The Deals and the Dish on Where You Need to Shop
Sep 9, 2010
12:57 PM
Window Shopping

Child's Play

Child's Play

My friend had a baby in early June. One of the baby shower presents I gifted her baby was a to-die-for pink swimsuit that looked like a ballerina outfit—complete with a sweet pink tutu. The swimsuit was for a twelve-month-old, which I thought would be perfect for next summer—she could grow into it. Recently my friend took a trip to Miami and told me her baby wore the swimsuit in the pool (she did clarify it a bit big on her baby)! I was astounded—a three-month-old could fit into a twelve-month-old’s clothing?!
And then I got to thinking: having a kid is expensive. If your child goes through clothing that quickly, you either need to have some deep pockets or be able to find affordable clothing.

Ellen Carlson and Lisa Seidel had the same thinking: kids’ clothes are expensive. So they started Half-Pint Resale three years ago for parents with young kids who wanted to buy and sell clothing their kids have outgrown. The friends are both mothers to young kids (who range in age from two to six).

“We like to dress our kids cute and have them wear fun things. And their clothing is expensive. We were running around, finding sales, thrift stores and garage sales and we both work full time so it’s basically impossible to do that. We thought this was a way to help families out that were in the same situation,” explains Carlson.

I talked to Carlson, whose next sale is September 17–18, about how the business works.

What’s the business concept?
We have a big sale twice per year in spring and fall. It’s set up that way so it’s season appropriate. Consignors sign up to bring in their own stuff and price their own items. Next week’s sale is at the Goodman Community Center. We sort everything by type of item, size, et cetera, so when shoppers come, it’s like going to a big store. They don’t have to sort through all of the yellow shirts and look for their size, they can find what they’re looking for.

What qualifications do you put on items that can be sold?
The sale is for clothing and kids’ items for newborns up to size 7. We also carry anything you’d need for a baby, like a cribs, pack and plays, bouncy seats, feeding items and nursing stuff.

Basically it’s slightly used items that are in good quality condition. The items we get go through a rigorous process to be sifted through. They also can’t be out of date and in general, items have to be things that have been in the stores the past couple years and have life left in them.

How does one consign their items?
People have to sign up to consign. The deadline for this sale is this Friday (Sept. 10). We’ve got little over 250 consignors right now. We have tagging guides the consignors read and they price their own items.

What are the dates and times of the sale?
Friday 2–8 p.m. and Saturday 8–12. From 1–5 p.m. on Saturday items are all marked half off. Consignors and volunteers are also eligible for a presale on Friday from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. And then from 1-5 is half off.

How is the sale different from going into a consignment shop in Madison?
The quantity of items. There are a lot of great resale stores in Madison. But say you need three pairs of jeans this year [for your child]. You might find one in their size, but to find more you have to go somewhere else. And, our prices are a lot lower. Consignors receive seventy percent of the selling price.

We’ve had some people say that have been able to buy their entire kid’s wardrobe for $100 and they don’t have to go anywhere else.
We’ve also got some volunteers who are experts in baby wear. We get a lot of new parents that come and there are a lot of baby carriers. So we’ve got volunteers who are assigned to talk to people to figure out which carrier might be best for them.

The fall sale is September 17, 2–8 p.m. and September 18, 8–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m. at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St. For more info, visit



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About This Blog

As Madison Magazine's style editor, Shayna Mace writes the monthly "Window Shopping" column about Madison's coolest store owners, products and shops. She also reports on Madison's most stylish people, chic items she loves, store events and sales, and additional dish in her weekly blog. Her favorite places to check out around town are local boutiques, consignment and vintage shops for one-of-a-kind treasures, new restaurants and bars, and anywhere that affords her the opportunity to meet and talk to Madison's most inspirational (and many times, fashionable!) people.

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