Rummage Spotlight: Shoe Department

Rummage Sale Spotlight:
A Conversation with Shoes Department Manager,
Anne Whittlesey

Question:How long have you chaired Shoes and how has the department changed?
Answer: I’ve been involved with Shoes for three years. The most significant change in that time is the acquisition of our amazing shelves to properly display our merchandise! Many thanks to the Steering Committee for making that possible.

Q: What makes Shoes unique?
A: Many of the shoes — including both men’s and women’s shoes — are in excellent condition and the quality is extraordinary!

Q: Is there a typical customer that the department appeals to?
A: Mostly women and occasionally to those who are buying for resale. We have a large, loyal group of clients who come year after year.

Q:What donations do you wish you had more of to sell?
A: We are grateful for the quality and condition of most of the shoes donated to our department. My wish is that shoes and boots clearly in poor condition be discarded rather than donated.

Q: In the years you’ve been managing Shoes, can you think of the most outstanding item that’s been donated and sold?
A: In 2012, we received a fabulous pair of brand new, in the original box, Johnson & Murphy men’s dress shoes. The shoes were quickly identified and research determined that an online eBay sale (a first for the Shoe department) was likely to bring a broader audience and higher price. The size 13D wingtips sold for about $100 — far more than we could have received through the actual sale.

Q: Can you summarize your philosophy about pricing and marketing?
A: Pricing is a collaborative effort that takes place as we’re sorting shoes into basic categories. A few of our best shoes (in terms of condition, style, designer) are selected to be sold online, especially if the size is unusual. Shoes on shelves are individually marked – $5 and up. Shoes/Boots in boxes are $3 and up. FYI – In 2012 we were swamped with Ferragamos and Uggs and prices on some shoes were an eye-popping $10 to $12 a pair!