Covington moms Laura Johns and Brandi Corley are on a mission - to connect other families with inexpensive name-brand clothing through the Tykes, Tots and Teens spring consignment sale.
Frugality runs deep in Johns' blood. Her mother always provided the latest fashions but never paid full price for the family's wardrobe. She taught her daughter to frequent garage sales and consignment sales for hidden bargains, always approaching the hunt with a sense of fun and adventure.
"I don't even remember buying a new article of clothing until I was 11," Johns said. "I got one shirt and I remember it cost $10. I remember thinking I could get three shirts for that price if we went back to one of those sales. I guess you could say it's just natural for me to be a bargain queen."
Shortly after the birth of her first child, Johns felt inspired to create a consignment sale of her own. The concept for Tykes, Tots and Teens was born. Johns explained how the consignment process works.
"Sellers drop off their items for a week long event ... everything from infant through teen sized clothing, toys, baby equipment, baby and youth furniture, bedding, books, DVDs, and much more.
"The big bonus of being a seller is the special preview sale open only to them, our workers and our sponsors. Our consignors keep 70 percent of their total sales," Johns added.
Most items are marked down the last day of the sale. Sellers then pick up any unsold items or may choose to have them donated to local charities and needy Newton County children. Checks are mailed to sellers within a few weeks of the sale's closing.
The first Tykes, Tots and Teens sale opened in the spring of 2006 with a mere 18 consignors.
"Despite the low seller turnout, our sales were high and our reputation was born," Johns said. "We were detailed, organized and picky. Our customers loved us for that. Today we have more than 1,000 people on our mailing list. Last fall we had 140 consignors and we estimate more than 200 at this week's sale."
Last year, Johns' sister-in-law, Corley, was pleased when Johns invited her to become co-owner of the biannual sale.
"At first, I worried that I wouldn't have the time to devote to it," Corley said. "But then, I was thankful for the opportunity. I wouldn't be able to clothe my own children if it weren't for this sale."
The 9198 Wheat St. warehouse location is the sale's biggest ever. "We have 20,000 square feet of floor space and ample parking," Johns said.
Shoppers are encouraged to arrive early and bring a large container to hold their purchases. Payments must be in the form of cash or personal check. For more information please visit www.TykesTotsTeens.com or call Corley at (770) 786-1542.