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Starting a second hand uniform scheme

(12 Posts)
Orinoco Wed 04-May-05 22:40:45

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tiddlypom Wed 04-May-05 22:53:07

At our primary school, it's a PTA thing, and so there are stalls at regular events such as the Xmas fair, Summer fair, etc. People can put items on sale and get a 50/50 cut with the PTA on every sale; or they can donate the items to the PTA, so the PTA gets all the dosh.

It's certainly seen as a useful thing, people like decluttering for a good cause, and there's a feeling that uniform - which is stupidly expensive new - should be available secondhand, especially for people who may not be able to afford new.

The prices asked are very low, something like £2 for a pair of trousers or a dress, and frankly sometimes the condition is a bit rough, but even those things are useful to have as spares if you're desperate. There are always plenty of good girls' items, and hardly anything for boys, who seem to wear their clothes to rags.

The advantage of doing the stalls at PTA events is that labour is provided free, just part of the PTA rota. Also no-one feels conspicuous turning up looking for secondhand stuff, you can just mosey over and have a look.

As you can tell from the above, I think selling secondhand uniform is A Good Thing

Janh Wed 04-May-05 22:59:22

My kids' primary school didn't do it and I wish they had - the basic uniform item was a sweatshirt and polo shirt and they were £8-9 a time . They were supplied by Friends of school who kept the profits, if yours is the same that might make it it a bit harder to organise, since every second-hand jumper/polo shirt sold means less income for Friends.
Agree with tiddlypom about having a stall at PTA events but does your school have a parents' noticeboard? If so you could post a list of what's available; maybe Friends/PTA could have 10/20% of sales? (Balance to sellers?)

SueW Wed 04-May-05 23:02:56

We've got one at school, run until recently by the PSA (Parents' Social Association). Commission is 40% to them or donate or anything sold below a certain price (I think £5), total price goes to PSA.

Almost all DD's uniform has come from there, apart from the very first one we bought for her - school was only one year old so not much spare floating around!

Price is about half of brand new. Anything not in good condition is not accepted.

Big con was amount of work required by those who were running it as most work fell on two volunteers to catalogue, open up store cupboard on regular basis and accept used uniform. Consequently it has now transferred into the As New Shop run by the senior school (where it always should have been IMO!)

misdee Wed 04-May-05 23:04:44

i have 2 school jumpers which dd1 wore for all of half a term then had a growth spurt and outgrew them. they cost me about £10, want to pass them onto someone but dont know who to approach at the school about it. they definatly wont fit dd1 when she starts there (same size as dd1 already)

TinyGang Wed 04-May-05 23:20:45

That sounds an excellent idea!

I can't really offer much advice - dd's school sells off second hand uniform now and again - nothing regular. I don't know who is donating it though; I don't recall being asked for any contributions.

With three children I am certainly not adverse to buying second hand clothes/uniform if they are in good condition and often scour second hand shops and have found some fantastic buys.

However, one thing I would say (and this is really just me, my problem totally I'm sure) but on the occasions I have seen it on sale at school I have felt a bit um, uncomfortable shall we say rooting through the clothes.

The last time, I seemed to be the only mum having a look and wondered if I came across as a bit, well desperate (I'm not, but I'll happily have a bargain!), or maybe that's why the others were steering clear? I really don't know the reason, but I did suddenly feel uncomfortable with it and stopped. It was in the main hall and other things (cake sale etc) were in full swing with a huge gap where the clothes were. It's silly too because proceeds were going to the school.

As I say, probably just me being oversensitive!
It was strange though, and I made a mental note to give it a miss next time. If there was a way to buy it/ know what was on offer without going through that again I would be interested.

Don't want to put you off because it's a great idea. I don't know how you will be running your scheme, but something to perhaps consider.

SueW Wed 04-May-05 23:41:49

Someone once suggested to me that secondhand uniform shops work at private schools because people at those schools don't have to worry about what people think about whether they can afford it whereas people who are less fortunate financially always want the best and will only buy new.

I don't even want to think about the conversation we had to be honest but every private school I have ever heard of has a secondhand shop and for some of them it extends way beyond clothing - e.g. at one prep school, outgrown equestrian gear is traded through the secondhand shop alongside hockey sticks, tennis racquets and all the other expensive, barely-worn kit that the children are required to have each year.

tiddlypom Thu 05-May-05 00:08:01

I think Tinygang has a good point, and I've certainly felt like that at times. Nowadays the PTA seems to do a good job of choosing people to staff the stall who are down-to-earth and can welcome people and encourage buyers.

I often have a 'line' up my sleeve, eg "Got any boys' jumpers? My son chews his sleeves, so he gets through them in a month." Or I just say "How's it going?" and the ace sales staff say "Come and have a look, we've got some really good X,Y and Z" - which gives you the chance to get stuck in.

It shouldn't be a problem, but I think it sometimes is.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 05-May-05 08:26:11

There is a second hand uniform shop at my boys' independent school - it's where I got most of their stuff.

A 20% cut goes to the school social committee, so parents get 80% of the selling price. Good condition items sell for 40 - 50% of the price of the same thing in the school's new uniform shop.

It is open for half an hour every week, and for a few sessions before the start of the Michaelmas and Summer terms.

Orinoco Thu 05-May-05 18:31:39

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JulieF Thu 05-May-05 23:08:07

Also Sue W the uniform at private schools is so ridiculously expensive new (£23.50 for my 3 years olds summer dress whereas you can buy a basic red dress in Asda for £4) and they have so many rules and regsulations over it that the only way many parents can afford it is second hand.

patch Sun 08-May-05 08:17:59

At dd's school it is run as part of the laundry in the secondary school (a private catholic day & boarding school for 3-18 years). Clothes sell for 50% of the shop price - although still expensive, as new summer dress £30 for a 4 year old, £45 for blazer and £60 for coat, with pe kit, winter pinafore, blouses, different hats for summer and winter, rain mac - the school only keep £1 of what it sells the rest is credited to the parent's school account. Problem is being located in the secondary school is not advertised much in the prep, and the prep school is looking at starting their own so less is turning up in the shop. Also, dd seems to be very good at wrecking her clothes so does not look like I will be able to sell them.

If the school has a website, what about asking them if you could use part of that to advertise the clothes - notifying parents through a school newsletter/poster. Parents could then browse it on line, or contact you if they want to view something. Would defintely suggest getting some-one else to assist, and lay down rules on condition of clothes - ie freshly washed, or if you are prepared to do it yourself include the cost of doing that in your cut.

Good luck, I am sure it will be appreciated by many parents.

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