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Just bought a consignment tack shop

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  • Just bought a consignment tack shop

    My friend and I just bought a consignment tack shop. We take ownership in Feb.

    Could you please help us by telling me what products you would like to see in the store, at a show, etc. Comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    I do not want this to be interpreted as advertising so I will not be posting what store. I just would like to benefit from the wealth of information that is so freely given on this board.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  • #2
    Kid's stuff! We used to have an awesome consignment shop near(ish) to me that always had a lot of nice, used kids clothing (show and barn) and boots. It got bought by a different tack store and the consignment end is now severely lacking. My daughter spent the first 5 years of her riding career with no new anything and it was great on my pocketbook.


    • #3

      Things that sell really well are used upper end saddles (especially if you advertise on the internet), boots (kids ones-my girls usually outgrown them after a few shows so they are basically brand new) and show clothes.

      If you decide to sell boots then have a name of a good boot repair store to hand out as a reference. I've had good luck buying a used pair of good boots and then have them altered to fit my daughter's legs. It was way cheaper than buying even middle of the road boots and we ended up with our own custom boots for much less money. (Der-Daus and Vogels)

      If you take in upper end saddles and advertise on the internet you'll probably be able to move them quite quickly. Most of the tack stores take anywhere between 20-30% on used saddles. Quite a nice return for not too much work. Look at fineusedsaddles.com to see how to market them really well. She sells a ton of used saddles.


      • #4
        Having a shop that does consignment and used .. and having done this for about 5 years now .. I would say Show clothes for sure.. boots and also blankets, coolers, bits, and used bridles .. If you can get High end saddles in on consignment do it, but have a very good consignment contract and realease as you do not want to be responsable for damage done while a saddle is on trial , this is a risk the consigner must assume. I sell a ton of kid size consignment 1/2 chaps . Really if it's a consignment and horse related and in decent condition take it in , it costs nothing for you to put it on the shelf BUT it does cost if you have a store front you need to set your commission based on your over head ..IE: if you sell $1000.00 of product per week and your commission is 30% thats $300.00 .. That may not pay the rent, Phone, insurance , electric, internet, heat, advertising, and a little thing called a pay check... Selling on consignment sounds great BUT it has to generate an income. You may want to base your commsion on the selling price of the item.. Under $10.00 50% , 10 to 50 45%, 50-100 40% ect...the higher the item is priced the less percent.. Aslo I do not sell on Ebay because of the costs .. by teh time your done with the fees and pay pals cut you have to ad another 10% and not to mention packaging and shipping.. Also if you take Credit cards you must factor in another 6% of any transaction . You can see how fast your cut gets eaten away by overhead .. Sales tax is another issue so make sure thats on top of what ever price you sell an item for .. If you want to make $10.00 for your self on a hunt coat that sells for $40.00 you basically have to charge $50.00 for it to cover the cost of selling that item.


        • #5
          There is a very popular consignment store in Middleburg. They have close contact, all-purpose, and dressage saddles (from middle-range to high end), plus lots of show and hunt clothes (for both men, women, and children) including show jackets, hunt coats, breeches, show shirts, belts, and new helmets (can't sell used ones), plus lots of boots, horse blankets, show scrims, wool coolers, bridles, martingales, girths, bits, boots, stirrup leathers, leather halters, whips, etc. They have mostly consignment items, but also purchase store close-outs, etc., so have a good mix of new items as well. They take a 25% commission on saddles, and 40% on everything else. They do have a website, which helps to sell the saddles.
          Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


          • #6
            Kid's stuff

            I second the kid's stuff suggestion!


            • #7
              I knew a gal who did the same thing years ago when I lived in the south. She left her corporate job and took over a consignment place and I believe she did pretty well.

              What you'll want to carry will depend a lot on your area and what is popular there. I wouldn't want to carry a bunch of dressage stuff if you were in an area where the barns were all oriented toward WP and reining, lol.

              My advice is to call all the local area professionals and ask them what they need/want. Get a feel for the kind of stuff they encourage their clients to purchase, then supplement that with the basics - stuff people might run out of, and find it convenient to buy from you (fly spray, hoof stuff, etc.) I know I always loved an excuse to go into our local consignment place and they very cleverly made sure that they had the little necessities like that, I am sure at or near cost, and it helped draw traffic in.

              If you can, consider keeping "wish lists" for your customers. It's a little extra work but being able to call someone to say, "Are you still looking for a wool cooler in XYZ's barn colors in a 78? We just had one come in and I can put it aside for you, if you like," is the kind of service that will create repeat business, and is a *great* way to also get your stock sold quickly.

              Along those same lines, if you can send updates to your consignors, particularly for higher end/more expensive stuff, you will encourage more people to bring you stock. A saddle that's a bit overpriced that sits around taking up room in your shop for six months isn't doing anyone any good. Establish a regular schedule to review those items and contact the owners to discuss how to move those goods -whether that is with a scheduled policy (automatic mark downs after 30/60/90 days) and consider whether you will act as a negotiator on your consignor's behalf. If someone is standing in your shop saying, "Well, I'd love to buy it for ($50 less than the sticker)" you will get more sales if you can immediately accept or counter. Saying, "well, let me get in touch with the owner/consignor and get back to you," will lose you sales (haven't we ALL walked out of a store and re-thought a purchase?) A LOT of tack and riding related purchases are discretionary, so try to be able to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.

              Good luck!
              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


              • #8
                I will chime in that I would like to see HIGH QUALITY adult stuff. Seriously, all of the consignment shops in my area stock very little of anything (as in, there is a very small consignment section that consists of very old boots, out of date breeches and coats, and a few randoms that no one will ever buy like old saddle pads, *old* turnout blankets, pitchforks??, etc.). If there were more options for high quality, gently used stuff, I would have A LOT MORE STUFF.

                Examples- Tailored Sportsman breeches in *good* shape. Most of the consignment shops I've visited stock either TS breeches with worn through knee patches, or sizes made for people either *very* skinny or relatively large.

                Nice hunt coats. Hunt coats that conform to modern styles. Not hunter green with bright beige pinstripes. Not black polyester with a velvet collar and brass buttons. But nice hunt coats in various price ranges that would be acceptable for today's show ring. This goes for shirts as well. A good extra for shirts might also be removing the monograms from collars. This is often not too hard to do (can be accomplished with a seam ripper), and makes it so easy to get collars re-monogrammed.

                High-quality used strap goods. The nicest bridles are extremely cost-prohibitive for most, but last a lifetime. This means buying a used bridle in good repair is a great option for a lot of people. Most people are perfectly fine with used saddles, but used bridles are often in poor condition, or are of a quality that one could simply buy new without spending *that* much more.

                Beyond that, I would like to see high-quality horse apparel. Dress sheets, scrims, boots, etc. These things are SO EXPENSIVE new, and are often the type of things that look just as good used. A lot of trainers sell this type of thing used in their barns in order to keep clients wearing the same stuff, so I can imagine these would sell well to people in an "unaffiliated" situation.

                There is a woman that runs a great consignment shop that travels to a lot of bigger rated shows. She also has a busy ebay store that sells a lot of stuff as soon as it gets put up. As far as I know, her business is successful because of the items she chooses to stock- only high quality, popular goods that are used regularly by competitive riders. Setting up a good, easily navigated website can also contribute to the success of such a business.
                Here today, gone tomorrow...


                • #9
                  Prices. There is a consignment tack shop near me, and the majority of the used stuff is priced HIGHER than it would be to buy new. Needless to say, they don't get much business.
                  "I think animal testing is a terrible idea, they get all nervous and give silly answers."
                  -fry & laurie


                  • #10
                    As someone who does consignment in a regular tack shop, I think you guys are forgetting one thing. You cannot sell what people don't bring in. In other words, yes, you may want those size 28L Tailored Sportsman in perfect condition but if no one brings them in to sell, they aren't going to be available. Believe me, what you will get most of is out of style/date clothing or dirty/stains/torn etc. If it is perfect the customer wants so much for it you can't make anything.

                    I have a pretty set price for my consignment breeches and shirts. Tailored Sportsman sell from $50-$85. Old Devon Aire breeches $5-$10.

                    You will also probably not get in very many high end saddles.
                    I have more plain flap old collegiate than I care to count (can't hardly give them away - sell for around $125). Also probably 10 or more "made in India/ China" package saddles that originally cost about $100 new (I sell these for $25-$50 used). The nice Beval I have for $800 - I cant get anyone to even look at. They want to pay under $400.

                    I say good luck to you but I know I could not survive on consignment alone.
                    Visit my website @ http://hihorsefarm.tripod.com (PONIES!)
                    http://heidalaycavaliers.tripod.com (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels)


                    • #11
                      Good suggestions above. Kids clothes, boots & tack, show clothes, saddles, blankets.

                      My personal pet peeve is when everything is all mashed together on one rack and you can't find what you are looking for; good labeling and neat racks go a long way for people like me. I am not good at "digging" and finding a bargain.

                      If you have the ability, advertise your saddles [and possibly other items] online so you might pick up business of non-local folks who are looking for something specific.

                      Definitely advertise widely that you accept consignment items and what you take/your policies. As someone else stated, you can only sell what you bring in and the more people bring you, the better your business will be. Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Stirrup leathers, reins, things that break and you don't want to spend a fortune to replace, if you don't have a back-up!


                        • #13
                          Clean tack

                          Congrats on your new venture!

                          The only thing I would add is an added (for $$) service offered to consignors: You'll clean and condition their tack before putting it on the floor.

                          I say this partly because I like the look, feel and smell of clean tack, partly because I like taking care of it, and partly because I know that many people digging through racks of saddles or bridles are turned off by the crusty ones.

                          Most of the consignment people I talk to try to take just about anything offered that's safe and clean. Some say they are surprised to see what sells. I know I have bought funky bits to add to my library, and eyes must roll. Also, would-be consignors tend to get offended if you reject their crap.

                          Established places do have a written, up-front policy about how long they will keep an item, when and how much it will be marked down, and what becomes of it after the item isn't sold or picked up.

                          Definitely be organized with your paperwork. Nothing freaks out a consignor more than not knowing what's going on with her items or money.

                          The high-end and busy Ebayer present their tack with the same soft sheen to it. You know there is one person putting in the effort. If your consignors want to do that, great! But I'm amazed and the number of people who don't.
                          Last edited by mvp; Jan. 4, 2010, 06:08 PM. Reason: One more thing
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat


                          • #14
                            Everyone else had great things to say.

                            I definitely agree with networking with a good saddle fitter, leader repair, and blanket repair person. While you should make sure your stuff is in working repair, you might be able to sell that extra item if you can say "Let so-and-no know you bought it here and he will give you a 15% discount."

                            Please keep your place orderly. I understand it's not going to have the pretty look of a regular tack store, but I want to be able to find my way (and sizes) easily.

                            I recommend putting high end items online IF you will keep it updated. Even if you don't do that, get a website. It can be nice, clean, and simple but it should include what you carry regularly, what disciplines/items you specialize in, directions, hours, and contact info.

                            Finally, definitely consider purchasing new "small" items. Crops, spurs, spur straps, leather care items, hairnets etc. I will add $10-40 to my order on this extra stuff when I come in.

                            Finally, consider doing books. They might sit around for a while, but I love purchasing those old books that just aren't made anymore.
                            Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                            • #15
                              I had a friend who ran a childrens consignment store and she did VERY VERY well, the KEY to her success what this:

                              She took a small business loan when she got started, this allowed her to pay CASH UP FRONT for the things people brought in. By doing this she did not need to keep track of consignors so that took away over half of her paperwork, and she bought low and sold a bit higher to cover her costs. People were willing to take slightly less than they felt their items were worth because they were walking out with cash in hand. They also had the option of getting a bit MORE for their items if they took store credit. She only took items she knew would sell and were in excellent condition. Her stock turned over on a monthly basis for the most part, and her business has done very very well.
                              If you can find the working capital to do this its so MUCH easier to keep track of , trying to consign items and then track them and send out checks each month gets CRAZY!!
                              If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by spaceagevalkyrie View Post
                                Prices. There is a consignment tack shop near me, and the majority of the used stuff is priced HIGHER than it would be to buy new. Needless to say, they don't get much business.
                                There is a consignment tack shop by us that does this. I still dig through and find the occasional bargain but there is a good majority of old crap for the same price as new. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when it comes to prices sometimes.

                                Basically they operate like this:
                                Shop: how much do you want to get for this?
                                Me: $XXX
                                Shop: okay we will price it as 'your price + our commission'.

                                If it sells great- but if you want too much $ for it- it'll sit around forever. They also take a loooooong time to inform you/ pay you if an item has sold.

                                So I guess my suggestion is- know your prices so that you can help advise people on the price to sell items. And the better you are at selling and providing cust service to both consignor and buyer the more they would be apt to go to you.

                                Also another funny actually- there was once a harness for sale (nylon but very unusual style/color) they had it all selling in seperate pieces. I was ??? WTF. It was this wierd orange and tan nylon leather combo- decently made but not something you could mix in with another harness. Anyway I lay it all out to see if everything was there and of course it was and I add up the price tags. Came to just over $150. Alright a little steep for an ugly used harness but why sell the parts seperately? Left me scratching my head. My last trip there in Nov left me again scratching my head as someone had bought about half of it.


                                • #17
                                  If you put saddles on your website, PLEASE keep it updated!!!! There is nothing more frustrating when looking for a new (used) saddle for your kid to see one on a consignment shop website, call to make sure it's still there, be told "If it's on the website it's here", drive 45 minutes to find out that the site is only updated every 4 weeks or so and the saddle hasn't been there for at least 3 weeks. ARGH!!!!


                                  • #18
                                    I understand that you can't control what people bring in- that's the problem with a lot of consignment shops. What I mean is that it's critical to 1) be discriminating about what items you accept. No reason to accept items that aren't going to sell; 2) in addition to consignment items, find your OWN gently used stuff. Go to ebay, check other consignment shops for great finds, etc. A "consignment shop" can easily become a "used clothing store". People don't care who owns the used thing- they just want high quality used items in good repair for good prices. I know this is harder than it sounds, but it is what the market is missing.
                                    Here today, gone tomorrow...


                                    • #19
                                      I think mvp had a great point about cleaning up the tack you put in your shop. No need to do anything major, but it's true - a little elbow grease goes a long way and frankly it doesn't take long at all. Offering services such as monogramming, engraving, repair etc (even if farmed out) would be a great addition.

                                      If you can, have some decent fittings for the shop and do a little merchandising. Appealing store windows and somewhere to put together little displays of attractive items will do a lot to help items sell.

                                      I remember a shop that I loved in my old neighborhood. It had a comfortable, clubby feel to it - like sitting in someone's hunt club tack room from days gone by. It was a smaller place but there were always nice displays, including some horsey artwork (that was also for sale)... it wasn't Munnings but it was nice quality and lovely in terms of adding to the atmosphere.

                                      There were a couple of overstuffed armchairs upholstered in hunting-themed tapestry fabric and a nice rug near the try-on rooms - which were decently appointed as well, with good mirrors and a place to sit down to pull on boots, etc. Waiting Moms and Dads could sit in comfort while little Suzy tried on the next hunt coat and the adults loved to come in and help each other put together show outfits or catch up on the horsey gossip while shopping. They carried some non-riding but horsey casual clothes, too - you could maybe pick up a Barbour jacket or a RL sweater on a good day, which increased the store's audience beyond just riders.

                                      None of that was particularly expensive but it made it NICE to shop there, and trainers often sent their clients there because they knew that the newbie parents/riders would get good advice, and show up with good quality, well fitted stuff at a reasonable price.
                                      Last edited by Lucassb; Jan. 4, 2010, 09:32 PM. Reason: typo
                                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                      • #20
                                        High quality show clothes and kids clothes.

                                        That's exciting! Good luck!