At Luxury Garage Sale, co-owners Brielle Buchberg and Lindsay Segal visit homes to help customers sort through their items, explaining which ones are likely to sell and which ones won't. (Basics like black pants and pencil skirts rarely do well, but standout items with embellishments and unique details sell quickly, Ms. Buchberg says. Hermes enamel bracelets and handbags by Chanel and Celine are popular and hold their value over other items, she says.) The first time the pair visited her home, Lesley Prizant Goodman, a retired trader who lives in Lincoln Park, was impressed. “They went through my belongings and tagged every single item and then bagged it all and took it out. Then I got a list of the items faxed to me. It was seamless and I know that was a lot of work for them,” says Ms. Goodman, who now regularly consigns with Luxury Garage Sale.
Repeat consigners are often addicted to the thrill of getting paid for their castoffs. “It's very, very cool to see how much people are willing to pay for your stuff,” Ms. McFadden says. EDrop-off will email clients a link so they can track auctions on eBay and watch their items get bid up. All items start at either $18.99 or $49.99, but prices for covetable goods go up dramatically from there. “If we let a Givenchy bag walk out of here for $100, we wouldn't continue to have the flow of incoming items we do. At the end of the day, the item goes for its fair market value. Many times that's much more than what you think you'll get for something.” For instance, a recently listed Louis Vuitton bag started out at $49.99 but surpassed $2,000 after five days of bidding. There's also immediate payoff for consigners — checks are cut and mailed on a weekly basis.
Luxury Garage Sale has a different business model. While it sells some goods on eBay, most are sold at its Old Town brick-and-mortar store, on its recently launched website and through pop-up shops that travel to other Midwest cities. And because it doesn't use online auctions, there are no surprises when an item sells. (Pricing for each item is discussed during the closet editing stage.) Clients get an account number and can track their items in real time. At the end of the month, checks are sent out.
The Haute Spot in River West is another consigner that offers free closet edits but shies away from auctions. Though eBay is its main venue for selling, the Haute Spot uses the “Buy it Now” and “Make an Offer” tools instead of accepting bids, meaning buyers can either purchase goods such as Prada dresses and Christian Louboutin shoes for a predetermined set price or submit an offer, which Chris Kvapil, director of business development, approves or denies. “We might sit on your shoes a little bit longer than other places, but we'll get you a better price for them,” Mr. Kvapil says.
Michal Schnell, a full-time mother who lives in Chicago, has been consigning for three years and appreciates Mr. Kvapil's legwork to make a sale. “He goes out of his way to sell something. If it needs to be cleaned or fixed, he'll take care of it,” Ms. Schnell says. “I could make more money if I sold it on my own, but it's not worth my time. They just take the headache out of doing it.”