Three Bags Full has successfully provided a business framework for the past decade that lives up to a “moms helping moms” motto.
DeAnn Nightingale established Three Bags Full in 2003, after being faced with a post-move garage sale to thin out her children’s clothes and toys. The business is a targeted, multi-family children’s goods sale held twice annually at different locations around central Ohio.
“I had my two little kids and we’d just moved. I thought about having a garage sale to thin some of our kid stuff out , but if I’m sitting at my garage sale all day, I can’t go and shop at your garage sale, so that was how we decided to get started,” Nightingale said.
The first sale brought together 10 families, all selling only children’s items out of Nightingale’s garage. She said the first two events were such a success that when it came time for the third, she needed to rent a community room.
“Moms everywhere are looking for value and ways to save money, so this is pretty much the epitome of shopping local: You’re buying from your neighbors,” she said. “If you have kids, you certainly have things that they haven’t worn very much or played with too rough, things without stains or tears.
“I think so many times people don’t realize those things laying around the house still have value, so why not get some return on your investment? And if it doesn’t sell, then you can still donate it.”
Nightingale said the key to success for Three Bags Full has been good organization, quality standards for the items being sold, and technology to make everything run smoothly. Besides her husband and two kids helping with the sales, hermother, Joyce Black, is “my right-hand person.”
“I would say there are two specific things that make this work,” she said. “First is the people, the moms who participate and provide us with feedback so we know we’re meeting their needs, and the ones who help out by volunteering. The next is the technology; we have the website and Facebook to spread the word, as well as a scanner system that allows us to be more streamlined with credit card checkout and accounting.”
There are perks to participating in the sales beyond just being a customer, Nightingale said, which is another key component to the business.
“We’re run mostly by volunteers who receive perks in exchange for helping. The biggest perk is being able to shop the sale early before the general public,” she said. “Another perk is that with additional volunteer shifts, families can go from earning 65 percent of their item price up to 80 percent.”
This year, Three Bags Full is expanding with a holiday and toy sale with a focus on items that are both new and on used items that are in excellent condition. The sale is slated for Community Wesleyan Church in Newark.
“We’re always open to new opportunities if it’s the right fit and we can manage the growth,” Nightingale said. “I think these sales empower families to stay within their budgets and in turn that makes a better family environment to live in.”
For information about future sales, visit www.threebagsfull.info.