GUIDE: Buying Women’s Clothing, Footwear, Jewelry and Accessories for Resale
- 1 WOMEN’S BUYING GUIDE
WOMEN’S BUYING GUIDE
This Guide is provided as part of the NextGen Pricing System
The NextGen Women’s Pricing System provides suggested prices for jewelry, accessories, footwear and apparel in women’s, juniors, and plus sizes. It is designed to suggest a Max, Mid and Min “Right” SELL price–the price at which an item can be expected to sell within sixty (60) to ninety (90) days, 75 days on average.
The NextGen Pricing System provides suggested prices for over 10,000 brands and 100 categories (types) & subcategories (styles) of items. The System also tracks Prices by size (juniors, women’s and Plus-size) Finally, the system provides for price adjustments considering item condition as discussed in the Where to Set the Price section.
The suggested “Max”, “Mid” and “Min” SELL prices are a product of the item Category and subcategory (if any) and the rating of the item brand. The NextGen Pricing mechanics are relatively simple and are explained under the Pricing System HELP Tab.
THIS COMPANION BUYING GUIDE discusses the considerations involved in deciding What to price i.e., what to purchase or accept on consignment for resale, and where in the Suggested price range to Set the price.
But before looking at either, a brief look at the System’s foundation.
The prices suggested by The NextGen Women’s Fashion Pricing System are based on sales data from a select number of successful consignment shops throughout North America. Retail prices are checked as well, but solely to alert NextGen to possible incorrect ratings of selected brands and related prices, which for a variety of reasons rise and fall over time.
In the case of the common and lesser brands found in shopping malls, strip malls and Bargain shops, large and small, online and off, retail prices are reliable predictors of “right” consignment shop prices. However, in the case of brands found in boutiques, high-end department stores and especially in the case of exclusive designer brands, retail prices are less reliable predictors of the “right (successful) selling price.” While the right resale price invariably declines as a percentage of retail with the rise in brand levels (prices), the relative decline varies by brand.
Right prices for particular brands also rise and fall over time–mostly fall–and we’re seeing the drops increasing both in frequency and extent. NextGen’s continued monitoring and analysis of resale sales by category, brand and price has thus proven imperative.
Nextgen’s analyses also point to another factor in identifying the right price: the local market. Though we’re seeing a steady increase in the number of stores expanding online sales, most using NextGen’s pricing system serve a local market. NextGen analyzes prices using ongoing sales data as well as data in the year-prior in the case of businesses in operation for some years before moving to NextGen. These analyses show differences in right prices across markets for the higher level brands relating, as might be expected, to family income levels in the local smarket.
Not that it matters! The bottom line effect of the market by market difference in the price levels that can be supported for higher level brands is appearing to be of limited significance. Why? As a rule, the brands carried in stores tend to reflect the family income levels of sellers/consignors and shoppers alike. It’s a match! Shoppers short the incomes able to afford the items offered in any given market are relatively few.
While NextGen is able to suggest right prices for most brands. it is practically impossible to suggest the “right” prices for the high-end (“designer”) brands. The retail price ranges for many, if not most, designer brands are far to wide to reduce to a necessarily-narrow-resale suggested price range. For instance, retail handbag prices for the Designer brands range from – , dresses from to , much of this within the same brand. To address this challenge, NextGen developed a more exacting online price checking utility that works within the Pricing App/POS System. Rather than simply pricing by category, the [CheckIt] utility identifies retail and resale prices for item(s) with characteristics matching those of the specific item being priced.. The use of the [Checkit] price-checking and other utilities are explained in online Help. While [Checkit] may be used to check prices for any brand, in the case of designer brands, the wide-suggested price ranges make it imperative.
What to Price
Items accepted for resale or consignment may be in one of three conditions: 1) Unacceptable, politely termed “No Thank you’s”, 2) Acceptable (gently used), and New.
Only those items accepted need to be priced. Before spending the time to price an item, it makes sense to carefully examine each item, eliminating the no-thank you’s.
No Thank You’s
Screening must be done quickly and carefully—quickly, to save time for the process of pricing, and carefully to avoid time wasted pricing items later found unacceptable. The screening process for apparel and accessories is different than the screening process for jewelry. They are discussed separately.
Jewelry is an integral part of women’s fashion and a natural fit for a smart fashion boutique. Just as it accents an outfit, it accents a store, and can grow to be an important sales and profit center–certainly on a per square foot basis.
As with apparel and accessories, the brand, mark or signature of a piece weighs heavily in its price. Unlike apparel and accessories, the brand, mark or signature cannot often be seen with the naked eye. IMPORTANT: Buy a good jeweler’s loupe. It should be at least a 10X or higher in power. Spend time learning how to use it. It is the most important tool you have to evaluate jewelry.
Jewelry will sometimes carry a brand, mark or signature, sometimes not. Because jewelry is less often seen and less well known in women’s consignment, more time is devoted to the basics of consigning jewelry than would otherwise be the case.
There are two basic categories of Jewelry:1) Fine and 2) Fashion (costume),
Fine jewelry is well made with precious(e.g. Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire) and semi-precious stones (e.g. Garnet, Amethyst, Tourmaline, Topaz, Quartz, Peridot and Opals) and with fine metals like gold, silver and platinum.
Say No Thank You to any piece of fine jewelry that is:
- badly scratched,
- missing stones,
- worn or dirty
- for which there is no brand or mark from a well-known maker (e.g. David Yurman, John Hardy and Tiffany) that can be easily researched, and for which the consignor is unable to provide:
- a receipt or
- appraisal. NOTE: You may wish to accept what appears to be a very high-end piece, on condition that your jeweler verifies and validates the piece. You pass the jewelers fee on to the consignor. Depending upon the complexity of the item, type of stone(s) metal, size and weight; appraisal fees can run to . Intricate, multi-stone and metal item appraisals can run 1% to 5% of the appraised retail value.
Say No Thank You to any piece of fine jewelry that:
- is made of gold w/o the carat mark or traces of one, unless you accept it conditionally pending your jeweler’s determination of its weight.
Fashion jewelry, more commonly known as Costume jewelry is just that…fun and interesting, but not made of fine metals, precious or semi-precious stones. Still, it can carry some of the same prices as pieces made of fine metals, precious or semi-precious stones, i.e. fine jewelry, and may be sold under the same brand names as fine jewelry. Chanel is a case in point. Chanel made jewelry of base metal and paste, synthetic or manufactured stones, priced at hundreds of dollars. Only recently has Chanel started to make true, fine jewelry. The same is true of Ralph Lauren.
Two types of jewelry, by and large falling in the Fashion Jewelry Category, are Vintage Jewelry and Artisan Jewelry. As noted below, to be salable, a piece of artisan or vintage jewelry needs an identifiable signature or mark.
If not, you may search for the piece using Google Images. Enter Images in the Category field and press . In the search box, describe the signature features of the piece as succinctly as possible and search . Alternately, you may snap a pic of the piece and upload that to the search box.
Vintage:Includes jewelry made between 1920 -1980 representing the recognized style of eras (e.g. Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Retro) during that period.
Say No Thank You to any piece of “vintage” jewelry that:
- has stones that are glued rather than prong-set
- is not signed preferably by a sought after designer such as:
- does not have some interesting traits/features that make it appealing or collectible. Note: there is a lot of vintage jewelry that has no real value…it is just old. Do not waste your time on these pieces.
Artisan:Art jewelry is created with a variety of materials, not just precious metals and gems and forms a counterbalance to the use of “precious materials” in regular (fine) jewelry These include wire, sheet metal, granular metals, metal clays, polymer clays, glass rods for bead making, … .
Say No Thank You to any piece of artisan jewelry that is without a mark or signature.
Ask your consignor about the artist. Take your time and look for identifying marks or the artists’ signature. Artists often sign their pieces. This will allow you to search for their name or mark online.
Apparel and Accessories
Say No Thank You to:
- Styles more than 2 years old with the exception of designer classic styles. Bottom line: don’t accept styles you no longer see around town, on TV. Generally, avoid out-of-production, vintage or vintage style (Retro) apparel. If vintage brands/styles are accepted, price them on the low-end of the prices at which like pieces are being sold online.
- Imitations or Fakes. Do not accept or sell. Unfortunately, there are an abundance of fake labels, labels quite easy to purchase. There are some online resources regarding fakes that are worth consulting: Prada, Miu Miu,
- Hand-sewn and hand-knitted apparel.
- Items with zippers that don’t work
- Garments with snags, pulls or holes
- Items that are soiled or stained. Inspect collars and cuffs and the bottoms, corners and inside linings of purses and bags.
- Frayed and pilled garments
- Leather items with cracking (dryness) or any sort of stains, cuts, knicks, … .
- Shoes and boots with worn heels
- Items that have a musty odor or tobacco smell.
- Lingerie, unless New With Tags
- Swim Suits, unless New With Tags
Where to Set the Price
Where to set the price within the suggested price range if a function of 1) Condition, Quality, Supply & Demand.
“New” items–that do not appear to have been worn and typically have tags still attached–are priced at the “Max” suggested price for the applicable category or subcategory. Alternately, if a price tag is affixed to the item, the item may be priced from 40% to as much as 50% of that price.
All other items sold should be in “Like-new”condition.
Other properties notwithstanding, items bought outright or taken on consignment for resale must be in excellent (like new) condition is priced at or around the suggested mid price.
Brands no longer in production quickly lose their cachet (value). While a current brand might command a resale price of 30-35% of retail, an old brand typically realizes 10-20% , … if that.
Note: NextGen’s suggested prices for past brands reflect this drop with one exception: if NextGen’s surveillance of online resale prices identifies an old brand carrying resale prices at or above the expected percent, the “MAX, MID, MIN” suggested prices as opposed to the “max, mid, min” suggested prices are displayed, effectively inviting the user to check the online prices themselves to inform a pricing decision (see Online Help). The online resale prices for these brands may range from designer level 1 price levels to prices far below.
While brand is generally a proxy for quality, there’s no substitute for a hands-on appraisal of an item’s quality. Consider: 1) the value of the material of which the item is comprised, 2) any embellishments and 3) level of workmanship.
The variety of materials making up today’s apparel and accessories continues to increase. There has been a notable increase in recent years of synthetics and blends, and the substitution of less expensive for more expensive materials.
There are three (3) principal types of material comprising Women’s apparel and accessories. They are: Fabric, Fur, and Leather. Each type exists in a number of forms, the relative value of which can help decide whether the final price should be higher or lower than the suggested price. Where an item is comprised of more than one type of material, consider the principal material of which it is made, or the material that holds the highest value– i.e. ‘leather’ in the case of a leather coat with fur collar and cuffs.
The signs of material quality to be considered and their effect on pricing are listed below.
If the fabric is:
- Polyester, rayon, flannel, felt, cotton, acrylic, or ramie > lower the price
- Silk, wool, silkscreens, natural fibers, velvet, tafftetas, Satin, Spandex, Lurex, Tartan plaids > elevate the price,
- Flimsy (thin) compared to items of like material and weave in the Range > lower the price
- Generous (thick) compared to items of like material and weave in the Range > elevate the price
- Stiff, harder to the touch compared to items of like material and weave in the Range > lower the price
- Giving, softer to the touch compared to items of like material and weave in the Range > elevate the price
If the Fur is:
- Lynx, Chinchilla or Sable – price the item in the top third of the price sub-range
- Mink – price the item in the middle third of the price sub-range
- Raccoon, Beaver or Fox – price the item in the bottom third of the price sub-range
- Rabbit or Faux – price the item at or near the bottom of the sub-range
If the hide is:
- Ostrich, Alligator, Eel, Snake – price the item in the top third of the price sub-range
- Cow, Deer, Lamb, Pig, Goat AND is soft relative to other items of like leather in the sub-range – price the item at the high end of the middle third of the price sub-range
- Cow, Deer, Lamb, Pig, Goat BUT hard relative to other items of like leather in the sub-range – price the item in the bottom third of the price sub-range
- Faux Leather and item not labeled as such, but embossed to resemble alligator, snakeskin, ostrich and other forms of leather – price the item at the bottom of the price sub-range.
that can distinguish and raise or lower the selling price of apparel, shoes and belts and accessories include:
- Beading – glass more so than plastic
- Rhinestones – Multi-faceted stones (i.e. Swaroski,…) over Russian Czech stones.
- Lace Overlay
- Beautiful Buttons
- High quality hardware on purses & belts
- Exquisite Embroidery
- Extraordinary design & cut
- Applique work
- Creative Detail
- Chain links
- Tribal figures
Some styles are more popular and/or pricey than others, e.g. dress pants versus casual, skinny jeans versus straight and boot cut jeans.
Lower the price if any of the following of the following signs of inferior workmanship are found:
- Apparel where the weave of the fabric, dense or loose, isn’t smooth and consistent.
- Items with zippers that don’t work smoothly.
- Uneven, poorly or visibly-sewn hem line
- Garments with loose buttons; loosely-threaded button holes.
- Fashion jewelry with stones that are glued-in rather than prong-set.
Label (country & currency)
Raise the price within the applicable price range or sub-range if the Country of Manufacture is one of those listed below–the higher the Country in the list, the higher the price.
3) England (UK)
You might also raise the price within the applicable range if the label is current (this year), which may be determined by style and/or label date.
Supply & Demand
In the final analysis, the final price comes down to supply and demand, three aspects in particular: 1) supply/demand imbalances, 2) customer willingness to pay, and 3) consignment period.
There are some chronic supply/demand imbalances that are common across stores. These are reflected in NextGen’s suggested price ranges. Other imbalances are local in nature. Prices need to be finalized with these in mind.
- Common supply /demand imbalances. There are some supply/demand imbalances we find fairly universal, certainly they are common to those in the NextGen database, e.g. the abundant supply of pants and t-shirts and conversely, scarce supply of couture handbags and dresses (on the coasts), jeans and boots (in the mtns) relative to demand. This drives resale prices in these categories lower or higher than they would be otherwise. The suggested price ranges and suggested prices reflect these imbalances.
- Local supply/demand imbalances. The suggested price ranges do not always reflect local imbalances. If these imbalances are long-lasting in nature, prices should be adjusted toward the top of the range or sub-range for items in short supply and toward the bottom of the range or sub-range for items in over-supply. If temporary, sales and expedited markdowns may be used to restore the balance.
- Willingness/Ability to Pay. There are limits to what women’s consignment shoppers are willing to pay for used apparel and accessories. These limits apply largely to the higher end (levels 1-6) brand apparel and accessories: to a lesser extent, to the lesser brand ranges. These upper limits are reflected in the “max” price figures. Exceeding these upper limits invites a “no sale”.
- Local Experience
While utilizing NextGen’s pricing system will improve pricing, productivity and sales, there is no substitute for local experience in setting a final price at which an item “will sell.” This is because a lot hinges on local customer taste. Taste is inescapably personal and tied to the circles in which we run or know. Factoring taste into the pricing equation is a challenge. Are the sequined, aqua capris gauche or gorgeous? Yet, taste is factored in, at least subconsciously, every time we appraise an item for purchase or consignment.
It is a subjective anticipation of customer demand for this particular item? How attractive is it likely to be to our customer base, all considered? Do we have the opportunity to bump the price a little higher, or do we need to lower it a bit to sell?
- Trending Brands–There is always more demand for current or trending brands and a corresponding increase in the amount customers are willing to pay for them. Watch what is advertised in newspapers or in magazines like “Instyle”.
Closing notes: Considering all of these factors would seemingly take a prohibitive amount of time, time that cannot be afforded considering the margins within which resale and consignment stores must operate. Fortunately, these factors quickly register with savvy and experienced owners and buyers, and are readily (almost subconsciously) applied.
Language counts. Elevate the consumer’s resale experience by using language that supports a business transaction. Sellers do not give you inventory, they “sell.” You do not take inventory you “buy” or “purchase.” You do not give, you “offer.”
It helps to tell a seller what you are “able” or “not able” to do. “I am not able to purchase this sweater because while it is wearable and usable, it is not saleable.” “I am able to “offer” you … for this purchase.” Being “able” or “not able” suggests a higher standard that sets a tone for the transaction.