What: The Kid’s Closet Connection Consignment Sale
Where: The Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St.
Schedule: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Additional info: www.kidscloset.biz
In the world of kids’ clothing, Kid’s Closet Connection is the equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too.
The business is a semi-annual consignment sale that allows mothers to not only sell off clothes, toys, furniture and other goodies that their children may have outgrown, but also allows them to pick up used, brand-name items at discounted prices.
“The general economy is tanking, but I found Hollister, American Eagle, Abercombie and Aeropostle brands in the juniors section at the last Kid’s Closet sale. The name-brand things are there and at a price that is budget-friendly,” says consignor Michele Schneck of Lawrence. “I clean out, and my kids get much of what they need (or) want.”
In a consignment sale, the sellers are called consignors, and they get a percentage (at Kid’s Closet, it’s 70 percent) of the money made off of items they register, tag and bring in to the sale. The items are used, but like second-hand stores, the quality is checked. At the end of the sale, if a consignor still has items unsold, those items can either be taken home or given to charity. The twice-yearly sale is also being held for the first time since Second Chance Children’s and Maternity Store closed its doors at 847 Mass., giving Lawrence residents a shot at the same sort of merchandise without having to drive to Topeka or Kansas City to go to a kid-centric consignment store.
Lawrence’s fall sale is Thursday through Saturday at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. The sale is free and open to the public and includes something for anyone with little ones, says Tammy Patrick, owner of the Lawrence franchise of Kid’s Closet Connection, which is a Lenexa-based network.
“We have clothes up to size 14. We have loads of toys, books, computer games, shoes, strollers, high chairs, playpens, exersaucers, swings, cribs, toddler beds, bedding, blankets, potty chairs, diapers — anything baby- or kid-related, we have it,” Patrick says. “But, we may only have two of them, so get here early.”
After shopping consignment sales for three years, Lawrence mother Tracey Kastens first became a seller last spring. Flush with items from her three children, she had quite the bounty to share with other moms.
“I first consigned last spring, and since I had seven years’ worth of outgrown clothing to get rid of, it was quite a time commitment preparing my items. Ultimately, though, I sold about two-thirds of what I tagged, so when the check arrived, it was clearly worth the effort,” Kastens says. “I’m busily tagging items again for the upcoming sale and am excited to be part of something that helps both my family and others save loads of money.”
Sandi Hubbard of Lawrence has done resale shopping since her oldest, Ragan, 8, was a baby. She says buying used is helpful not only on her pocketbook, but also on her stress level as she won’t have to worry about a new, expensive outfit shrinking or getting dirty.
“When I go to one of these sales, I know how the clothes wash. You can tell whether or not stains come out of it easily because it’s been used. So instead of buying something from the store and bringing it home and washing it and it shrinking or unraveling, or anything else, I already know how it wears,” Hubbard says. “And my kids, too, are wearing it to school, wearing it to play outside — they’re just going to trash it anyway.”
She says buying second-hand also allows her children to try on new activities without eating a huge hole in the family budget.
“It’s a great way to get the play clothes, just kind of things like leotards — kids wear them once a week for a semester and then they decide they don’t want to be a ballerina anymore, they want to be a basketball player or whatever it may be,” she says. “It’s a great way to get second-hand equipment without spending huge amounts so that your kids can try new things.”
“New things” is also a theme of sorts at this year’s sale, says Patrick. Unlike at previous sales, sellers will be bringing new items daily, so return customers will be able to see new merchandise.
Not new, but quite important, too, is the fact that because consignors volunteer to help out with the sale, they also may act as quality control, vetoing items they might think aren’t good enough to be included in the sale, keeping the quality high.
“This is my sale, along with the other consignors,” Schneck says. “I bring my best items, and I hope you bring your best items, too. This is not a garage sale, it’s consignment. If you wouldn’t buy it if it was offered by someone else, don’t bring it!”
Patrick says she’s proud to have more than 100 consignors and counting contributing to the fall sale — triple the number that sold at Lawrence’s first sale last fall. From her point of view, more goods mean more families benefiting on both sides of cash register.
“I am very proud of the fact that we are a mom-owned business,” Patrick says. “All of our owners are moms that are trying to contribute to their household income and still have the flexibility to be at home with our children.”