Just Between Friends Lessons

I just got back from picking up leftover items that didn’t sell at this weekend’s Just Between Friends sale in Portland. I wrote earlier about signing up to volunteer/consign and the emotional process of tagging sale items…now I want to share my experience and lessons learned.

First, I have to say that I had fun volunteering, and it was amazing to see such a massive resale event. I’ve certainly never seen anything like it, and it was like a green version of Black Friday! The organizers Brooke and Tammy deserve compliments for hosting such a well-organized and friendly event. 🙂

Second, I have to admit that I didn’t make any money In the end I sold only 11 items for $31, and bought 19 items for $67 worth of clothes for Girly.  But that’s not to say that I didn’t get a bargain…I sold things I no longer needed, and bought a whole set of clothes in the next size up. The most expensive item I bought was $6.50 for brand new Gymboree jeans (with originally priced at $30), and cheapest was a Gymboree swim top and shorts for $2.50…hopefully most of them can be resold in another year…

Third, my limited sales is also because I had already gave away a lot of the clothes as hand-me-downs to close friends,  all of our Big Guy’s summer clothes to a friend in Costa Rica, and virtually all of Girly’s clothes were passed on to a close family friend. I don’t regret sharing, but it did mean less to sell.

Yet, here are my mistakes:

  • Waited too long to start tagging…it’s not that it really takes that long, but I just don’t have much spare time…what mom really does?! But my biggest excuse was not having enough hangers, which is critical for clothing. It meant having some items half ready, which really made me feel defeated for the effort I had made…so my lesson is to start tagging now for the next fall sale.
  • Once I did start, I made the mistake of tagging a whole bunch of fall/winters clothes, because that’s what I happened to find first in the basement, so I didn’t include any of it in this sale…good thing I’ve got a jump on the next sale 😉
  • Should have sold my baby gear! Since I had never been to a sale, I was reluctant to haul all my gear to the sale, in case it didn’t sell. I now know that baby gear is the main reason most shoppers love JBF sales.
  • Sell and buy toys! I only brought a few toys, but they all sold. I bought Girly a Sweet Pea  doll for $3 to match a Hunny Bunny  she already has…I looked for another doll because she lost her one true baby doll, but there weren’t any I liked enough…hint, hint, there’s a market for nice used dolls!
  • Price to sell. I probably overpriced a few really cute outfits, partly because due to original cost and partly due to sentimentality. If anything, I think you’d be better off to tag/price with a friend, just so your prices are reasonable. There is a pricing guide online, but there is still a range, and the different between a dollar or two is the difference between it getting sold or not.
  • I volunteered for the first two hours organizing the bedding section, and I have a few tips for selling blankets. Some people bagged blankets in Ziplocks, and it seemed to me that these didn’t sell…people want to feel blankets. It seemed that blankets packaged in ribbon sold better, because you want them tidy too.
  • I just wish that I had heard about JBF sales when I was pregnant, I have no doubt that I could have saved myself a least a grand if I had stocked up at JBF. Beyond the bargain, I do love the resale ethic. When our Big Guy was learning to walk, I remember being torn about buying a brand new push mail cart and a stand-up leap frog music table…if I had known about JBF, I wouldn’t have had all that guilt about buying new plastic gear that will only be used for a few months! 

What lessons do you have from JBF sales?

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5 thoughts on “Just Between Friends Lessons

  1. Anonymous

    We are big fans of resale – quality is great, costs are low, money goes to moms and the ladies organizing the sales. We are able to resell items later. we made it to JBF Friday and we able to get Grant lots of new toys for $50, including a fabric rocket ship/play structure, a ride-on home depot bull dozer thing, bowling pins, books,etc.

    A couple additional lessons – if you are after gear, try to consign/volunteer! The early selection is great, and the shopping experience is more pleasant. If looking for clothes, go on the half off day – there is still good selection for less cost.

    I find JBF a little too big and overwhelming for clothes, but good for toys/gear. Other resales that are a bit smaller and manageable for clothes include: wee-cycle and ever after (higher end clothing).


  2. Anonymous

    I must say the JBF sale is over whelming as a first timer. But what isn’t anymore right :). I did a nice long volunteer shift (12 hrs) to learn the best ways to tag items. And quality control to see if its worth shopping. Browsed the toys, shoes and other items to see what could be sold and what was being sold.

    Before the sale I asked lots of question, during volunteer I also asked lots of questions and pick up as well. Asking questions and doing everything to make things easier for the buyer made me almost 200 dollars with only 60 plus items. Bought spring summer and some fall clothes for BOTH my kids and a huge 3 piece tent and a walker for my son. For only 104$! It was like getting paid for every dollar spent.

    Tips…. go to your local kmart, target etc and ask for hangers! They have lots to give! Skip the dollar store get them free!!!

    Price to sell… things you love tag last dont print the tag loved items till everything else is tagged and have a tagging buddy (even ur significant other) makes time fly 🙂 I do it watching tv after the kids r sleeping.

    Organize your clothes gender and size! So getting em on the sales floor is fast and easy!

    Safety pins are a pain BUT they work the best to keep ur tags on ur clothes. I noticed people that the tag gun for tags lost the tags.

    Cleaner shoes sells better! And 50% off is great people like to shop it so sell it 50% off.

    Bold lettering for things in bins makes things easier to see. Catches the buyers eyes and sells better.

    Ill post more if I remember more but these are my tips for now!

    Jacqueline 🙂 a forever JBF’r

  3. Anonymous

    These are awesome tips! I have a friend who made almost $1,000 selling during the Spring sale and her number 1 suggestion was to tag regularly and prep items as you clean your closets out.

    I LOVE JBF! They are by far the most organized consignment events, I have ever visited! These ladies have it down to a science!


  4. Angelica

    Hi. I’m considering selling. I have a question, do they mix everyone’s clothes together on racks or do you have your own section? I’m confused on how they keep track of everything. At the end, how do you get your unsold items clothes back if they are mixed among thousands of other’s clothes? I have lots of clothes probably about 300 plus pieces. I cannot find answers to my questions on the website. Thanks for your help

    1. Darcy Cronin Post author

      As long as their system hasn’t changed, they would direct you to hang your stuff in particular areas, so all girl pants in 2T would go in the same area. Boy clothes in other areas, gear in another spot. At the end of the weekend it was up to you to go find what hadn’t sold. I didn’t have difficulty finding my stuff, but I didn’t have nearly as much as you. I would just jot some notes to help yourself track/find it. Hopefully you’ll get most of it sold. 🙂


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