For everyone that likes to be on-trend and still live green, National Consignment Day, held on the first Monday in October each year — on October 4 this year, is for you! The day encourages people to sell items we no longer use or want to consignment stores. You (and the consignment store) make some money, and someone gets to ethically buy and utilize a gently-used item.
History of National Consignment Day
The consignment store is the sort of place where people bring in items to sell at a fraction of the original price. They display the items in the consignment store for a pre-arranged number of days and are paid a certain amount of the selling price — the rest goes to the store, after the product sells. Such stores stock clothing, home goods, art, furniture, and even books.
But before the U.S. had such stores, there were thrift shops, and before that, pushcarts. The Industrial Revolution was responsible for granting accessibility to a lot of items, and clothing was one of them. Not only did production increase, but pricing also dropped, and buying power was at an all-time high back then. Unfortunately, this also increased the ‘disposable’ nature of clothes. At this time, Jewish immigrants saw an opportunity. All the discarded clothes were resold on pushcarts.
People buying from here were seen as low-class and tasteless. Newspapers included inferences about the dangers of purchasing anything from these carts.
Towards the end of the 19th century, religious groups jumped on this bandwagon, seeing an opportunity to raise funds by reselling items. With the seal of approval from the Christian ministry and the fact that donating made people feel more charitable, the idea of donating and using used goods became more palatable to the general population.
By the 1950s, consignment stores appeared across the U.S. and existed alongside thrift stores. While they both sold used items, thrift stores were largely not-for-profit, while consignment stores paid the owner for the items they brought in, if they were sold.
The word itself mainly means to give something over and into the care of another person. It likely came from the French word ‘consigner’ or the Latin ‘consignare,’ which means ‘to mark with a seal.’
As for how our day came about? Online resale store, The RealReal, which specializes in luxury consignment, launched this day because they believe this is one of the best ways to shop. Operating since 2001, this company is now located in seven major U.S. cities. They founded this day to promote consignment and sustainable fashion.
National Consignment Day timeline
Religious groups see the opportunity reselling provides — for funds and to encourage more charity — and they change the optics of this trend.
The number of stores involved in selling used goods increases around the country, and soon, this giant nonprofit opens stores that offer department-store quality of used goods.
Where until now only thrift stores existed across the U.S., consignment stores begin to make their presence known — they have existed alongside thrift stores ever since.
National Consignment Day is established by online luxury consignment store The RealReal to promote this method of shopping.
National Consignment Day FAQs
What does ‘out of consignment’ mean?
The term, also known as ‘consigned out,’ means the consignor has lent their products/items to the consignee, aka the business or store.
Is consignment a good idea?
If you have unwanted items that are still in good condition, consignment is a good idea simply because you allow someone else to enjoy your things for a minimal fee.
Why is a consignment not a sale?
When a person brings in gently used items into a consignment store, they do so with the understanding that they will only receive the pre-arranged amount if and when the item sells. Until then, the ownership of the items remains with the person itself and not the store; the opposite is true for ownership in the case of a sale.
How to Observe National Consignment Day
Consign, consign, consign
Dig into your closet and other hidden spaces for treasures you don't quite want anymore, and consider selling them at local consignment stores. You make money, promote sustainable fashion, and free up space in your closet! Win-win!
Have a donation event
Don't simply consign alone. Get friends and family to assist you and volunteer their items too. You can make this even more special by donating the proceeds from your efforts towards a charity of your choice.
Celebrate the circular economy
This day is also intended to bring the circular economy — an approach that benefits businesses, society, and the environment — into the spotlight. Share the beauty of such a way of living, and also share details of your consignment to motivate more people to subscribe to this day and its celebrations.
5 Facts About Consignment Stores And National Consignment Day
Consignment shops have another name
They are also known as 'second-hand shops' in the U.S.
Some countries don't use 'consignment' at all
Nations like the U.K. have no special term to talk about such stores, but those that sell women's clothes are called 'dress agencies.'
They sell more than just clothes
Consignment stores sell antiques, automobiles, books, never-worn clothing, furniture, musical instruments, athletic equipment, tools, paragliders, firearms, toys, and more.
The RealReal partnered with Stella McCartney
As this day launched, the founding company formed a strategic partnership that celebrated sustainability with fashion designer Stella McCartney.
The RealReal resell luxury items
The RealReal launched a contest on Instagram in celebration of National Consignment Day and gave away two Louis Vuitton bags to the winners.
Why National Consignment Day is Important
We contribute towards sustainable shopping
We're reselling items we no longer want, but someone else will have use for. We're promoting greener shopping methods and extending products' lives.
We stay fashionable, the responsible way
Clothes from these stores are more trendy than those at thrift stores and are even sometimes stocked according to the season. A good buy means you are elevating your look and are avoiding taking the 'fast fashion' route.
Our budget is (relatively) untouched
Consignment store items are lower priced than normal stores, and some even resell luxury items.
National Consignment Day dates