After the disruption of remote learning, this year’s back-to-school season is an exciting time for every family. For some kids, this fall is the first time they’ll be returning to the classroom. But one thing hasn’t changed: kids still outgrow their clothes, shoes, backpacks and coats. If you’re looking for a way to outfit your kids for back to school without breaking your budget — or you’re looking to sell your gently used kids’ clothing and gear — Rhea Lana’s is your solution.
A household name in the southern states, Rhea Lana’s is a unique alternative to purchasing new clothes, shoes and accessories every season. With four unique pop-up sales throughout the Chicagoland area, parents can buy and sell essentially all they need to clothe their kids.
“We sold a lot of pajamas last year because so many kids were staying home from school and learning remotely,” says Jessica Nelson, mom of two kids and owner of Rhea Lana’s of Schaumburg, Rhea Lana’s of Rockford, Rhea Lana’s of Southwest Chicago Suburbs and Rhea Lana’s of Fox Valley. “Most families’ budgets haven’t increased from last year, so shopping at Rhea Lana’s is more important than ever. We’re excited to bring this opportunity to four communities for back-to-school and fall and winter shopping for bargain hunters here.”
Different from a typical brick-and-mortar consignment shop, Rhea Lana’s offers families a great way to upcycle their unused clothing or purchase a like-new seasonal wardrobe for this year — or both.
“At our pop-up events, we sell everything from baby-wear through teen-wear, plus maternity,” Nelson says. “That’s everything you can think of. Sporting goods and clothing, books, decor, shoes, bookbags, backpacks, diaper bags, boots. It’s a one-stop shop.”
Read on to learn what you need to know about the four Rhea Lana’s pop-up shops this fall.
Outfit your kids at bargain prices
“People who shop at Rhea Lana’s events will save 60% to 90% off what they pay at a retail store and that helps stretch the budget further,” Nelson says. “Just walking around the store, I’ll see a lot of items for sale that are new with tags on them. Or like-new clothing, especially those snowsuits that have been barely worn. In the stores, they are $30 to $60, but here are less than half that price.”
Unlike at a typical resale shop or garage sale, Rhea Lana’s items go through a thorough quality control check before they hit the racks, so you can be assured that you’re purchasing the best quality for your money, Nelson says.
“We have a full inspection process and we provide a lot of support to those who consign with us so that from the get-go, shoppers get the best bang for their buck,” she says. “You’ll find everything is in season and many items like new.”
Because Rhea Lana’s events have limited inventory, plan to shop early to get the best selection. Think seasonal sports clothing and shoes, scout uniforms — even ballet shoes for your toddler. These are all items you could find at one of the four Rhea Lana’s events, and so much more. All items are double-checked for recalls and inspected for safety, Nelson says.
Family-run and community-centered
Because Rhea Lana’s events are held in temporary “pop-up” locations within the communities served, there’s a hometown feel to the shopping experience. Local parents are buying high-quality, gently used items from other parents who live close by. “There’s something really special about that aspect of Rhea Lana’s events,” Nelson says.
Even though each event is professionally organized and coordinated from start to finish, the four Rhea Lana’s events in Schaumburg, Rockford, southwest suburbs and Fox Valley are essentially family businesses, with all the individual care and attention to detail that involves. Nelson is likely to be pulling tags on the floor while her husband, Bo, rings up sales — and they’ll both be helping people haul items from their cars.
“The reason we do this is because we see the need in our communities for this type of event,” Nelson says. “We live here and our families live nearby and, as parents ourselves, we know how hard it is to stretch our budgets to make sure our kids have what they need. We shop and consign, too.”
Put your child’s outgrown clothes to work and earn some cash
Every parent knows how little wear an infant-sized snowsuit gets in one season — especially if it is one of five they received as baby shower gifts. It makes perfect sense to dig that snowsuit out of storage and consign it at a Rhea Lana’s event.
By consigning gently used maternity clothing, baby swings, cribs. backpacks, boots and bicycles, you can earn money. Register online to be a consignor and start adding your items to your database. Rhea Lana’s provides support with how-to videos and plenty of advice on how to price your items. Then tag them and prepare to take them to the event location.
If you know you have a lot of items but not a lot of time, consider joining the VIP program to take advantage of help to process, log, tag and hang your items on the sales floor.
“One aspect I really love about Rhea Lana’s is that we provide a personalized experience for our consignors,” Nelson says. “We walk you through the process and there’s a social media consignor club where you can even ask questions and get answers in real time. This is a community of support from moms and dads just like you.”
The whole process is computerized, so after the sale is open to the public, you can check on your sales online in real time. Your check will be ready on the final day of the event, so there is no waiting weeks or months for payment.
“We also offer consignor credit so you can shop during the sale. For a lot of families, this has become a way of life for them. They earn credit for the items that have sold and they come in and purchase for that season,” Nelson says.
As busy as the events can be, Nelson says she loves working with consignors because she enjoys hearing their stories.
“It becomes very personal. I’m blown away by how many times people say thank you and that they wouldn’t have been able to clothe their children or earn money to do something special or help pay for a family vacation,” she says.
For the community
To recognize special members of the community, Rhea Lana’s pop-up events open early for military families, health care heroes, first responders, moms-to-be, teachers and educational support staff.
And, at the close of each sale, families can choose to collect their unsold items or have them donated to local charities.
But before the final close of the sale, the event is open and available to foster families in the community, says Nelson.
“One of the hallmarks of our events is our free Foster Family Shopping Event” Nelson says. “We invite local foster families to shop for items that they need for children currently in their care at no cost to them. The store is closed to all customers, consignors, and we have a small group of our staff this time to serve these amazing families.”
Years ago, Rhea Lana saw the need in her community to support local foster families in their ministry of serving the children of her community. She built upon this and made it part of the foundation of Rhea Lana’s events framework, says Nelson.
“We are so grateful to her for helping us to highlight these amazing people and the wonderful work that they do in all of our communities. We are honored to be able to continue on this good work here in the suburbs of Chicago, right here in Illinois,” Nelson says.
“Every sale, every season, is a new adventure but the one constant is building families and the communities that we serve one piece of clothing at a time. We are so excited as we look toward the future and continue to strive to support all families this season and beyond.”
Learn more about:
- Rhea Lana’s of Schaumburg (July 25-31) – Located in the Arboretum of South Barrington
- Rhea Lana’s of Rockford (Aug. 6-9) Located in Cherryvale Mall in Rockford
- Rhea Lana’s of SW Chicago Suburbs (Aug. 29-31) Located in Lakeview Plaza in Orland Park
- Rhea Lana’s of Fox Valley (Sept. 19-23) Located in Westridge Court in Naperville