It’s every consignment store owner’s dream: to have a beautiful boutique filled with high-quality items that your customers love.

As it turns out, though, acquiring that inventory is also one of the most significant battles of consignment store ownership. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to fill your shelves on your own.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Here’s your starter guide:

How Much Consignment Inventory You Need

Here’s a general rule:

Before you open your doors, you need enough inventory for at least 60 days of business.

Many consignors will rent a storage unit or some warehouse space to start gathering inventory while they are still looking for a storefront or working out their store’s layout.

Think this sounds prohibitively expensive? Think again:

The average cost per square foot of warehouse space the U.S. is $5.08.

If you’re going to rent some storage space, make sure it offers enough free square footage to store the items you’re consigning, and that it’s close to your storefront.  

4 Tips to Choose the Right Inventory for Your Store

Your consignment store is only as good as the inventory it carries. With this in mind, it’s smart to ensure you’re investing the time required to find the perfect inventory for your store.

Here are some smart tips to get started:

1. Crowd-Source Inventory

Want unique inventory from a variety of sources? Take this opportunity to advertise that you’re looking for inventory.

Send out flyers or mailers to neighborhoods and let them know you’re opening a consignment store soon and would love to consign their unused furniture and clothing.

Another cost-effective way to promote your store and crowd-source new inventory is to create some Facebook ads.

Facebook ad campaigns are simple to create and can be very useful. For best results, make the ad as targeted as possible – targeting specific zip codes, age ranges, and demographics.  

2. Evaluate Everything for Quality

You don’t want to be the consignment store that’s known for its cheap, already falling-apart inventory. With this in mind, evaluate everything you buy for quality.

Inspect the seams, material, craftsmanship, and wear patterns of all items. If a piece is damaged or worn-out, don’t buy it. Your customers expect quality, first and foremost. Putting this in jeopardy is an excellent way to go out of business.

3. Promote Your Store AND Your Inventory at the Same Time

The time you spend accumulating inventory for your store is also a great time to promote your store’s grand opening. For a simple and inexpensive campaign, post daily Facebook pictures of new items.

4. Branch out Into Your Community

Try starting a co-op with local realtors who are working with people selling their homes. Real estate transactions like foreclosures are a great place to find furniture, clothing, and other merchandise.  

As long as you stay creative, you’ll find that there is no shortage of options!

Your Most Important Inventory: Your Consignors

At the end of the day, your consignors are your most important inventory.

It only takes a few weeks after launching your business to start building relationships with your regular consignors. The stronger these bonds are, the better the inventory they produce.

With this in mind, go the extra mile to offer an ongoing professional relationship to your consignors. Providing a better floor location, quick payments, better consignment splits, and faster service are all great ways to make sure your consignors stay happy, and your business continues to grow as a result.