How To Start an Eco-Friendly Consignment Shop

If you love shopping, you probably already know that consignment shops are one of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly ways to shop.

A surprising number of people replace clothes after only a few wearings, and consignment shops give a second life to these gently used discards. For shoppers, consignment shops are a great place to find incredible deals. It’s not unusual to bump into designer clothes in good condition for 80% or more off the original price! Consignment shops are also great for the environment because they help conserve resources and prevent perfectly good clothing, jewelry, and other items from ending up in the garbage.

If you’re an eco-fashionista with a passion for great deals, starting a consignment shop may be the perfect green business opportunity for you!

Planning Your Eco-Friendly Consignment Shop

Depending on your interests and skills, you may wish to open a general consignment shop for items of all kinds, or you may wish to focus on a particular specialty.

One of the most popular types of specialty consignment shops is consignment shops for infants, toddlers, and children. Clothes for babies and young children are adorable and almost irresistible for many parents, but children outgrow their clothes so quickly that few parents can justify the expense of purchasing a large number of new outfits for their kids, especially during the recession. Consignment shops allow parents to enjoy picking out adorable outfits for their children without sacrificing their financial well-being. Many consignment shops for children even allow parents to trade in gently used clothing and other baby items for larger items of similar value!

Other popular types of specialty consignment shop include women’s consignment shops, bridal consignment shops, consignment shops for sporting and outdoor wear, and consignment shops for professional clothing and formal wear. Popular non-clothing types of consignment shops include furniture, books, and electronic media such as music, video, and computer/video games.

Greening Your Consignment Shop Business

Once you’ve decided what type of consignment shop to open, another consideration is exactly how eco-friendly you want your consignment shop to be. Consignment shops are eco-friendly almost by definition, but you can take steps to reduce the environmental footprint of your store even more through such methods as using green cleaning products or services, printing advertising materials on recycled paper, using energy efficient lighting and other electronics in your store, and more.

Another green option is to start an online consignment shop. Online consignment shops require very little start-up funding and can be run from your own home, saving money, time, and energy that would be used to purchase/rent, commute to and from, and heat, light, and air condition a physical location. Many online consignment shops get started on websites such as ebay, Amazon Marketplace, or the vintage category on Etsy, while others rely on their own e-commerce website. Online consignment shops can be extremely successful, but since customers can’t inspect the item themselves before the sale, it’s especially important to be honest about flaws and signs of wear in order to maintain your reputation. Hiring a good photographer and attractive models can increase trust and make your products look more appealing to prospective customers.

Whether you have a physical location or you sell online or both, a consignment store is a great green business opportunity for eco-fashionistas and other shopaholics that combines great deals and eco-friendly shopping!


Image credits: EraPhernalia Vintage and lachshand

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