Kids grow fast – and outgrow their clothes, toys, and more. It’s a fact of life, and the basis for the Just Between Friends (JBF) consignment sales. Eden Prairie’s fall edition of the pop-up sale takes place this year, Oct. 12-14, at Champions Hall.
Jeni Crabtree, an EP resident, has owned the Eden Prairie JBF franchise since 2020. Although she owned the Edina franchise for a few years before that, her first experience with the JBF sales was as a shopper at the Eden Prairie event in 2014, while expecting her first child.
“I remember going with my mom and we both, practically our chins were on the floor, like holy cow, this is amazing,” Crabtree said. “And when I added up the savings of how much I saved, I was totally hooked.”
The premise of the sale is that local consignors sell their children’s outgrown items, including clothing in sizes infant to teen, toys, books and more, for approximately one-third to one-fourth of the retail price. Consignors receive 60% of the sales proceeds on their items, and shoppers find bargains.
“One time I had gotten one of those baby bouncers, like a Jumperoo type of thing,” Crabtree said. “And I went home later and found out what the retail price was of that one item. And my entire purchase, including tons of clothes, other toys, and baby equipment was about the same price as if I would have gotten just that one item brand-new.”
A ‘learning curve’ for consignors
Crabtree runs Eden Prairie JBF sales in the fall and the spring. At the spring 2023 Eden Prairie JBF Sale, which took place in May, 260 consignors participated, for a total of 25,432 items sold. Consignor checks, while varying slightly from sale to sale, average around $350, Crabtree said.
Consignors have the choice to reclaim or donate unsold items; the charity partner for the Eden Prairie JBF Sale is Grace Church’s Clothing Closet. A total of 5,725 items, valued at about $22,408, were donated from the spring 2023 sale.
“What I love so much about JBF is that I’m able to help people either afford to be able to get things for their kids, or sell things that their kids no longer need, which also then helps them to afford either new things for their kids or other things that they need in their lives, and then also we get to work with a charity partner who gives away the donated items for free so it’s helping people in so many different ways, and that’s the part that really blesses my heart,” Crabtree said.
Ironically, before purchasing the Edina franchise in 2016, Crabtree herself had never been a JBF consignor. “So that was one of those big learning curves for me,” she said. Through mutual connections, she met Janis Soule and Heather Wirth, experienced consignors who now work as staff supervisors at the Eden Prairie JBF sales, and provide insight into tagging and pricing questions from consignors.
“The very first time consigning, there’s a little bit of a learning curve,” Crabtree said. Consignors must create tags for their items on the Just Between Friends corporate website, which includes setting prices for their items. Crabtree provides information, including tagging videos, on the Eden Prairie JBF website, but “One of the best resources I really try to lead people towards is the Facebook group that we have for consignors,” she said. “Not only is there a lot of information already on there, but it’s a great forum to ask your questions as well. They’ll post a picture or ask for a specific clarification like, ‘Well, can I sell this?’ or ‘What would you price this at?’ ‘I have this great set of LEGOs, but how do I put it together so that it doesn’t’ come apart at the sale?’”
Proceeds used to pay for medical bills, dance lessons
Bestsellers at the sales include large items like strollers, portable cribs, outdoor equipment such as playhouses or bicycles, play kitchens and ride-on toys. “Surprisingly, even though clothing doesn’t cost very much, that’s actually a really big seller,” Crabtree said. “We usually sell about half the clothing that we get there.”
Shoppers at the sale include what Crabtree refers to as “our set of regulars,” but also people finding out about the sale for the first time. “We have people every sale that are in the building for something else and like, ‘Whoa, what’s this?’ And that’s always fun to be able to introduce it to new people,” she said. Presale shopping times are also offered to certain groups, such as first-time parents and grandparents, community heroes (including teachers, first responders, and military members), staff and consignors.
When asking consignors what they intend to use their checks for, Crabtree said she has heard answers like paying off medical bills or affording surgery. “Those are really important things in people’s lives,” she said. “And especially with all the price increases lately, budgets are really tight.”
She noted that JBF corporate recently changed its tagline to “helping families say yes.” “And I love that,” she added. “Because of what we do, we’re able to help families say yes, and it may be yes to items at JBF or maybe because of JBF and being able to save money there, they can say yes to something else, like dance lessons, or maybe a vacation.”
“That’s what I love about JBF is that I’m able to help people either afford to be able to get things for their kids, or sell things that their kids no longer need, which also then helps them to afford either new things for their kids or other things that they need in their lives,” Crabtree said.
“I’ve joked around that I get paid in feels. Once I get to the sale and everything’s set up and shoppers start coming, I’m just like, ‘OK, this is the reason we do this. Look at the people it’s helping.’”
The Eden Prairie Just Between Friends Sale will occur on Oct. 12-14 at Champions Hall, 7000 Washington Ave. S., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Writer Joanna Werch Takes is a current and former consignor at the Eden Prairie JBF Sale, and a staff member for the fall 2023 sale.
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