“Time is money.” Well, at least that’s what Benjamin Franklin thought and, at this point in my life, I happen to agree. In this extremely busy world in which we live – and in such difficult financial times – time is money, and both are hard to come by.
I recently read a study that 60% of parents reported clothing to be their biggest expense of the year, with nearly all of these parents affirming that they spend more on their children’s clothing than on their own. (Sigh). Not only does this make me sad – as a mom of two (both of whom are under two) with an ever out-of-date wardrobe who can completely relate – but also that so many parents are spending too much on their children’s clothing. As a young mother I was introduced to the concept of consignment shopping. I was lucky. I quickly discovered all of the area consignment stores and seasonal consignment sales. For the first year, it was great! I could spend $100 and be stocked for two seasons (minus the occasional splurge purchases that resulted from too much window-shopping). I even went as far as finding the local consignment stores when I would travel, because it became a thrill to find great, quality clothes at amazing prices.
I decided it was time to get in on the action, so I consigned for the first time. I had so many clothes when I had my daughter and, like everyone, we could always use the extra cash. So I tagged them and took them to the local consignment sale. Within weeks I had a check in my mailbox and the satisfaction that the clothes my precious baby girl wore would be in another good home – making another mom’s heart melt. The new challenge came with Baby #2. I could no longer carry Baby #1 in a carrier during my mad dashes through the seasonal consignment sales as strollers are not allowed at most sales. My husband works odd hours on random days, so this meant I would have to hire a babysitter for the hours that I would be shopping. That would defeat the point of my money-saving extravaganzas. I tried shopping the consignment stores, but coordinating the kids’ schedules and keeping them happy while I shopped was not an enjoyable experience for anyone. The length of time it took to inventory and tag clothing for sales was also in short supply. Sadly, I found myself abandoning my consignment shopping and was on a quest for easy shopping and quick online or local stores.
One day while chatting with friends about our kids, I started complaining about how much I was spending to keep them clothed. Some of my friends were consignors and felt my pain, whereas others had never shopped consignment and concurred with my spending habits. After a lot of bantering back and forth, I got an idea. I would open up an online children’s consignment boutique that sold high quality children’s pre-owned clothes. An online store would be accessible for busy mom’s 24/7, so they could shop for deals during midnight feedings or afternoon naps. I would restrict my brands and styles of clothing to offer a boutique environment and provide quality clothes that would last for multiple hand-me-downs. Named after my beautiful daughter, who had sparked my love for all things cute and consigned, Lilybean’s Market was born. We kept the concept simple. You can sell or consign your clothing with us. We sell to families who also love to shop for clothes at reasonable prices. There’s no bidding, no waiting in line, no traffic – simply add the item to your “cart” and checkout when ready. As a seller, you can receive money up front for all of your items. As a consignor, you will receive a check once a month with your 50/50 commission. Clients (sellers or consignors) that live out of the Northern Virginia area receive a discount on shipping if we accept all of their items.
Usually donate your clothes? No problem. If you donate clothes to Lilybean’s Market, we will sell the items that meet our guidelines and donate your commission to a chosen charity. Items that do not meet the guidelines will be donated to a local charity with all of our seasonal donations. We encourage giving back to the community we live in, so our clothing charities are in the DC Metro region, although our financial contributions go to both local and global charitable organizations.
Jessica Chadwick is the owner of Lilybean’s Market, an online children’s consignment boutique, as well as the mother of two, wife and a nurse practitioner. Visit her site at www.lilybeansmarket.com. She can be contacted at email@example.com.