This article has been updated April 1, 2019.
There's a good chance you've heard of Just Between Friends. And that's because this popular consignment sale is the talk of parents everywhere. Whether you are looking to shop or sell this is the place to be. I'm so happy to bring you this special Q&A with Just Between Friends Mount Vernon/Marysville owner, Courtney Evens. You can find more information about this event here.
North Parent Press: Can you tell us about the Just Between Friends sale and how it works?
Courtney Evans: JBF is a safe marketplace where families can sell the items their kids are no longer using, and buy the next stage of essentials for 50-90% off retail. JBF is a full community driven event! Parents can clear clutter from their home and MAKE MONEY, families can shop those items and SAVE MONEY, and at the end, a ton of the unsold items are donated to local charity, where the stuff is distributed to local kids who really need it. Just Between Friends is all about families helping families.
North Parent Press: I’d love to hear how you got started and where your inspiration came for this business. Can you share some of that?
Courtney Evans: I was introduced to JBF when I was pregnant with my second child. First I shopped and was amazed at the amount of stuff I was able to get for my new baby! Then we found out she was a girl (and I only had boy stuff saved up) so I decided to consign. My first time consigning I made $300! After that, I was hooked! I just wish I would have known about JBF when I was a young single mom. JBF does so much good and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Last year I was invited to do an interview with corporate, it was a great experience.
North Parent Press: How does this consignment event work?
Courtney Evans: The average consignor check is $300. Can you imagine cleaning your kid's room and walking away with $300!? It’s easier than you think.
Step 1: Gather the items you want to sell.
Step 2: Prep and price them.
Step 3: Print and attach the tags.
Step 4: Bring them to the event during drop off day.
Step 5: Watch your stuff sell and get a check 2 weeks later!
Step 6: Choose to donate your unsold items to charity (then you’re done), want to pick up your unsold items? Come to the event during pick up day and all your stuff will be sorted in one pile for you to pick up and leave.
Consignor receives up to 70% back on sold items (minus an $11 consignor fee which is pulled from the check, so there are no upfront fees). Consignors also get an early presale shopping pass, and an exclusive half-price party to shop half price before the public!
North Parent Press: What advice do you have for parents who are having a hard time parting with their children’s things?
Courtney Evans: Use three baskets when you’re cleaning their room. Basket 1- sentimental items that you just can’t part with. Basket 2- items that are too worn, stained, or broken. These are items that should be donated and not sold. Basket 3- the stuff you’re ready to part with and sell. When the sell basket is full, go through and tag and price the items. Once they are prepped and done, put them in a box and set it aside. Do this over the course of a month and before you know it, you’ll have tons of stuff done and ready for the sale!
Every once in a while go back through the sentimental items, sometimes at the moment, it will seem important to save, when in reality you might not actually want to keep it. Think of the next family that will be able to put that item to good use and make their own new memories with it. Thinking of it that way, helps me be able to separate the emotion of items, and treasure the memories that are attached to it instead.
North Parent Press: Decluttering, especially with young children can be very overwhelming. How can parents tackle this without making it so stressful?
Courtney Evans: Try the basket system. By doing it in smaller batches, it makes it so much easier! And seriously, before you know it, you’ll have a ton of stuff ready for the sale. Also, consider donating all your items to our charity afterward. The idea is to get it out of the house, right? If it doesn’t sell let it have a new life with a family that might not be able to afford to shop. The bonus is that it won’t be coming back home, it’ll be out of your house for good!
North Parent Press: What can attendees expect when they come to your sale?
Courtney Evans: You can expect to walk into the sale and find your tribe. Yes, you’ll find thousands of great quality, well-priced kids items, but you’ll also find a family. JBF is a supportive, non-judgmental place, where families of all backgrounds are welcome! It takes a village to raise a family, and we believe you shouldn’t have to do it alone. We’re here for you!
North Parent Press: What tips do you have for people to get the most out of your consignment sale?
Courtney Evans: Make a list of needs, wants, and like to have’s. Bring cash to help stay within your budget.
Plan to come to the sale at least twice. First, come to the presale, and get the needs. By coming to presale you’ll have access to all the best stuff first! Then come again on half price or up to 75% off day and find the wants and like to have’s. Discount days will give you even more savings! JBF Mount Vernon and JBF Issaquah are the only JBF events that offer up to 75% off savings on the final sale day.
When you come to shop go in this order:
1. Big items (strollers, pack and play, car seats, cribs) these are the hottest selling items, so make sure you get the big things you want first. We have a holding area you can utilize so you don’t have to carry it around the sale floor.
2. Shoes (trace and cut out a paper of your child’s foot, that way you can “try” the shoes on for them, without them being there.)
3. Clothes (start with the needs, then the wants, try and save the like to have for the discount days.)
4. Toys! (Stock up for birthdays, Christmas, Easter baskets, and any other gift giving holidays! You’ll save money by shopping ahead of time and save it.)
5. Lastly, books (the books line the wall while you stand in line to cash out) utilize the time and shop the books while you’re in line.
Updated April 2, 2019, with upcoming event information.
I had the pleasure of asking Erin Long, Founder of WE Ignite, a couple of questions before her much anticipated women's conference. Erin brings women of all walks of life together for a day of inspiration with her WE Ignite Women's Conference: Connecting Women in 2020. The mission is to equip women with the tools they need to succeed in life while finding their power and igniting their passion. This one-day conference takes place on Feb. 7th at Swinomish Casino and Lodge in Anacortes.
Erin is a true leader, encouraging women to find their voice and love themselves. You can find more information about this wonderful event here.
North Parent Press: The WE Ignite Women's Conference looks so inspiring. Can you tell us more about this event? What does it mean to you?
Erin: The WE Ignite Women’s Conference is a calling for me. A wisp of a dream that settled in my mind and has since become a 10-year plan. My hope for WE Ignite is for women to come together and laugh, learn, listen, and leave exhausted yet excited for next year.
The 2020 WE Ignite conference will focus on connecting women; to resources, with each other, and with our community.
North Parent Press: How did the idea come for this event?
Erin: The idea for the event came to me as I was sitting on a panel at a shorter event. I recall thinking to myself “we need more women in this room and much longer than an hour together”. That was in March of 2018. But it wasn’t until a kind and generous soul, a mentor of mine, died that the idea became a vision. His death and subsequent inspiration are what keeps me going.
North Parent Press: What is your favorite part of the conference?
Erin: Oh my goodness, what is my favorite part? Each session is so wonderful it’s hard to say. I’ve been meeting with so many incredible women and hearing their stories. That’s been wonderful, but my favorite part so far is how excited every woman is about this event; this keeps me dedicated and grounded.
North Parent Press: What should attendees expect?
Erin: Attendees should expect a full day of exploration, expansion of each woman’s concept of herself and the greater community of women. There will be time for learning, laughter, and listening. My hope is each woman leaves excited but exhausted!
North Parent Press: I know one of the many wonderful things about this conference is the speakers, and the wealth of information women will receive. Can you tell us the lineup?
Erin: We are still confirming a couple of speakers, but stay tuned! We also have three panels during our break-out sessions in the afternoon.
North Parent Press: What do you hope women walk away with that evening?
Erin: My hope is that each woman will leave with a greater sense of connection to herself, her community, and her role in this world. Women coming together and connecting with each other is a powerful experience.
Have you ever had a dream so big you couldn't ignore it? That's what happened to local children's author Danielle Fecht. I had the pleasure of asking her a couple of questions about her upcoming book Muddy Puddles. The very talented Danielle shares how she got through her husband's cancer scare with stories for her little one and the inspiration behind this delightful book. She's currently raising funds to get Muddy Puddles published, with hopes to have it released next year.
North Parent Press: Can you tell us about Muddy Puddles?
Danielle Fecht: Muddy Puddles is a funny, heartwarming children’s story about two cousins and the puddle adventure they get into one spring day on the farm. Readers will love it because it's a story about real life and it’s funny. There hasn’t been a person yet who hasn’t laughed when they read it. I think the best part is that if anyone has met a preschool or elementary aged child, then they know that this could actually happen. This could be their story.
North Parent Press: Where did you get the inspiration for this book?
Danielle Fecht: Well, my husband has battled cancer over the last few years, and during that time I would keep the joy alive for my young son by writing stories about the farm where we live and reading them to him. He loved them because they brought our little house and all the animals that live around us to life.
Muddy Puddles was his favorite, and the idea for it came after a rainy day on the farm. We had family come to visit and the story came to life after watching my son and my nephew play outside. I was actually in the middle of making dinner when I wrote the story. I ran back and forth from the stove to the whiteboard in my kitchen writing it all down and the story just poured out.
North Parent Press: If there is someone reading this who has always had a dream to write, what would you tell them?
Danielle Fecht: When I was dreaming about becoming a writer, I came across this saying: “If you want to be a writer, then write!” It spoke right to my heart and I feel that it is true. If you want to write, then write my dear. Don’t be afraid…of anything. Put pen to paper or fingers to keys and just let those words out! Give yourself a chance. You may surprise yourself.
North Parent Press: It sounds like you've always enjoyed reading! What was your favorite book as a child?
Danielle Fecht: Oh, my favorite book. What a great question! There are so many books that I loved as a child, but my favorite would have to be Miss Spider’s Tea Party by David Kirk. I still have a copy at home. Secretly….I know it by heart.
North Parent Press: Has writing always been a dream of yours?
Danielle Fecht: Yes, I have always loved to write. Writing makes me feel on fire inside. It gets me excited. I used to love going to the library as a child and being surrounded by books. I loved to sit, read and I would always remember my favorite stories. For a long time, I have told those close to me that I wanted to be a published children’s author, and finally, after my son was born, I was able to bring his world to life through stories I would write about the farm.
North Parent Press: What's next for Muddy Puddles?
Danielle Fecht: Fundraising and publishing! I have received a formal offer to publish Muddy Puddles from a hybrid publishing company. When working with this type of company, the author has to cover some of the publishing costs up front, so right now we are working on fundraising to raise the money needed to publish and illustrate Muddy Puddles.
North Parent Press: Is there somewhere readers can follow your writing and/or book?
Danielle Fecht: Yes! The whole Muddy Puddles journey is so fun! Please follow us and become one of our Puddle Pals! We love to hear about your puddle adventures! You can follow our Facebook page and visit our website. We're also on Instagram here.
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