Amanda Cliborn of Covington knows that the bi-annual Tykes, Tots, and Teens Consignment Sale is the place to find good deals. Cliborn is the mother of four children and she's 6 months pregnant with baby number five. Lifting up the stack of clothes in her arms, Cliborn smiles. "You can see, I found plenty today."
With over 700 consignors and a layout meant to make shopping quick and easy, Cliborn's find is no happy accident. Laura and Claibon Johns, who founded Tykes, Tots, and Teens Consignment Sales (or TTT) in the spring of 2006, work hard to make sure people find what they're looking for and then some.
"We pride ourselves in strict quality acceptance standards [from our consignors], an organized, ‘no digging' layout for our customers, and always improving sales operations," says Laura. This is evident as customers come through check out on opening day and her husband, Claibon, asks how long a wait time they experienced. "30 minutes? Are you happy with that?"
TTT is big, bigger than most other consignment sales and it's well organized, too, but what exactly is a consignment sale and what makes throngs of people shop them?
A consignment is a trading arrangement in which a seller sends goods to a buyer or reseller who pays the seller only as and when the goods are sold. The seller remains the owner of the goods until they are paid for and, after a certain period, takes back the unsold goods. Most often, this arrangement happens in a "second hand shop." Consignment sales are limited engagements, not in a year round store.
This year, TTT has over 700 consignors. The sheer bulk of the merchandise filled the warehouse they use at the International Horse Park and they are able to restock each day.
Dawn Lilyander, from Conyers, is a volunteer, consignor, and shopper at TTT. She's worked the sale for two years now. Lilyander likes how the percentage of money she earns from her items goes up in relation to how many hours she volunteers at the sale. "If I work 20 hours, I earn 80 percent plus I get to shop early, before the sale is open to the public"
Steve and Lori Elble drove up from Warner Robbins for opening day of the TTT sale on Oct. 8 with plans to make a day of it in Atlanta afterward. Lori is a firm believer in consignment sales as a rule. She says, "I save hundreds and hundreds over what I would pay in the store."
The Elble family has been to other consignment sales, but found that they simply couldn't sift through the racks like they can at TTT. Florence Grove of Conyers agrees.
"I like hunting for bargains at consignment sales, but these people make it easy. I have to stretch my budget as far as it will go and second hand is the way to go for my family to make ends meet."
Laura Johns can relate. "Growing up in a financially restricted household, I learned one of the most important aspects of life - the value of a dollar."
Laura learned consigning at her mother's knee. "Each season, I'd help my mother tag my outgrown clothes to consign in our local sale. Even though money was tight in my family, consigning was exciting for me and I learned valuable lessons about saving money."
A walk around the sale on opening weekend and families can be seen imparting that same lesson to their children. New isn't always best and second hand can be an exciting way to shop.
The TTT sale's final weekend is Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct.15 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Shoppers can take advantage of even greater savings this weekend with half price on all tags with a star and dollar dash from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday night. For more information about the sale, visit www.TykesTotsTeens.com.