when we are always fully staffed.
ATWS: What is the biggest mistake you see sellers making that they could easily avoid, and that would allow you to accept more of their items?
Scout: The biggest mistake sellers make is mixing their ill-conditioned clothing with their acceptable items. It’s like unnecessary fluff that takes time to look through. If you have a feeling that an item is in sub-par condition you're probably right.
ATWS: Any other tips and insights you can provide?
Scout: Out best advice to sellers is to understand what the brand and aesthetic is all about for the store you're trying to sell to. Doing a little research on the shop's social media pages can tell you a lot. Such as what they are currently looking to buy and what current trends and/or vintage they may be into. Your time is money. Make the most of it. And, of course, come see us if you're even in Omaha!;) – Kelly and Emma
Readers – How often do you shop for secondhand and vintage clothing? What are your favorite sources for great finds? Have you found any secrets to getting buy, sell, trade stores to accept more of your items?
P.S. Looking to declutter and minimize? CLICK HERE to learn about the Fearless Minimalist Guide