Hope you’re all doing well and staying stylish in the snow. I’ve largely been keeping out of the cold by burrowing away like a mole in a hole and getting unwanted baby stuff ready to sell at a Jack and Jill market. Making money selling baby stuff at these markets have become quite a trend so, together with my good pal Lorna, I decided to bag up some of baby Skint’s outgrown stuff, pay for a stall and brush up on my market patter.
The damage for a stall? £23 charge, then keep whatever you sell. Lorna and I were doing it partly for the cash and partly to clear out unwanted clutter, so on Saturday we got the tablecloth and bunting out, stuffed our cars chock-full and fixed on our bestest grins.
I had my mind on my money under the mattress fund, and thought the Jack and Jill market might give it a boost. You might remember that this is my little challenge to generate cash from things lying around the house, or from sources of income that I never bothered cashing in on before. So far I’ve:
- cashed in an ancient £50 travellers cheque
- missed out on cashing in on old Francs by a couple of months
- stopped overpaying on a credit card
and a few other bits and pieces which have earned me £243.50 so far.
Lorna is the labels queen, so her half of the stall included Baby Moschino, Dior and more Ralph Lauren then you could shake a tiny polo shirt at. Over my side of the table, things were considerably more high street. As well as baby clothes I was flogging lots of equipment: bottle warmer; steriliser; bouncy chairs; bath seat etc – all the stuff that’s been taking over my house for the last five years, since Little Skint, now aged 5, came along. And with baby Skint now nine months old, I am delighted to declare that I will never again have any possible need for a Gina Ford book,* so we were both ready to sell, sell, sell.
The folks at the Jack and Jill Markets advised beforehand that selling only clothes on a stall would most likely net sellers £100-£200, and that selling a wider range of stuff would boost profits. Market doors opened to the public at 10.30 and by then we were all set up and ready to dazzle with our patter. We had bagfuls of loose change, our pricing was all done, and all we needed were buyers. We were expecting a stampede at 10.30 but in reality it was more like a trickle, as people slowly made their way round the market. We were kept steadily busy all morning, but fell way short of their top seller’s total (£700 apparently). Still, it was worthwhile. For such a small outlay you’re almost bound to make a profit – the dilemma is whether that profit justifies the time spent washing, sorting, packing etc before you come to market.
Here are some tips for making money selling baby stuff stuff, based on what I learned on Saturday:
- Haggle your heart out. I knew this already but boy, my haggling skills are nothing compared to some of the customers we had on Saturday. Customers were quick to ask outright for a bargain, naming their price, not mine. Ie they didn’t ask ‘could you do any better on the price?’. They asked ‘Will you accept £5 for that?’, leaving it to me to decide if I would. And do you know what? Even though I didn’t always accept their first offer, I always met them in the middle. Not once did a customer who had asked for a discount pay the full price. Just shows you – it pays to be bold. Both Lorna and I were astonished by how much people haggled – they weren’t asked for a 10% discount: they were asking for a 50% and 60% one. If Alan Sugar is ever looking for some more sales negotiators I’d saw that a quick trawl of the Jack and Jill market might be more efficient for him than a ten-week series of The Apprentice.
- People want practical stuff, not fancy stuff. The baby blankets and cot sheets that I threw into the car as an afterthought sold out quickly, with people asking for more. But the teensy summer dresses that I spent ages washing, ironing and hanging on rails didn’t sell nearly as well. In these cash-strapped times perhaps people are looking to buy essentials first. Were I ever to do it again I would leave most of the dresses at home and sell sleeping bags, equipment, pram suits, blankets etc – stuff that babies just can’t do without. Toys also seemed to sell well.
- If selling clothes, make sure they stand out. Lorna’s clothes sold way better than mine. That’s because hers really stood out from the crowd; true designer bargains in the midst of high street stuff. After all, who can pass up Ralph Lauren for £5? At the end of the market we noticed that most sellers still had most of their clothes left. There were just too many clothes around – based on what we saw on Saturday I’d say that to do well with clothes they need to be eye-watering designer bargains.
- If you’re selling online, don’t automatically assume eBay is best. A few women at the market said that eBay hadn’t given them great results – too crowded a marketplace perhaps? Consider selling on a more specialist site, such as kiddimart or even netmums. And if you want to give eBay a shot, I came across this page of tips that I think are pretty good.
Lorna and I each made in the region of £150. And though we were expecting to come away with more, we’d probably do it all over again. I’ll be giving most of the baby clothes to charity/pregnant friends though and focusing on equipment and toys etc. Though we didn’t get as much cash as we’d hoped for, we definitely got more laughs, especially with the woman who went through almost every piece of clothing on the stall declaring that every item would make her baby look too fat. We didn’t get to see the baby, but I admit to being intrigued. And six different people asked us if our tablecloth was for sale. It wasn’t. It was under a pile of shoes, but next time we’re flogging the cloth!
*Actually I can think of a few . . .