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Get the most out of the JBF consignment sale

The Just Between Friends kids & maternity consignment event is coming up again starting tomorrow, Thursday September 8th and running till Sunday, September 11th.  The first day is dedicated to a select group of people including military families, teachers, first-time parents & grandparents, and adoptive or foster families.  But the last three days are open to the public.  See the schedule for each day’s special events and times.

This is one of my most favorite family consignment events, and every year it grows larger in size.  Of course, it’s easy to also get overwhelmed because the sale is so huge.  So to help us out in getting the most out of this sale, I’m turning this blog over to Jennifer Hundley, a local mom here in Sonoma County AND the co-founder of the Northbay’s Just Between Friends sale event.

Tips to Getting the Most out of the Fall/Back to School Just Between Friends Kids & Maternity Consignment Event
by Jennifer Hundley

Preschool started one week too early in our household.  Digging thru my three-year-old’s closet revealed shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, pants two inches too short and more shorts!  Reality is, the Just Between Friends Fall/Back to School event this week can’t come fast enough (Sept. 9-11).  If you haven’t been to a JBF sale, get ready to be ABSOLUTELY FLOORED!  Imagine 27,000 square feet packed with bargains on clothes, toys, books, games, DVD’s, outdoor equipment, boutique items and well, just about everything you can imagine you might need for your growing family.  This isn’t just an event for preschoolers, but for expecting moms, babies, kids and preteens and it only rolls around twice a year.

Here’s my top 8 tips to maximize your children’s and maternity consignment sales event:

*Bring a List – 27,000 square feet full of 55,000+ items can be overwhelming. Look in your kids’ closets to see what they already have and what they need. The bargains are just too good.  Last thing you want is to get home only to realize you forgot to pick up rain boots or a warm jacket. Make sure you know your kids measurements (waist, inseam, dress length, arm length) and shoe size.

*Volunteer – Want first crack at the best selection and biggest bargains?  All you have to do is volunteer a few hours of your time and you’ll earn a pass to shop early!

*Head Straight to the Big Items 1st – These tend to go fast and you stand to save the most money on nursery furniture, strollers, bassinettes, pack n plays, bikes, car seats, etc.  Next check out the toys, bedding, books and DVD’s before scouting out the clothing.  The clothing is amazing, but there’s always racks and rack to peruse after you’ve laid claim to the big-ticket items.

*Holidays – think it’s too early to shop the holidays?  Think again…Halloween is next month.  Pick your little monster up a pumpkin outfit.  Why break the bank this holiday season? You can always find brand new and gently used toys, books, DVD’s, etc.

*Use that smart phone – Want to know if that BOB stroller really is a steal?  Free apps such as RedLaser allow you to scan the original barcode providing you with pricing and other helpful information.  I found a new Ergo carrier still in the box for 50% off at the last sale!  I wouldn’t have known what a bargain I was getting without this nifty (and fun!) technology!

*Shopping Bags/“Vessels” – Be green.  Bring a re-usable bag (or bags) to shop and to bring your bargains home in.  Laundry baskets with a belt or rope work great to pull your items instead of carrying them.

*Be Flexible & Plan Enough Time to Shop – Carve out some time to shop. Don’t put yourself in a rush or you may get frustrated. JBF is a big sale and you may have to wait in line to check out.  Be sure and wear comfy shoes!

Book the Sitter – You may find it easier to shop this event without your children.  If you must bring your kiddos, be sure and bring snacks and drinks for them.  The sale can be overwhelming to kids.

First time moms, grandparents, adoptive or foster parents, teachers/daycare providers/homeschool teachers and military all get to shop the presale.  SCORE!  However, if you want first dibs on some of those items like kids’ furniture or boutique clothing, you might consider volunteering.

Last sale I overheard a mom on her cell phone telling her friend “It’s just like Black Friday, but the deals are even better!”  This put a smile on my face as this is exactly how I feel about Just Between Friends!

Here’s a link to register:  www.jbfsale.com/northbay.  Got any helpful tips?  Did you find any great bargains at the last sales?  I’d love to hear about them, so do share!

Jennifer Hundley and her husband Matt organize the Just Between Friends North Bay events.  Jen is a native Sonoma County resident and a mom to a three and a half year old.  She and her husband are proud to serve their community via their consignment events and by volunteering for their local Active 20-30 service club.  When not working or volunteering, you’ll find Jen and her husband running after the seagulls in Bodega or playing at Howarth Park with their son!

The Just Between Friends Sale will be held in the Hall of Flowers building at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa.  See the schedule for each day’s special events and times.

To see photos of past Just Between Friends sales, click here.  Here are some from previous events:

Photo Gallery of JBF sale

Today is the first of three days that the Just Between Friends Sale is going on at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The sale is taking up the entire Hall of Flowers building, filled to the brim with consigned items – clothing for kids and maternity, strollers, high chairs, car seats, toys, small play structures, safety equipment….and more.

Just Between Friends Sale schedule:
Mar 4:
10am – 7pm $2 -100% admission benefits Active 20-30
Mar 5: 10am-3pm Free admission!
Mar 6: 9 am – 2 pm 50% OFF SALE, FREE admission!

Yesterday was the pre-sale, and the room was already packed with those who were lucky enough to get a first glance at all the sale had to offer, as well as booths of some of our local businesses that have vital services for families.

Quoted from a couple shoppers:

“I just came back from the pre-sale and WHOA!!!!!!! The stuff available for sale is AMAZING!!!!!! (Get there early tomorrow)” Gay Lynn Duel

“It was flying off the racks!!!!!!” Reesha Ruel

Take a peek at the sale through the photo gallery:

Win Tickets to Shop the Exclusive JBF Spring Presale!


Thank you everyone who entered!

How would you love to win tickets to the Just Between Friends pre-sale next Thursday, March 3rd?  If you win, you would be able to go to the event a whole day before the public, receiving first pick on everything that is being consigned.  Read on for details on the contest.

If you’re not familiar with the Just Between Friends event, let me give you a hint – this is the must attend event for young and growing families.  Twice a year, consigners gather up their gently used kids & maternity clothing, books, strollers, games, furniture, outdoor play equipment, sporting goods, arts & crafts, mommy supplies, and more, and then sell them at prices much lower than what they sell for new in the stores.  And everything sold is in excellent shape!  Let’s face it, raising a family is expensive.  That’s why I’m a huge believer in this cost-saving avenue. 

Why buy something new when you could buy something barely used for a fraction of the cost?

It’s not just cost that makes me enthusiastic about this sale (though, let’s face it, I’ve always been a girl with an eye for a bargain).  I love that this sale promotes community and sustainability.  A high chair that one family has grown out of is being offered to another family that is just entering that phase.  A mother of older twins can sell her top of the line double stroller to a younger family who maybe can’t afford the high retail cost of a new stroller.  And I know many of you understand the concept of kids growing faster than their clothes wear out.  The racks at Just Between Friends are filled with these clothes, some of them never worn even once, and all of them in great condition.  This includes school clothes, play clothes, dress clothes, winter jackets, and even Easter outfits with a lot of life still in them.  How’s that for a little earth conscious shopping?

Just Between Friends isn’t a new concept, but was actually thought up by two moms 13 years ago.  The first sale was put on in a living room, a handful of moms sharing items and clothing.  Today it has expanded to over 100 franchises across the United States.  The North Bay division was put together by Matt and Jennifer Hundley of Petaluma last spring when they came away from another Just Between Friends event in Sacramento.  So impressed were they with the whole concept, they believed that we needed an event like this here in the North Bay.  The concept caught on like wildfire as families rushed to consign their used items, and came to the sale for bargains.  The Hundleys, as well as volunteers of the event, personally inspect every single item that comes their way for the sale, ensuring that it’s in excellent condition before being placed on the floor for sale.  The average consignor at the fall event came away with $340.  The top consignor made over $3,000.  And the money saved by consumers is huge.

JBF also promotes help in the community.  Any items left over after the sale are donated (with consignor permission) to Our Kid’s Sake, who in turn donates them to over 1,000 homeless children here in Sonoma County.  And the Just Between Friends sale donates proceeds from admission to the Active 20-30 service club, a group that serves local underprivileged youth in Sonoma County and Napa.  Last year, 4,000 items were donated to Our Kids Sake, and JBF donated more than $1,750 in cash to Active 20-30!

Dates of the 2011 spring event:
Mar 3:  Presale – details online*
Mar 4: 10am – 7pm $2 -100% admission benefits Active 20-30
Mar 5: 10am-3pm Free admission!
Mar 6:  9 am – 2 pm 50% OFF SALE, FREE admission!

Event will be at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in the Hall of Flowers.  This year they are debuting Mommy Mart, Gift Again, Crafter’s Corner, School Supplies & more.

To view a full photo gallery of last season’s sale, go HERE.

So about that pre-sale contest….  The day before the sale is only open to volunteers, consignors, and a select few concumers, allowing them to peruse the packed building first and snag items they want before the public sale Friday through Sunday.  But we have tickets to the presale to one lucky winner to join in on the pre-sale fun.  Want to win them?  Then answer the following question:

What are you hoping to find at the Just Between Friends Sale?

Comments left in this blog, or on the forum found HERE at SantaRosaMom.com, will be entered into a random drawing to win two (2) pre-sale tickets to the 2011 spring Just Between Friends sale event held on Thursday, March 3rd from 3:30pm – 8pm at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.  Contest ends Tuesday, March 1st at 4pm.  Winner will be announced on Wednesday by 11am. 

See HERE for official rules.

Good luck!

Just Between Friends Sale

The Just Between Friends Sale is coming up this weekend, August 21-22. View the event page HERE at SantaRosaMom.com.

Remember this event? I attended it in the spring and was blown away by how organized it was, and how the event coordinators handled EVERYTHING. There was the potential for consignors to make some good money off of their gently used items, and buyers could find really great deals on practically new clothes and more. I can’t stress just how important it is for families with young children or a baby on the way to attend. When I went earlier this year, there were numerous practically new items being sold for pennies compared to how much they would cost to buy new. Strollers, cribs, clothes, shoes, toys… And with school just starting up, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to update your child’s wardrobe. Seriously folks, you won’t want to miss this sale. By the way, the coordinators will be donating many of their leftover items to Our Kids Sake, a foundation that benefits more than 1000 homeless children right here in Sonoma County. And all admission proceeds go to the Active 20-30 service organization.

This sale is nothing but good.

To learn more about attending this event, and maybe to make some extra cash by consigning at future events (they hold their sales every 6 months), be sure to visit the JBF sale page at northbay.jbfsale.com. And for more information about the event you can read the Press Release HERE.

The sale will be held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds at 1350 Bennett Valley Rd in Santa Rosa. On Saturday the sale will be from 9am – 3pm. There will be a $2 admission charge with 100% of the proceeds going to the Active 20-30 service organization. On Sunday, the sale will be 9am – 2pm and admission is free. Not only that, many of the items will have their prices slashed in half on Sunday.

Hope to see you there!

Just Between Friends

Raising a family is an expensive role. If you’ve ever complained about this, you have an ally in this single mom. From baby to college and beyond, the needs of our children are our biggest expense. Baby strollers, cribs, clothes, toys… It all adds up. I recently calculated just how much it would cost to raise both of my children, and came up with a total of almost $500,000 by the time they are 18! So yes, raising children can take a toll on our pocketbooks.

Daven Tackett and Shannon Wilburn understand this. 12 years ago, they and 17 other families gathered in Shannon’s living room to sell and buy used items at a fraction of the cost they would have spent had they bought them new. The families who gave items for Shannon and Daven to sell were given a large portion of the profit, and they had minimum work to do on their own as the ladies took care of the rest. Today, this small adventure has turned into over 100 franchises across the United States. And the size of these sales has graduated from being held in a small living room to thousands of items being sold in a packed warehouse size room, organized by type of item. Racks upon racks of clothes, rows of strollers and baby items, furniture, electronics…all the items you might need to help defray the costs of raising a child.

Jennifer and Matt Hundley of Petaluma saw the value of Just Between Friends upon their first visit to one of these events in Sacramento. They were extremely impressed by the concept of reusing perfectly good items between families instead of allowing them to taking up space in our landfills. The average profit from a consignor was $397. Eight families walked away with over $1500, and two families made over $2000. For families to make that kind of profit on things they had outgrown or no longer needed? It seemed a no-brainer. Jen and Matt felt compelled to make something like this available to their neighbors in Sonoma County. As members of the Petaluma Active 20-30 social/service organization, the transition into bringing together a community for an event like this was natural for them. It matched a lifestyle they were already accustomed to. So they started up the Northbay JBF franchise.

The Hundley’s first JBF event is this weekend, May 15th and 16th, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Over 150 families are selling their used items at this sale. The most popular item, Matt told me, seemed to have a summertime theme. There are jogging strollers, outside toys, and plenty of warm weather clothes filling the racks. Beyond that, there is a whole rack dedicated to Halloween costumes, plenty of cribs and swings, clothes and shoes, games, books, movies, stuffed animals, maternity clothes, and so much more. Parents of all stages, from expecting to grandparents, thoroughly browsed the racks looking for that hidden jewel.

“The amount of interest in this concept has been surprising,” Jen told me. “And the volunteers have been amazing. I only have to give them minimal direction, and it’s obvious that they want to be here.”

They will continue holding these sales twice a year, the next one coming up this fall. To sign up and sell your own goods is as simple as visiting their website (www.jbfsale.com/northbay) and following the steps. From there you will receive a consignor number and be able to tag your items with a price. Consignors make about 60-65% back from their goods, and get a check within 2 weeks. And after the event they have the option of either picking up their unused items or allowing Matt and Jen to donate them with the rest of the unsold items. Their charity of choice is Our Kids Sake (www.ourkidssake.org), a foundation that benefits more than 1000 homeless children right here in Sonoma County.

“What we really want is to do some good for the county,” said Jen. “We want a way for families to be able to make money, and to save money. And we want to give back to those in need. The way I see it? It’s a win-win situation.”

Sat May15th, 9am – 8pm ($2 admission – proceeds benefit the Petaluma Active 20-30 social/service organization)
Sun May 16th, 9am – 2pm (free admission, plus almost everything is 50% off)
Sonoma County Fairgrounds, EC Kraft Building