Perhaps you’ve inherited a Chippendale escritoire from a distant relative but can’t find a place for it among all your cherished art deco pieces. Or maybe you’ve collected Tiffany lamps in the past, but recently your tastes have shifted to Majolica pottery. If either one of these scenarios describes you, then you should consider consigning your antique furnishings. Consigning antique furnishings is a fun and rewarding way to indulge an interest in antiques. And you may just realize a tidy profit in the bargain.
Before you decide which pieces of antique furniture to consign, visit a few consignment shops to determine what kind of furniture they are interested in. Does the shop specialize in twentieth-century American vintage furnishings? Or does it feature only Victorian or Shaker household goods? Does the consignment shop carry large pieces, such as cabinets and tables, or only small goods like appliances and lamps? It is important that you do the necessary reconnaissance of visiting a shop before bringing in photographs of the furniture you want to consign, because you’ll save yourself a lot time if you know the particular preferences of the consignment shops you plan on approaching.
Tips for Restoring Antique Furniture for Consignment
Once you’ve found a consignment shop that you think is likely to take your antique furniture, go home and examine your furniture for any flaws. The following imperfections are the most common sort:
- Mildew on wooden furniture. Clean any mildew off with one cup water mixed with one tablespoon bleach and one tablespoon dish washing detergent.
- Tarnished brass handles on trunks and dressers. Remove tarnish with a paste composed of equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Rub on brass with a soft cloth, and then rinse completely. Shine with a soft cloth.
- Unpleasant odors from chest of drawers or armoirs. Remove odors with cat litter or baking soda.
- Discoloration of ceramics. Remove discoloration with soap and water only. But be careful: wipe gently with a soft cloth if the pieces are damaged.
- Odd bits of adhesive or tape. Remove adhesive or tape with lemon juice.
- Discoloration of ivory. Buff discolored antique ivory with a woolen cloth.
- Stuck or frozen clock parts. Lubricate and clean antique clocks every five years.
- Dirty glass surfaces. Clean glass surfaces to an irradescent finish with cool water and a bit of mild soap.
- Dull furniture finish. Polish carved furniture with paste wax applied to a stenciling brush and buff using a show brush. You will be able to reach nooks and crannies with this method.
Once the consignment shop decides on the furnishings of yours they want for their inventory, they will either give you the money for your antique items upfront, or offer to take them on consignment, in which you agree to a percentage (usually 30 to 50 percent) of the sale. Style, condition, and original sale price all factor in the determination of the consignment sale price. If, however, your antique item fails to sell within a set period of time (typically 90 days), the consignment shop will offer to donate it to a local charity, in which case they will provide you with a receipt for tax purposes. You can, of course, simply elect to take your antique item home to sell on consignment again in the future.
Selling Antique Furniture Online: Five Rules for Effective Photographs
You can also sell your antique furniture online. Should you decided to consign your antique furniture online, make sure to post high-quality photographs to best represent your furniture. Follow these five rules to ensure you produce effective photographs for selling your antique furniture:
- Take memorable, eye-catching photographs. That is, take pictures of only one antique piece at a time, and make sure the piece takes up the majority of the photograph, cropping out any excess space in the frame.
- Lower yourself to the level of your furniture for best effect, squatting or kneeling if necessary. Make sure the furniture has been thoroughly polished and cleaned, and remove any items that may be resting on the top of dressers, tables and so on.
- Avoid using an indoor flash on furniture with flat surfaces, like tables and chests of drawers, as the flash produces distracting reflections.
- Zoom in on details, especially if the antique item in question is ornate. Take pictures of inlaid handles, carved feet, and jeweled detailing.
- Take multiple pictures of any one piece in order to ensure that you have at least a couple high-quality pictures with which to work.
When writing descriptions of your antique furnishings for an online consignment shop, include as many details as possible. If a table or dresser has “style,” explain exactly what type of style it has. Does it possess unique qualities, such as guilded or brass detailing? Is the piece of furniture in question fashioned from a rare or expensive type of wood like black walnut or mahogany? Make sure to offer as many details of your antique item’s splendors as you think necessary to cinch the deal. Also, list any flaws the antique piece might have, such as loose joints, nicks or scratches. Being as exhaustive as possible in online descriptions will help ensure that your consignment item will attract the greatest number of potential buyers.
Selling your antique furniture on consignment can be a fun and rewarding hobby, especially if you take care to educate yourself about antique furnishings. Your local library, with its numerous books on antiques, is a fantastic resource in this regard; and your local bookshop has many print sources on antiques as well. Familiarity with the finer points of identifying and selling antique furnishings will help you to market successfully your antiques to consignment shops, whether they be brick-and-mortar or online. Consigning antique furniture is such a fascinating and profitable hobby that you may just find yourself hunting for colonial cabinets or Edwardian chiffoniers to consign.
You've just found a beautiful antique cabinet at a neighborhood garage sale. You got it at a bargain and are considering selling it on consignment. There's only one problem: it's in need of some minor repairs. Don't be discouraged by this discovery. You only need to follow a few simple rules for deciding which pieces of furniture are worthy of repair and how to go about repairing them.
How to Evaluate a Piece of Furniture
Before you even purchase a piece of antique furniture, you need to consider if the furniture is worth repairing. Take a few moments and ask yourself the following questions:
Do you like the piece?
Do you think you can make a considerable profit on it through resale?
How much do you think the furniture will be worth after it is restored?
Do you have the time to make significant repairs, should any be required?
Will the piece be in resalable condition after the repairs are made?
Take the time to visit a few consignment shops that specialize in antique furniture. Ask the consignment shop owner about what pieces of antique furniture are currently in demand. Examine the prices of furniture that resembled the pieces you are considering restoring.
Common Repairs in Antique Furniture
Once you invest in a few pieces of antique furniture, it will be likely that you will have to make some repairs. For instance, antique mirrors will frequently need their glass replaced. But if the glass is old--which is indicated by the presence of bubbles or waviness--then replacing it might prove difficult. Also, look at the silvering on the backside of the mirror; if it has deteriorated, then consider replacing it. With a chest of drawers, check the see that the drawers are in working order. Examine drawer runners to make sure they are not split or excessively worn. Check for lose legs in chairs, and splits in tables and cabinet sides. And don't forget to check for warped wood: Sometimes minor warping in acceptable on very old pieces of antique furniture, but warping on newer pieces is something that should be repaired.
Bad Repairs, Missing Parts and Loose Veneer: More Minor Repairs in Antique Furniture
Repairs can sometimes cause more harm than good. Check your piece of antique furniture for inexpertly executed repairs. Bad repairs can result in a structurally unsound piece of furniture, causing tables and chairs to collapse without notice. Also, examine antique furniture for missing parts, especially in more ornate pieces. Look for missing stretchers or rungs on chairs, and check all carvings closely in case a piece has been broken off. Finally, loose veneer is a common flaw in antique furniture, and one that is hard to spot. Veneer can often appeared firmly affixed to furniture when, in reality, it is quite loose. Lightly tap the veneer on your antique furniture to see if it is sounds hollow. If it does, then the veneer is lose and needs to be repaired.
Tips for Cleaning Up Antique Furniture
If your piece of antique furniture is in need of only minor cleaning, try the following tips for cleaning your antique furniture:
- Check for mildew on wooden furniture. Clean any mildew off with one cup water mixed with one tablespoon bleach and one tablespoon dish washing detergent.
- Look for tarnished brass handles on trunks and dressers. Remove tarnish with a paste comprised on equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Rub on brass with a soft cloth, and then rinse completely. Shine with a soft cloth.
- Remove any unpleasant odors from chest of drawers or armoirs with cat litter or baking soda.
- Wash ceramics with soap and water only. But be careful: wipe gently with a soft cloth if the pieces are damaged.
- Remove adhesive or tape with lemon juice.
- Buff antique ivory with a woolen cloth.
- Lubricate and clean antique clocks every five years.
- Clean glass with an iridescent finish with cool water and a bit of mild soap.
- Polish carved furniture with paste wax applied to a stenciling brush, and buff using a show brush. You will be able to reach nooks and crannies that way.
Once they've decided on the pieces they want for their inventory, the consignment shop will either give you the money for your furniture upfront, or offer to take it on consignment, giving you a percentage of the sale. Pricing will be determined by the style, condition, and original sale price. If your furniture does not sell within a set period of time, usually 90 days, the consignment shop will offer to donate your furniture to a local charity. You will be offered a receipt for tax purposes. You can also pick up your furniture from the consignment shop, bringing it home again for future resale.
Creating a Safe Work Space for Furniture Repair
In order to more effectively repair and restore your furniture, it is important that you have a safe work space. Follow these four suggestions for creating a safe work space for furniture repair:
- Be aware of fire hazards. Avoid smoking in your workspace, and check that all equipment capable of producing sparks are turned off before leaving the work space. Also, make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your work space.
- Throw away old rags, which may be contaminated with dangerous chemicals.
- Store chemicals away from heat and flame. Make sure all containers containing chemicals are properly labeled.
- Be environmentally responsible. Dispose of all chemicals properly by taking them to the appropriate hazardous waste disposal units.
Consigning Antique Furniture: A Rewarding Hobby
Taking the time to properly restore your antique furniture for consignment can result in significant rewards. You'll enjoy the process involved in antique furniture restoration and reap a tidy profit when you bring your restored piece to your local consignment shop.
Designer shoes' many attractions are well established. The influence of such popular entertainments as Sex and the City and Confessions of a Shopaholic on the minds of women across the globe have linked designer shoes with notions of happiness. But the thrill of being able to pay a few hundred dollars for a pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps without batting an eye is something too few women get to experience.
This is not to say, however, that this thrill is entirely out of reach for ordinary working women. Buying designer women's shoes on consignment is one way to indulge champagne tastes while sticking to a beer budget. You can snag haute couture footwear at discounted prices.
Make consignment shopping a habit. You're more likely to find just the right women's designer shoes at just the right price if you visit a few consignment shops regularly.
How to Spot Quality Women's Designer Shoes
You'll need a discerning eye to find the best women's designer shoes at the best prices. A few simple tips will help you spot the best consignment bargains -- as well as any knock-offs masquerading as the real deal.
Construction. The best shoes are made entirely of leather. Women's designer shoe makers will generally indicate all leather construction with an insignia stating this fact. Beware of shoes having only leather uppers, or, worse, no leather construction at all. These generally indicate inferior quality.
Quality of the leather. Women's designer shoe leather should be thick yet supple. If the leather feels thin or stiff, it's of poor quality.
Stitching and seams. Designer women's pumps should have no seam at the instep. The leather of designer women's shoes of any sort should be stitched together, never glued.
Shoe interior. The inside of designer women's shoes should have no ridges, bumps or bulges. Inside seams should never turn outward.
Heels, outer soles and inner soles. Heels, outer soles and inner soles should not show excessive wear. Wear to these portions of shoes need not be a deal breaker. They can be replaced. The cost of replacement should, however, factor into the amount you're willing to pay for the pair of shoes.
Finding the Right Fit
Of course, inspecting shoes for quality of construction is just part of the equation when it comes to buying designer women's shoes on consignment. The real bonding with your shoes begins when you try them on. These few simple guidelines will help you find the best fit:
- Your toes should not reach the tip of the shoe. There should be at least half of an inch between the end of your big toe and the end of the shoe.
- Your toes shoes flex easily in the shoe's toe box.
- Your heel should fit snugly. Any slippage around your heel as you walk means the shoes are too big.
- Your ankle should be snugly nestled if you're trying on women's designer boots. Any slippage around the ankle as you walk means an ill-fitting pair of boots.
Be sure to take sufficient time to walk about in the shoes you're trying on, taking several laps around the sales floor if you need to. This will give you a better sense as to how they'll feel were you to wear them under ordinary circumstances.
Keep in mind that feet have a tendency to swell as the day progresses. It's smart, then, to confine your shoe shopping to the late afternoon or evening in order to find the most precise fit.
Caring for Women's Designer Shoes Bought on Consignment
Once you get your designer shoes home, you'll want to take proper care of them. This way you're sure not only to get long use out of them, but to preserve their great looks as well. The following suggestions will help keep your women's designer shoes looking and fitting great:
Invest in a pair of shoes trees. Regular use of shoe trees will help shoes retain their shape against the wear and tear of daily use.
Polish shoes regularly. Wax or cream polish not only refresh the shoes' color, but keep shoe leather clean and supple.
Treat patent leather shoes with petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly returns luster to the leather. (Just be sure to wipe any excess jelly off your shoes before wearing them.)
Use a white pencil eraser to remove blemishes from suede shoes. If the pencil eraser doesn't work, try some fine-grit sandpaper.
Avoid wearing a pair of shoes two days in a row. Even in cool conditions feet have a tendency to sweat. Keeping shoes out of fashion rotation for two days allows them the airing they need to dry.
Have a shoe repairer install heel and toe taps on your shoes as soon after purchase as possible. Heel and toe taps will keep you from having to replace the entire heel in the future.
Buy shoes roomy enough to accommodate cushioning insoles. Cushioning insoles prevent wear to the insides of the shoes, and prevent shoes from acquiring unpleasant odors -- things which are vitally important if you plan to resell the shoes at some future time.
Buying Women’s Shoes on Consignment: The Price Is Right!
Millions of women have discovered that looking uptown doesn’t mean risking falling into skid row. Buying designer women’s shoes on consignment affords you the financial freedom to purchase the hottest new pumps from Salvatore Ferragamo, the jazziest new boots from Bruno Magli or the sexiest new espadrilles from Prada. In fact, buying women’s designer shoes from consignment shops can often be a thrilling adventure, because you’re never sure just what kind of shoes you’ll find. Consignment shops offer a variety of labels and styles, many of which are rarely found in traditional department stores. This makes buying designer shoes from a consignment shop a sound financial as well as sartorial investment.
Do you long for a sleek Coach purse? Or how about a brightly colored Louis Vuitton tote? Designer handbags can be a fantastic purchase, but the prices they demand are steep. In fact, never before have prices been so high for designer purses and totes.
What is an aspiring fashionista to do? She should start exploring her local consignment shops for gently used designer handbags. Consignment boutiques carry a vast array of the latest, gently used designer handbags. Scan your Yellow Pages and visit a few consignment shops to get an idea of what is available in your area. Some consignment shops specialize in vintage designer bags from the likes of Chanel, and Dooney and Bourke. Others carry only the latest fashions in designer handbags.
What to Look For in a Designer Handbag
When purchasing a designer handbag, examine it closely to ensure you are getting a good deal. Make sure the bag is authentic and doesn't reveal any flaws. The leather should be firm and even-colored. It should not show signs of fading or cracking. Zippers should close without pulling and straps should be firmly affixed the the body of the purse. In order to ascertain that your designer purse is indeed authentic, look for the following tell-tale signs of a counterfeit product:
- Logos should be firmly affixed.
- Top stitching should be tight and straight.
- Leather should be firm and without discoloration or fading.
- The country-of-origin tag should not say Taiwan or China.
Repairing Minor Flaws in a Designer Handbag
So you've found the perfect, gently-used designer handbag, but it has a few flaws. It may require a few minor repairs or a bit of cleaning. Don't shy away from a great deal because of minor flaws. Instead consider the following quick fixes:
Ink stains can be removed from lightly colored purses with a dab of hydrogen peroxide. Be careful with using hydrogen peroxide with colored purses; the peroxide can discolor them.
- Holes in leather items can be repaired with patches. Just even out the surfaces of the hole and trace it on a piece of paper. Use that piece of paper as the pattern for the patch. Cut out the patch and insert it carefully into the hole, using garment glue to hold it securely.
- Snags on a leather purse can be repaired using clear nail polish. Do not use clear nail polish on suede items, however.
- Leather conditioner can be used to remove scratches and scuffs on leather bags. If the leather polish fails to remove the scratch, use show polish to remove any remaining imperfections.
- Repairing minor flaws like broken straps can be done at your local leather repair shop. Broken zippers can likewise be repaired by a shop that specializes in leather goods and clothes.
Selling Your Designer Handbags on Consignment
Your local consignment shop can also be a great place to drop off those designer handbags you no longer need, allowing you to free up space in your closet for future purchases. Most consignment boutiques will either pay you directly or offer to take the item on consignment. When a consignment shop opts to take an item on consignment and the item sells, you will receive a percentage of the sale -- usually somewhere between 30 and 50 percent. If your handbag does not sell after 90 days the shop may offer to donate it to charity. You will then receive a receipt for tax purposes.
Consigning Designer Handbags Online
If you decide to consign your designer handbags online make sure your photographs accurately represent the handbag. Focus your camera on one handbag at a time and use software like Adobe Photoshop or Roxio PhotoShow to sharpen images and increase contrast. When writing descriptions of your handbags, include as many details as possible. Note details like type of leather, color of topstitching and the design on the handbag's interior fabric. More importantly, be honest about flaws in the handbag. If the leather is scratched or torn, then include a detailed description of the damage in your discussion of the product. Your customers will appreciate your honesty.
Whether you decide to buy only designer handbags on consignment, or you aspire to take your passion a step further by consigning them as well, you'll enjoy a fun and rewarding experience.