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Opening a consignment tack shop?

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  • Opening a consignment tack shop?

    I may to be able to rent the bachelor suite attatched to my house for a very low cost and am thinking about opening up a consignment tack shop.

    I live in a city of about 250,000?? and we have only one tack shop in town. Several years ago we had a few more but they have long since closed. They have a good selection of new and used english and western saddles, new bridles ect, but not the best selection of new show clothes, and certainly doesnt cater to the a circuit.

    Right now it's not unheard of for people to drive a few hours to a near by major city for show clothes and items and brands that the local shop

    I would like to carry mostly used clothing (show and otherwise) and good quaility used tack... I just dont want anything super well used and junky.

    There are also many local lesson horse programs who could provide a good customer base for kids clothes ect.

    Has anyone tried anything like this before with any sucess? Is there a consignment tack shop in your area?

    What would you think is a fair consignment rate of $100 or under items? $100 and over items?

  • #2
    It's definitely risky...even if you don't end up going out of business quickly, you might not be making any profit at all. I live in a city of almost 800,000 and I was considering opening a tack shop and changed my mind - even though the nearest one is 1.5 hours away and they only carry high end items. Everyone gets their things online (and at shows) these days! And for really small things like wormers, brushes, and lead ropes that you don't want to pay shipping for? Well, there's feed stores, hardware stores, The Tractor Supply, etc. I'm not trying to be a Debby Downer (at least I think that's the expression, lol), if you think there's enough horse people in your area to pull it off, then go for it. One thing you could do is offer to list things on ebay for people (AND have the item for sale in your store)...ebay reaches sooo many people, so it's sure to sell one way or another. No one wants to have their things sitting in a consignment store for months lol.


    • #3
      This is a VERY tough time to be starting a business- even the established businesses in my area are hurting, because people still are not spending money.

      Just a thought.


      • #4
        Consignment shops are great, esp. in this time and if you can keep your overhead costs down (which of all horse businesses consignment would be the easiest i think..) you could do well.

        I will say though, I worked at a tack shop that had a "discount section" and people will HAGGLE with you until the sun goes down.

        We were VERY fair with our prices and people will still try to get more money off. On stupid stuff too, like a jar of saddle soap with a dent, we'd make it 20% off and they'd want it for 50%. If you can deal with people like that then you'll do well!


        • #5
          There is a great consignment shop in my area and pretty much everyone I know shops there... they also carry new items as well as used, and can find or order pretty much anything if their vendors have it. The customer service is a big part of the draw, I think -- they really know their regular customers, will tell you if they are getting an item in that you might like, will keep an eye out for something in particular if you ask, etc. Also their consignment prices are VERY reasonable. Nothing will turn customers off faster than overpriced used items; you have to find the balance between making money and having good prices that will move stock.


          • #6
            The tack shops I know are going out of business. My local guy said he sells out of everything every 4 months. Now he's ready to buy spring inventory, and he hasn't sold last spring's inventory. He said, what do I do, buy my spring inventory, in the realm of 10's of thousands of dollars, and it doesn't seell? I can't compete with the online sales. Even his consignments are stale. Nobody is buying his used equipment, and its good stuff.

            They can't compete with online prices, and everyone is buying online. Online, you don't have to even spend gas money or time, your products are delivered. Unless you can supply high volume feed also, I don't think you will make your rent.

            You would need to advertise far and wide. I am seeing tack shops from MD and VA advertising in our local CT newspaper. Despearte times.

            In order for you to get repeat and loyal customers, you have to have a large inventory of supplies, show clothes, buckets, everything else besides the consignments which costs you an arm and a leg. If is doesn't sell, you're up bare bottom creek.

            If all you want to do is collect an inventory of used saddles to auction on ebay, you will have low overhead, but you better have weekly income to pay that rent, and you may not be able to sell at a profit. Its a lot of work and not alot of payoff. Are you going to start selling used farm equipment too? Used harnesses and blankets? Do you know anything about them? Can you repair them? Do you have harness sewing machines? Do you sell them as is? How much do you think you will get for broken harnesses or broken bridles, or saddles. Can you afford to turn them away? How many used saddles, show coats (which someone else actually wants) hats, boots bridles and halters do you think you are going to get in on consignemt? You better have all these numbers figured out, and work up at least a general idea of your profit and loss to show a landlord. Or at least to show yourself to decide if you can do this. Instead of asking bulletin board people their opinon.

            In general, its a lousy idea. Specifically, well you haven't supplied specifics.
            Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


            • #7
              What about carrying a few new items as well? Maybe a few brands of breeches or other clothing. People tend to like to try on breeches rather than buy them over the net.

              If you can think of items that are always needed for the show ring or for general horse ownership, and need to be replaced quickly and frequently, those might be good things to keep in stock as well. Not the best example, but, I tend to pick up double-ended snaps on trips to the tack shop. And fly spray. If you have a good selection of *necessaries* always on hand, that could help bring people into your shop.

              Maybe look into carrying *boutique* type items that are exclusive or at least less common at general tack shops. If you know of local crafters who make pottery, artwork, or even handmade greeting cards with horse themes, a source for locally made horse biscuits or treats, or perhaps saddle pads with unusual fabrics or customized. The saddle pads might not attract the attention of the show folks, but it might bring in other horse owners.

              What other types of activities are horse owners in your area involved in? If there's a sizable number of people who show Arabs, for instance, maybe you could find someone who makes fancy show halters for Arabs. My point is to target to various types of horse owners, and, if you can find *other* areas of interest besides the A circuit activity in your area, you'll broaden your customer base. If you focus too narrowly, you'll limit your audience for the things in your store that any horse owner would buy.


              • #8
                Tack stores everywhere are closing. And there's already a good international used tack store. It's called eBay.


                • #9
                  Depends ENTIRELY on your area, your potential customers, where you'll GET the stuff to sell. People in other areas who don't know your contacts (AND potential costs, staffing, business plan, overhead, etc. etc. etc.) cannot POSSIBLY give you ANY useful information.


                  • #10
                    Talk to people, potential clients, supplies, etc.
                    Come up with a business plan.
                    Some banks and chamber of commerce type places have people that can assist you with a plan
                    This is a tough economy to start a business.
                    But if you can afford to try, go ahead the worst you can do is fall on your butt.


                    • #11

                      IF your overhead is low enough, and IF you have someone to staff the store, and IF you have enough contacts to bring you consignments and come shop for them, I say go for it. Once you get a regular customer base, you can start adding other items that are not consignment. The ebay idea is a good one too. A typical consignment store will charge 50-60% commission. You should charge less for saddles or very expensive items. Most people have stuff sitting around their barn, house, tack room etc, that are just collecting dust and they would rather have the few bucks that they would make on it than have to clean it! One person's trash is another person's treasure. But, you are right, you can say no to stuff that is too trashy. It will just sit there and make the rest of the place look bad. Keep in mind you will need some sort of display racks/tables, which will be an investment. Another thing to consider is taking credit cards and hours of operation. People won't come if you don't have regular hours. But you could start with just weekends and go from there. Start small with extremely low overhead and see how it goes. PM me for more details. I have a little experience with this.


                      • #12
                        Wow, lots of people shooting you down here. Like someone else said, if your area can handle a used tack shop, then do it. The only real overhead you'll have (if you go all consignment) is the cost of buying racks, a cash register, hangers (which you can usually get at clothing stores for free) and rent, utilities. The good thing about consignment is that if you don't make it, all you have to do is give the stuff back to the people who brought it in and close your doors (providing you have a month to month lease). I would love to have one around here and was thinking of opening one. I just don't have the time right now. I would MUCH rather buy used from a local consignment store than take the hours and hours it could take to find something on the internet, hoping that it arrives in the condition it said it was in, pay for shipping etc etc. Go for it and I wish you the best.


                        • #13
                          Actually I will disagree with the naysayers - I think this could work. But the WAY that I think it could work is if YOU also sell online. Maybe ebay, or maybe your own website. Let's face it, that's the way the world works these days. But your advantage over ebay can be that you are backing the product with your company name - unlike buying from ebay, where it is always a bit of a risk dealing with the unknown seller.

                          So as an online consignment shop, you can now be competitive with all the other online new-tack shops - and in this economy, used will be a LOT more competitive than new. Heck, I would LOVE to give you some quality consignment items to sell online so I don't have to deal with the hassle of ebay or whatever. You can also haunt craigslist etc. for local steals that you can sell on a national level.

                          Good luck!!
                          where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?


                          • #14
                            online, bricks-and-morter

                            I think the consignment store is a good idea-- especially if you can think of a way to do it in phases. Not buying inventory allows you to "back out" at any point it seems not to be working.

                            So think about minimizing the capital outlay for starting your business, but know you will have to put in plenty of time.

                            There are many long-standing consignment stores you can perhaps call for basic advice. The Tack Exchange in Middleburg VA is one. If it's still alive, you might also call Saddles to Boots in Santa Rosa, CA. Bucks County Saddlery in Buckingham, PA had a healthy consignment business along side their new-tack one. All three places seem to have good systems and a following.

                            As to the e-Bay scene, perhaps check out Rider's Closet. I'm sure there are others.

                            But why not do a mixture of on-line and real, more on-line in the beginning. I think Craigslist is your friend here. You can both ask for consignments and offer stuff there for free.

                            Best of luck!
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat


                            • #15
                              The consignment tack store in my area does something like this:
                              <$100 = 50/50 (you/store)
                              $100-$500 = 60/40 (you/store)
                              $500+ and ALL saddles = 80/20 (you/store)

                              I may be a bit off, but this is the general idea.

                              I LOVE consignment tack... in fact, I prefer to buy good-quality used over anything else (even good-quality new), because then I don't have to break it in AND it's cheaper.

                              Until very recently, I could not tell you the last thing I bought new
                              If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                              Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous