Recycling your wares: Finding new homes for unwanted items | Kitsap Week
By ERIN JENNINGS
North Kitsap Herald Kitsap Week
March 3, 2011 · Updated 5:20 PM
When LeOnna Small burned through three hand-mixers in a short amount of time, she wondered why things weren’t made to last.
“I kept getting out my mom’s heavy mixer, the one she handed down to me. The one I will probably hand down to my own daughter,” Small said.
Small began to think about over-consumption and how things are frequently tossed into the land fill. She wondered: What ever happened to fixing an item? Or repurposing something to better fit your needs?
That got Small thinking.
What if instead of sending discarded items to the landfill, she could find new homes for them? What if she could help match something broken with a talented person who could restore it?
Four months ago she opened Good Life Consignment with those goals in mind. In that short amount of time, her business has flourished and, last weekend, she moved to a larger space up the road.
Her business plan is simple. People bring in items they no longer need and she sells them on a consignment basis. The consignment terms are worked out on an individual basis but, in general, the more work you do yourself (like set the price, tag and display the items) the bigger your share will be. Once your item sells, you are either paid with money, store credit, or can donate your proceeds to the charity of your choice.
Small points to a stained couch as an example. It’s faded and has a few blemishes, but otherwise is in good condition. It’s not stinky and it’s very comfy. A little time and attention will breath new life into the couch.
Small plans on paying a local craftsman to dye the couch chocolate brown. The customer who brought in the couch will make some money off the sale and Small will take her cut. And the couch will get to enjoy many more football games and lazy Sunday afternoon naps because someone didn’t drive it to the dump, but drove it to Good Life Consignment instead.
Small said people are busy. No one has time for projects. No one wants to buy a dresser whose drawers don’t work or a lawn mower that needs tinkering. That’s why each item in her store is tested and fixed before sold.
Small puts the “customer before the dollar. Then you know you’re good when you check in at night,” she said.
Her store sells just about any item except clothing, although she makes exceptions for sports related items such as ski gloves or dance shoes.
Small said it’s been fun to see the range of items brought to her shop. Things she didn’t even know existed like an album of theremin music. (In case you haven’t heard of it either, a theremin is an electronic musical instrument that was invented in the 1920s. Players don’t touch strings but rather move their hands to control the different sound frequencies. Think eerie sci-fi music.)
Last Friday Corey Newman was browsing through the store for the first time. He works at a local middle school and passes the store every day on his way to work. What was he looking for?
“I’m looking for awesome treasurers that someone else thought was junk,” Newman said. He’s also searching for a toaster and a wet stone.
Newman said the store reminded him of a gigantic garage sale. “And I love garage sales.”
On a big wipe-board in the store is a WANTED/OFFERED wish list. Customers can list items they are searching for with the hopes of finding them. Likewise, a customer can list an offered item and see if any buyers appear.
Small would love to see her store expand to different areas of the county to help keep items local and reused.
“Haven’t we already made enough microwaves to cover the earth?” Small said. “We shouldn’t have to produce one more.”
Good Life Consignment is now at 26519 Bond Road. (360) 340-3208.
Store hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon-4 p.m. Closed Tuesday.
Contact North Kitsap Herald Kitsap Week Erin Jennings at email@example.com or (360) 779-4464.