In 2005, Jennifer Higdon started hearing the buzz about “consignment sales” taking place in cities all across the South. One of her Nashville friends told her that these consignment sales offered the opportunity to purchase an entire season’s worth of clothing for her three boys at a small fraction of the retail cost. The idea of saving so much on essentials like kids’ clothing intrigued Higdon, and she wondered if the concept could work in Owensboro.
Not a mere coincidence, Jennifer Higdon had just had a conversation with her sister-in-law, Stephanie Higdon, at Christmas about how Stephanie Higdon had dreamed of one day opening up her own shop. Jennifer knew Stephanie would be the perfect person to help bring a consignment sale to Owensboro.
“Looking back”, Jennifer says, “It seems like it was a five minute conversation when I called her to see if she was interested.” She explained the concept, and just like that, Stephanie was her partner. “The best thing about having Stephanie on board is that she brought new ideas to the concept. She wanted to add furniture and home décor, adult clothing, and exercise equipment to the list of items we accepted. We were one of the first consignment sales to do this, and now we know of other sales in the country doing the same thing.”
The Higdon duo spent the next eight months building a website to explain the concept to others, building clothing racks, and finding the right location. The location they knew they wanted was the Owensboro Boys and Girls Club. The director, Steve Winkler, was very open to this new idea, and, once they had the location, “The Tot, the Teen, and the Wardrobe Consignment Sale” was born. The girls had their first sale in the fall of 2006.
“Our first sale, we worked so very hard to get 60 consignors,” says Stephanie. “We called everyone we knew, and they said, ‘You are going to do what?’ It took a lot of convincing in the beginning. In the early days, we spent hours on the phone just explaining to people how this was going to work. Now, we rarely get calls. People have taught each other how these sales work.”
The process is simple. Consignors go to www.ttwky.com, create an account, and register for the sale. Once they have paid the registration fee, the items they plan to bring are entered into the online account. Once items have been entered, consignors print bar-coded tags to attach to their items. All the items must be prepared according to the guidelines on the website.
Once the items are prepared, consignors bring them to the sale at designated drop off times. Drop off times are the Thursday night before the sale from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m., or the Friday morning before the sale from 8:00 a.m. to noon. After drop off, the Higdon girls and their team of volunteers do the rest of the work for the consignors.
Consignors earn 70% on all items sold and attend exclusive presales. “It’s a very good deal,” says Miriam Peay, a consignor. “I could have a yard sale, but I would never be able to sell as much as I do at one of the consignment sales. They have so many people come to shop that I rarely take much home with me. It has always been worth the effort to prepare my items for one of these sales. And I really enjoy attending the presale the night before. I always find some great buys.”
Angela Hilgenhold, from Tell City, has always volunteered to work the consignment sale. In fact, she always works three or more shifts, because volunteers earn special privileges. Volunteers can earn a higher commission on items sold and shop at special volunteer presales held at varying times, depending on the number of hours worked. Hilgenhold says, “It is the most wonderful time of the year when I get to hang out with the Higdon girls and help them bring this great event to the city, and find lots of great items for my family. I have never missed a sale. In fact, I plan my year around it. I love it that much. I even have my niece, Lori, hooked on this event with me now, too.”
Stephanie and Jennifer Higdon are gearing up for their seventeenth sale. The event takes place twice a year, always in April and September. “It is a lot of work,” says Stephanie, “but when I see all the people working together to make such an event happen, it warms my heart. I love seeing the smiles on the shoppers’ faces when they can afford to get needed items for their families.”
The next sale takes place on September 13 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a “Half-Off Sale” on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Owensboro Boys and Girls Club at 3415 Buckland Square, Owensboro, Kentucky.
More information can be found at the website www.ttwky.com, on their Facebook page, or by calling (270) 993-7532 (Jennifer) or (270) 316-2732 (Stephanie).