If you love the idea of instant cash but think selling clothes to a consignment shop feels a little too much like judgment day, then keep reading! The manager of Plato’s Closet in Deptford, Jen Lynch, takes us through their buying process, reveals the systematic approach that goes into every buy, and shows us that selling our clothes at Plato’s Closet isn’t so scary after all.
Know before you go!
The first thing you need to know before selling your clothes at Plato’s Closet is that they are a corporate store, meaning there are written rules that the employees have to follow when buying from customers.
The second thing you need to remember is to not take anything personally! Store manager, Jen, explains, “People get so upset and I totally understand why they do, because the way that you present yourself to the world is through the clothes you wear. And if you bring those clothes to somebody and they’re telling you ‘no’ that’s kind of like saying, ‘well your clothes suck and so do you.’ Nobody wants to hear that.”
Always keep in mind that the associate is not there to make fun of your items or personal style; they simply must take a very particular approach when deciding if an item is worth buying. “You never wake up in the morning and lay your shirt out, fold it flat, check the hems for little holes, then double check for little stains. You don’t do that when you get dressed in the morning, I know I don’t! But that’s what we have to do here for every single thing we take, so stuff that you would never even notice is stuff that we have to pass on.”
The third thing to remember is to do your research! Like any project you take on, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into so that you are well prepared. If you know what the store is currently in need of, the chance of leaving with a pocket full of cash is looking pretty good.
The Big 3
Plato’s Closet looks for three main things when you are selling items to them. The first thing is that the item must be in good shape (no rips, stains, or fading) and is freshly washed. The item needs to be ready-to-wear in order for them to put it out on the sales floor.
The second factor, which happens to be a corporate rule, is that the item has to have been in the stores within the last year to a year and a half. “The way that we check is through the tags in the clothing,” says Jen. “Corporate sends us a lot of pictures for every brand of all their most current tags, and they label them hot, warm, and cold.” The hot labels are the most current ones that are out in the stores right now. Warm labels are items that are still fairly current, but just a little older than what the store is looking for. However, in instances when their inventory is looking a little low they will accept a “warm” item that is absolutely fabulous and in great condition. Cold tags are much older, and they are advised not to buy them.
The third and most crucial thing they look for are styles that sell well. Unlike most consignment shops that make you wait until your item is sold to receive a profit, Plato’s Closet gives you cash right away for your clothing. Because of this it is extremely important that they are taking styles and brands that have been selling well in order to create a successful inventory for their shoppers. If an item in the store is on clearance and has been for a while, it is unlikely that they will buy a similar style again.
If all this seems like too much information to remember, Jen offers some suggestions on making the selling process a bit easier!
(Fun fact: The displays currently at Plato’s Closet, Deptford are based on the religious spring festival celebrated by the Hindus. The brightly colored clothing, accessories, and paint jars represent the Hindu ritual of throwing colored and scented water and wearing colorful powder on their bodies.)