The Golden Rule of Resale

As Told by the Rebecca Minkoff Purse I Scored for $20 at a Garage Sale

The best thing that happened to me this summer was my neighbor's garage sale. For years I watched delivery trucks bring boxes from Hautelook, RueLaLa, Nordstrom and J. Crew (to name a few) to her doorstep. 

I knew this woman had good stuff in her closet. I'm not a religious person but I prayed for a garage sale.

The day she put out a garage sale sign I almost cried happy tears. 

The garage sale lasted all summer long. Every day I drove by piles of premium denim, unworn leather boots, toys, strollers, two clothing racks of shirts and sweaters, hundreds of jewelry pieces and more than 20 coats. 

Kenneth Cole, Adrienne Vittadini, Steve Madden, Seven for All Mankind, Citizens for Humanity, Hudson and Frankie B were among the names in my driveway. 

Meeting Rebecca Minkoff

My neighbor's sister (aka the garage sale administrator) asked me if I need a purse on my second (or was it third?) shopping trip in the driveway. I did not need a purse but humoring her felt neighborly. She went in the house and brought back a leather bag. 

I faked interest. Then she flipped the purse over to show me a broken clasp and I saw the nameplate.

Rebecca Minkoff. 

"20 dollars. I'll give you 20 dollars for this," I said. 

My heart pounded as I quickly calculated my offer. I knew the purse was worth around $400. I'm guessing the original owner paid around $200 on a sample sale site. 

Twenty dollars was a steal, not a bargain. Even so, this purse illustrates the most important and often overlooked Golden Rule of Resale.

Your Stuff is Worth what Someone is Willing to Pay for It

Depreciation with used goods is a gray area. We know cars lose about 10 percent of value when you drive them away from the car lot. The same rule does not apply for used clothes, toys and gear. 

I tell people to price things at 40 percent of what they paid and be willing to take up to 20 percent less. It's a harsh reality. But in the secondhand marketplace, the value of an item depends on how much someone is willing to pay for it at any given moment.

While it varies from buyer to buyer, this rule doesn't change from medium to medium (think Craigslist, consignment sales, resale sites, etc.). 

Embracing the Golden Rule of Resale

You can't control how much a person is willing to pay for an item but you can help them arrive at their price point. The price you paid and retail value are reference points that can help buyers arrive at a price. It can hurt to let something sell for less than you think it's worth. Providing these reference points are a good platform for negotiation. But ultimately, the buyer determines the sale price.

Initial investment, emotional attachment or flat out need for cash tends to inflate what we think people should pay for our used stuff. Resale can be revolutionary when we embrace the golden rule of resale.

After all, what good does an item do tucked away in a closet or stashed in an attic? Embrace the rule of resale and sell your stuff to someone who wants it- for a price they are willing to pay.

Posted in rebecca minkoff, resale, rules of resale 9/15/2014 at 6:30pm by Jen Rittenhouse

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Off the Rack

Jen is the co-creator of Swap Meet Mama. She is a copywriter, marketer and trend spotter by trade. She loves to build things that connect with people and believes in the power of thrift store shopping. Her daughter, Stella Mae (aka, Maeby, Mae Mae and Nena) dresses almost exclusively in denim and secondhand duds.

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