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Purge, sort, consign!

I’ve been selling to and buying from Lolo’s consignment shop in St. Helena for years and am constantly amazed by the organizational skills it must require to run the store. I have hooked up almost all of my local clients with Lolo’s. It is a terrific reward after a big closet or garage clean-out to drop off a bunch of stuff and within 30 days or so get one of Lolo’s crisp pink checks in the mail. 

Lolo’s proprietress, Kristine Waldenburg, moved here from Southern California and opened the shop 12 years ago. At that time, the green movement and recycling mentality were not the phenomenon they are today. Now, with all the belt-tightening going on in just the last year, Lolo’s is perfectly positioned to serve both the person purging stuff to make a little extra cash and the person looking for great fashion and items for the home at a fraction of the retail cost.

Kristine and I sat down a few days ago to talk about how get the most out of the store as a rich organizing resource.

Angela Hoxsey: How has your business changed in the last 12 years?

Kristine Waldenburg: It hasn’t changed that much. Clothing is still the main thrust. You find out what sells and what doesn’t sell routinely. We’ve added more furniture. Also we are now online at www.lolosconsignment.com, clothing only. We ship for free and locals can call to put items on hold so they can come into the store to try them on. Our farthest customer so far was in the UK — that was cool. Lolo’s is now open to the world!

AH: What are your tips for people who want to bring in items to consign?

KW: The first question to ask yourself is, “Would I buy it?” If it is stained, wrinkled or torn, we won’t take it. We won’t take worn underwear or socks or shoes with the foot print visible in them. There is an “ick” factor. In some cases, it only takes one wearing to make an item unsellable. 

AH: I remember I brought in a black, never worn Armani suit for a client once and you wouldn’t take it because the jacket was too long and out of style. I was shocked!

KW: If I don’t think it will sell, it’s pointless for me to take up the room.

AH: What else do you absolutely not want to see?

KW: We don’t take bridal wear or appliances. Things need to be brought in ready to sell. We’re not going to polish your silver or sell chipped china or one-off pieces of china. We like complete sets of things.

AH: How about for furniture?

KW: We sell a lot of dressers, it’s amazing. Dressers always sell.

AH: Because people need storage!

KW: That’s a good theory. Also, small furniture, like cool chairs, end tables, lamps — we like vintage or contemporary styles. High quality sells. We sell a ton of jewelry.

AH: When do you want to see consigners?

KW: We look at stuff between the hours of 10:30 and 3:30 every day except Sunday. We buy seasonally, so no bathing suits in November and no wool coats in July, that sort of thing. Also, we take absolutely no clothing in the months of January and August.

AH: How much money can people expect to get for their stuff and what happens to items that don’t sell?

KW: We sell stuff for a quarter of the retail price, approximately. Of that, consigners get 40 percent for clothing, 50 percent for jewelry and 60 percent for furniture and household items. The reason you get less for clothes is because it is labor intensive for us to enter, tag and track each item. After 45 days, items go on sale for half-price. If an item doesn’t sell after 60 days, the consigner can either pick it up or we can pass it on to a charity for them.

AH: How about for shoppers? How do they make the most of your store? 

KW: Plan to spend at least 20 minutes looking around. There is a lot of stuff here and it is a lot to take in. But if you’re looking for, say, a pair of black jeans, we have a section for that and you can focus your shopping. There’s no best time to come in — we put new stuff out almost every day.

AH: What is the oddest item anyone has brought in to consign?

KW: I guess it would be the stuffed marlin (fish). I’m not sure how long it took to sell but we didn’t mind having it around; we liked it!

Lolo’s is located at 1120 Main Street in St. Helena, 963-7972.