Could you imagine purchasing a new business that relied on big gatherings of people to succeed, and then a world wide pandemic happens right before your first big event? That is what happened with Andrew Shivers, who purchased a “Just Between Friends” franchise, a nationwide pop up kids consignment sales. These sales allow families to save hundreds of dollars on essential items, as well as make hundreds.
These Just Between Friends sales are a place where people can offload some of their old kid items and list them for 80% to 90% off what they would usually sale for. Then, those in need of those items can come stock up and purchase items they need at a much more affordable price than purchasing them brand new. It allows families to make a little extra cash, while also providing quality items at a discount.
Andrew learned about these sales when he had newborn kids. Being a high school teacher, he was always looking for the best value available in his budget, and the local pop up sale was exactly what he needed. A few years later, he started selling their unused items, and realized he could make a few extra dollars too. “We had about 55 items and figured we’d give it a shot, and ended up selling all but one item at the sale. Got a check and said ‘Alright, lets do this again”, said Andrew. He then got an email from the owner introducing the opportunity to franchise and run your own sales. Between the idea of some extra side income, and an opportunity to help his local community, Andrew was all in.
He quickly realized that the expectations of the time he would need to commit, and the money he could make, weren’t realistic, and he would need to put in much more work for it to run smoothly. “I knew I would have some help, and there was already a team in place” said Andrew, noting that with it being a franchise, there was a support system already in place. “But once I got into it, I realized how much work there really is. There is all the stuff behind the scenes that you don’t know until you get in there.”
Some of the challenges included finding consistent workers, since the sales only happen two times a year, or finding ways to promote and market the sales on a limited budget. But the biggest challenge he faced, was setting up his first sale, which was scheduled for May 2020, and then the Covid pandemic hit in March.
While he wasn’t able to get the sale off in May, he did manage to get one rescheduled, and put in all the work to make it happen, even with all the new restrictions. Masks were required, protective barriers between salesmen and guests were made with PVP pipe and shower curtains, and only 50 guests were allowed in the sapce at a time. The city of Reno had to come and check out the space, and the protections Andrew put in place, to make the sale happen.
When asked why he still put on a sale with all the craziness, his first thought was of the community. “I felt like I needed to keep Just Between Friends in front of the local community. So my challenge was putting on a sale with all the restrictions. People were dropping off like crazy.” While he still managed to run two sales that year, he only made the income of one. Numbers were limited, and people were nervous to buy items from other people, not knowing if they were sick or not.
Even though the numbers were not what he hoped, he was just happy he was able to make it happen. “There is a point where that’s what you’ve got to do. Just do the best with what you got, and learn from it.”
The satisfaction of putting on the sale comes second to the feeling you get of providing a service to those in need, notes Andrew. He has two different non-profit partners, where those items that didn’t sell can be donated to a local woman’s organization and an organization that helps foster families. “We are really proud of that, and keeping that going and helping the community means so much to us.” He notes that they donate over 3,000 items each year through those sales, and the difference that can make for these families. “I know how rough it is to raise a family. I became a single father when the kids where quite young and that made it even harder. So when I see that mom come in, and counting the dollars, and looking at items trying to figure out which ones she can get, it’s important to me she can get both of them.”
Despite all the challenges he has faced, he notes the importance of not stopping. “There are so many important reasons to keep going, your family, your financial future, and the type of people that get into their own business are not the type that give up. “If you want to learn more about the work that Andrew is doing with his pop up shops, you can visit their website at https://reno.jbfsale.com/. You can also go to the national site and find your local location.