Carrie Kirby, an Oak Park mother of three and the author of the Chicago Tribune column Frugalista, buys nearly all of her kids' clothes secondhand - including their underwear.
When it comes to searching for gently used finds, Kirby says many people confuse thrift shops with resale stores.
"I think of my shopping options as a spectrum," she says, "from the cheapest thrift stores to rummage sales, consignment events, eBay auctions, and then on up to the higher-end resale shops."
Children's resale and consignment is big business-nationally, and here in the Chicago area. According to an industry trade group, the number of resale/consignment shops has increased at a rate of about 7 percent annually for the past two years to more than 30,000 stores in the U.S. Some stores work on a straight consignment model, others buy the merchandise outright and some use a combination of approaches.
Kirby shares some tricks of the trade:
Kirby reminds sellers and consigners to keep the following in mind when they try to sell their items:
Here are five resale shops we're raving about. Do you have a favorite? Comment below!
954 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 2ndchild.com, (773) 883-0880
The basics: Amy Helgren has been at the helm of this upscale Lincoln Park kiddie resale shop for 23 years. She unapologetically deals with only high-end brands. “No Old Navy or Carter’s,” says Helgren. The Second Child also offers maternity clothes and a selective assortment of gear and equipment, books and toys. Store highlights: The Second Child features brands such as Janie and Jack, Oilily, Ralph Lauren, Papo D’Ango and Catamini.
Best tip for buyers: Bring your child with you because the brands are all sized differently and items may have shrunk in the wash. It’s best to try things on your child right in the store before you buy. Best tip for sellers: Put some work into it. Ironing the clothes can really help get your items purchased.