1. What is a furniture consignment store?
Consignment shops take gently used goods from some customers and sell them to others. The revenues from the sale are split between the store and the customer who originally owned the product. In this way, consignment shops give another life to products that might otherwise go to a landfill. One of the very attractive aspects of running a consignment store is that your entire inventory costs you nothing. You do not pay the owner of the article until it has sold…in other words, until you have money in your hand for exactly that item. You are simply providing the marketplace for buyers and sellers of gently used items.
Consignment, resale and thrift shops number in the 25,000 range in the U.S. alone. The combined industry value is roughly $1.5 Billion, and the industry represents a real opportunity for shoestring startup entrepreneurs who have a passion around a particular hobby or lifestyle such as fashion, games, sports, etc.
In the case of a furniture consignment shop, there are always families and individuals looking to save significant amounts of money rather than paying a premium with new furniture that will make up the majority of your clientele. Gently used, up-to-date furniture sells well for the right price, be it dressers, curios, nightstands, couches, etc. Used bedding, however, is a touchy subject you might want to simply avoid.
2. What required knowledge or skills are necessary?
There are no formal educational or training requirements for this job. However, the work is strenuous and requires that the worker be able to be on their feet for extended periods of time, be well-organized, a good ‘people person’, and be able to lift up to 50 pounds.
3. How much money is required to start?
$$-$$$ (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)
4. What is the income potential?
$$-$$$ (on a scale of $ to $$$$$)
5. What is the best location for a furniture consignment store?
Urban (fair), semi-urban (very good), suburbs (very good), rural (poor). You’ll need a fairly sizable showroom, so urban settings, though good markets for this kind of business, are tougher because of higher rental costs per square foot.
6. The best questions to ask yourself to find out if this business is right for you (if you can answer yes to all three, this business might be for you):
Do you know furniture fairly well and have a good eye for what’s good quality and what is a brittle, old-fashioned, or structurally compromised piece?
Can you find an affordable retail space in a neighborhood with much residential turnover, like a university area?
Have you worked in retail enough to know how to lay out a good showroom and allow your customers access to see, touch, and use the furniture as they potentially would at home?
Do you and your friends/family have some high quality items you can use as your initial inventory stock for your grand opening?
Interested in starting one in your community? Where do you begin? What permits do you need? Who is your target customer? How do you find them? What is the best use of your limited advertising dollars? What’s the best way to attract a great employee or volunteer? What does an average day look like? What strategic tips do veteran eco-entrepreneurs suggest for startups like you?
There’s a lot to think about. Rest easy. Our mission is to help you succeed, so drop us a line (Info@GreenBusinessVillage.com). We’ll get you a business planning document to get you on your way for ONLY $199! We also guarantee our work, so if you are not satisfied, you get your money back!*
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