photo collage looking at a consignment shop
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Consign & Restore with Fargo’s Aal Yours

By Geneva Nodland

Tucked in a neighborhood by Island Park, in an unassuming part of downtown, Heather Aal’s entrepreneurial journey is laid out in a quaint yet lively consignment store; filled with bright daylight, stories folded into the armrests of chairs and tucked in hidden dresser drawers, and, of course, with the shop cat, Sally—Aal Yours Consignment.

Born and raised in Fargo, Heather’s path detoured through Chicago after her schooling, where her life in consignment and furniture restoration began. Her passion for reviving the old would later define her career when she returned to Fargo.

shop cat sally at aal yours consignment

Sally, the cherished shop cat at Aal Yours Consignment, adds a heartwarming touch to the space. Rescued by Heather after the loss of her previous owner, Sally transformed from a shy, basement dweller to the store’s beloved mascot. Now a confident and cuddly presence, she enjoys affection from customers and has become an integral part of the Aal Yours community!

She lept at an opportunity to explore various roles—one being at a Chicago consignment shop becoming her introduction to the world of vintage and second-hand goods. The vast warehouse-shaped business housed a mix of items, as well as a seasoned finish restoration expert who recognized Heather’s interest and potential in the craft. Under his mentorship, Heather began learning the art and science of furniture restoration—this was a pivotal experience as the motions of restoring furniture became more than just a hobby or skill and more of a therapeutic outlet.

Looking to expand her education at NDSU and find some familial stability, in time, Heather found her way back to the Red River Valley. After a significant and fulfilling career in nonprofit fundraising, COVID-19 shifted Heather’s trajectory.

It’s a story we’re all too familiar with, as the pandemic gripped the world, it brought unprecedented challenges to various sectors, including the nonprofit industry where Heather had built her career. Working in fundraising, she found herself at the sharp end of the pandemic’s economic consequences. Due to budget cuts in response to the financial strain caused by the pandemic, Heather was laid off, along with a significant portion of the foundation’s staff.

In the wake of her job loss, Heather searched for direction amidst uncertainty, and it was during this period of reflection and introspection that a certain conversation and observation would steer her towards the idea of opening Aal Yours Consignment. Heather’s mother, an enthusiast of antiques and collectibles herself, was wondering how she would downsize her vast collection in preparation for moving. Throughout their conversation, Heather realized there weren’t many options when it came to rehoming these items. They weren’t just things that she wanted to donate to Goodwill, but they were too much to try to sell herself item by item on a place like Facebook Marketplace or similar. Plus, these things had emotion tied to them, both for her and her mother.

plates at aal yours consignment

Heather realized that Fargo lacked a dedicated home decor and furniture consignment shop, an opening she was passionately equipped to fill. Heather envisioned a space where the community could find and consign quality, unique home decor and furniture items, and a place where cherished items could be promised a loving home.

Aal Yours Consignment, now navigating its third year, emerged from necessity, opportunity, and a deeprooted love for giving new life to old treasures.

crystal glasses at aal yours consignment
heather aal talking with customers

What Does Aal Yours Offer?

Operating in a niche market with a business model that depends on consignment means margins can be tight, especially during the initial years. Recognizing the need to diversify her business offerings, Heather has explored and implemented online auctions and estate sale services in addition to her storefront sales. She also feeds her creativity for restoration by offering those services.

Finding Inventory

heather aal with customer

Aal Yours Consignment primarily acquires inventory through a consignment model, where community members bring in their home decor and furniture to sell. Heather relies on the quality and condition of these items to ensure her store offers valuable finds to customers.

Engaging directly with estates, particularly those looking to downsize or liquidate assets, provides Heather with a significant source of inventory. She often assesses these items on-site, selecting pieces that she believes have market value and appeal.

Selling Inventory: In-store and Online

The traditional channel for selling consigned items is Heather’s brick-and-mortar store located in Fargo. The store offers customers a tangible shopping experience to explore and discover unique and curated pieces, from furniture to home decor.

To diversify her sales strategy, Heather introduced online auctions as a way to sell items, especially when traditional in-store sales slow down or to clear inventory. This approach has not only helped in maintaining sales momentum but has also attracted new customers who may not visit the brick-and-mortar location.

Restoration Services

While not the focus, Heather’s passion for furniture restoration plays a crucial role in her business. She offers restoration services for furniture that may need repair, refinishing, or repurposing before it can be sold. This not only adds value to the items but also aligns with the sustainability aspect of her business by extending the life of each piece.

aal yours consignent restoration tools

Customers can also bring in their own items for restoration for Heather to provide consultations to assess the extent of restoration needed and discuss the desired outcome with customers. Heather’s restoration work also caters to the DIY community, offering advice and resources for those interested in undertaking their own projects. She understands the emotional attachment people have to their furniture and strives to preserve the integrity and stories behind each piece.

Interested in consigning or restoring an item? It all starts with a snap—send a photo of the item to Heather on Facebook at /AalYours or at 701-630- 8401 to get started!

customers with shop cat sally

It just so happened that when we visited Heather at Aal Yours, Sally’s old owner’s grandson came in to visit her! Serendipitous timing to showcase the value and meaning behind Heather’s store and its many stories.

How does it work?

The consignment process at Aal Yours Consignment is thoughtfully designed to ensure both the consignor and Heather can benefit from the sale of items.

aal yours consignment inside store

Initial Inquiry and Submission

Prospective consignors are encouraged to start the process by sending Heather pictures of the items they want to consign. This initial step allows Heather to assess the items remotely, determining their suitability for her store’s inventory and clientele. Based on the photos and market knowledge, Heather decides which items she believes will sell in her store. This selection process is crucial for maintaining a curated and appealing inventory that matches the tastes and needs of her customers.

While the store does not provide pickup or delivery for items, they do work with local moving companies and will help you find the right wheels for your item’s trip!

Bringing Items to the Store

Once items are selected, consignors bring them to the store during a scheduled drop-off, with emphasis on the scheduled portion—to ensure that Heather can manage her inventory effectively without being overwhelmed by unscheduled drop-offs.

Upon receiving the items, Heather assesses each piece to determine its condition and market value. Pricing is a critical step where Heather’s expertise and understanding of the current market trends come into play. She prices items to sell within a specific timeframe while ensuring a fair return for both the consignor and the store.

Sales Period and Pricing Strategy

Items are placed on the store floor with an initial price set by Heather. She typically allows items up to 90 days to sell, which provides a reasonable timeframe to gauge customer interest and demand.

To encourage sales, Heather implements a markdown strategy at 30-day intervals. If an item hasn’t sold within the first 30 days, its price is reduced. Another reduction occurs at the 60-day mark, if necessary. This strategy helps to keep the inventory fresh and appealing to customers while increasing the likelihood of a sale.

Consignor Payout and Unsold Items

During the initial meeting, Heather and the consigner agree to specific terms like the outcome of when it’s sold or if it’s not. Once an item sells, the revenue is split between Heather and the consignor, typically, the split is 50/50—an incentivization for both parties to price items competitively and fairly. If an item does not sell within the 90-day period, consignors have the option to take back their unsold items or allow Heather to donate them to a local nonprofit.

The shop provides a platform for consigning and purchasing unique, often vintage, items, and serves as a connection point for stories, memories, and the preservation of history through physical pieces. Heather’s dedication to upcycling and storytelling, along with Sally’s fanbase, plus four right-sized walls with high ceilings, create the perfect home for Aal Yours Consignment and its community.

heather aal with shop cat sally

Learn more!
Facebook | /AalYours
Instagram | @aalyours
615 9th Ave S, Fargo, ND

Written by Geneva Nodland

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