Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hey Dads : Knowing About "Mom-2-Mom Sales" Can Mean Extra Bucks For The Whole Family

I have to admit that my eyes got a little moist when I loaded up the car with the bouncing cow and rocking horse my kids had spent a lot of time playing with over the last few years.  They had grown too big for these toys now though and like in Toy Story 3 it was time for new children to enjoy them in a new home.  My wife had bought a table at a local Mom-2-Mom Sale this last weekend and I was transporting them along with a lot of heavy boxes filled with clothes, baby equipment and toys that our kids are now too old to benefit from anymore to the sale site so we could get set-up for the Saturday sale.

Despite the name Mom-2-Mom Sale, Friday was "Daddy's Night" as us guys were all trotted out to help set-up for the next day's event moving heavy boxes, setting up tables, and carting a variety of things around the elementary school where the sale was taking place.  I stayed home the next day as my wife worked our table selling our items and buying a few new treasures to bring back to our home for our children.  Essentially, the premise is pretty clear cut from the name "Mom-2-Mom Sale" which  is like a large garage sale at a central location with mommies selling items their kids no longer need to other families who are in need of those items.  Instead of spending a weekend trolling various garage sales looking for kiddie stuff or paying markup at resale shops, someone can go to one of these sales knowing the focus will be on children's items and most items will likely be sold at bargain prices.
I had never heard of these sales until becoming a Dad, but now I see advertising for them all the time.  In most cases a community group, like a PTA, non-profit service club, youth sports league, or church will host one of these Mom-2-Mom Sales as a fundraiser.  They may charge $10 for a table to sell items, or if you have large items that won't fit on your table like a pack-n-play they put them in a designated large item room and you pay $2 or $3 dollars per item to have them sold in that area.  People who come to shop than are charged anywhere from $1 to $5 dollars to enter the Sale as an admission price depending on the popularity of the event in the community and number of tables they have selling stuff.  This obviously can become a lucrative fundraiser so that may be contributing to the increasing number of Mom-2-Mom Sales popping up in the community as well.
At this recent sale we attended, my wife spent $10 for a table and $4 dollars to sell two items in the "big item" room.  I spent a Friday evening moving all the stuff we were going to sell to location and my wife spent a Saturday working our table.  For an investment of a few hours plus $14 dollars we brought home about $400 would have been a few more but my wife also brought home some dresses and shoes for my daughter that she said were GREAT deals.  Hey, if you are making some money off things that you may have thrown or given away I'm all for that and picking up some nice things for your kids that might be 100% more expensive bought retail is a nice bonus.  So now when I hear or see something promoting a Mom-2-Mom Sales I envision one of my favorite colors: GREEN.  On a serious note, if you are a parent and haven't checked out one of these events do it!  From a sellers perspective you can make a nice return for a minimal amount of effort or investment by essentially have your own garage sale without marketing it or worrying about people traipsing around your yard.  From a buyers perspective you can often find a lot of really good bargains that while being used are mostly in good shape and also you never know what unique items or treasures you might stumble upon that you may not come across at a retail store.
Here are a few tips from my lovely wife:
  •  Know What Sells:  People want NEW things for BABIES so best sellers are toddler clothes 2T - 4T and children's sizes.  Make sure you don't sell stained or worn out items at your table, if a shopper sees one item that looks dirty they aren't going to go through the rest of your stuff! Also people look for things that are needed by their children NOW not for later in the year so don't sell snow suits in March or or swim suits in November.  You may want to participate in two or three Mom-2-Mom Sales throughout the year if you have a lot of stuff to get rid of so you can get rid of seasonal items.
  • Check Out Sales:  go to websites like MOM2MOMSALESMICHIGAN, MOM2MOMLIST & METROPARENT (most areas will have local sites promoting local sales - google your city or state followed by "Mom to Mom"), look for information on blogs like THE NEST or THE BUMP, or by asking other moms around town.  Look for sales that have been conducted for multiple years and inquire who is running them? Check to see that sales are run by reputable businesses or community groups.  Ask how many tables they are selling...the more tables normally the larger the crowds who attend because people want to go to shows that have the most to offer.  Look for sales that have 50 to 100 tables.
  • Price it Right:  Remember this stuff is used and people are shopping for a bargain so don't overprice.  A lot of stuff we sell is marked at .50 cents to $5 dollars.  If you overcharge it is likely that you are going to be hauling stuff home.  On the other hand, don't let people haggle you so that you are giving your stuff away for free...set a price and stick with it.  A good way to price items is to go to some Mom-2-Mom sales as a shopper before becoming a seller to get a feel for what other people are asking. 
  • Layout Matters:   How you have your items layed out makes a big difference.  Having everything marked with stickers clearly identifying prices, signs that clearly steer people to different categories of items (clothes, shoes, toys, bath accessories, etc.), clear bins people can see through and clothes racks are great items at Mom-2-Mom Sales.  Anything you can do so that people don't have to dig around to see what you have and that keeps your items and space looking clean will help you get extra sales!
  • Keep Dads @ Home:  It's great to have husbands help with setting up before hand and clearing out afterward but like the name implies most of the shoppers are moms and having a mom work your table makes them feel more comfortable stopping by your table to chat and hopefully make a purchase.  Marketing is important and mommies just are better at closing the sale at these events.

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