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Originally posted on Sterling Essentials, here's tips for consigning your well-cared for saddle!
Sooner or later that day will come when you will be thinking about selling your saddle. Perhaps you’ve got a new redheaded mare that is ever so dainty and the extra wide tree saddle you got for your jolly gelding just will not do. Whatever your reason, no doubt you’d love to get top dollar for your saddle and have it sell as fast as American Pharoah in the mile. Well, we can help you with that.
We’ve teamed up with consignment experts to bring you the must-know tips for how to successfully consign your saddle. In this article, you’ll get a dose of our own know-how, plus great advice from savy and respected retailers, Triple Crown Tack and The TackHack.
Do Your Prep Work
With over 40 years in the industry, Kelsa Zereski, co-owner of Triple Crown Tack in West Boylston, Massachusetts knows a thing or two about getting saddles to sell. She emphasizes that the success of the sale starts with your preparation. As the seller, it is important that you provide your tack store, the consignor, all of the nitty gritty about your saddle. Here is a checklist of important information Kelsa recommends you should give to your consignor:
Photos of your saddle with views of each side, top, bottom, under the flaps, and clearly showing markings and numbers.
Saddle make, model, and year, if known.
Note any stains, defects, or blemishes in order to be transparent with prospective buyers.
Seat size (measure the saddle from the front button to the middle of the cantle to confirm). A photo of the tape measure showing the measurement is also helpful.
Tree width, i.e. narrow, regular/medium, wide/open (measure in between the two dots to confirm tree). Again a photo of the tape measure showing the measurement is always appreciated.
State if the flap is considered regular or forward.
State if the seat is regular, medium deep, or deep.
Hint: If you aren’t sure how to take measurements, just ask your consignor, and they will be happy to help.
Know Your Bottom Line
Founder of The TackHack, Lauren Garvey expertly handles a large portfolio of consignment saddles across the USA and Canada and is well versed at optimizing the sale across time zones and different markets. Lauren points out that alignment and communication between seller and consignor on expectations and price points is huge when it comes to you getting the price you want in the time frame you want.
“Make sure you communicate your sales goals to your consignor,” Lauren shares. “Do you want to maximize price if it means waiting longer for the saddle to sell, or is your priority to move the saddle ASAP even if it means getting a slightly lower price? That will help your consignment service land on an appropriate pricing strategy.”
Great advice, and Kelsa agrees that it is important to let your consignor know your asking price upfront, as well as to discuss and nail down in advance your return policy and who will be responsible for saddle shipping costs. This includes sorting out shipping costs if the saddle goes out on trial.
Additionally, will you allow trial periods and test rides or not? Kelsa says this is another key part of consigning that you should not overlook and should communicate to your tack store.
Hint: What are consignment best practices in your area, such as the typical length of a trial period? Ask your consignment service and they will be able to make recommendations.
Treat Your Baby Right from Day One
A fast sale with maximum pricing means that your saddle needs to stand out against the competition. Any damage or marks makes your saddle less appealing to prospective buyers, plus it can knock big dollars off your price tag.
We’re sure you’re already thinking that if you keep your saddle from getting scuffed against fences, don’t drag it on the ground, and keep a saddle cover on that there’s not much else you can do to protect it.
Keep in mind that even some of your riding attire, such as boots, chaps, jeans, even the hems of your jacket, can mark or abrade your leather.
Not something often thought about, Lauren notes, “This might be a bit controversial, but if you're riding in a finer calf or buffalo-leather saddle, be mindful that some of these newer silicone grip breeches are not always your saddle's best friend. I've spoken with some of my saddle rep pals and they agree that while the full-grain saddles seem to hold up okay, they're seeing some more wear-and-tear in the panels on calf and buffalo saddles than they used to from the extra friction and abrasion caused by the silicone grip on some breeches.”
Good food for thought because it never hurts to double check that your apparel or gear isn’t inadvertently roughing up your saddle.
Get Gussied Up
Okay, and in our opinion, ensuring that your saddle is as happy, healthy, and beautiful as possible when you’re selling it is the biggest thing you can do to get the best sale results.
Maybe it’s a no brainer, but Kelsa stresses that you should thoroughly clean and condition your saddle (with Sterling Essentials, of course!) before you bring it to your consignor. Apparently, some sellers do drop off dirty saddles for sale, which does not make your consignor happy or want to go the extra mile to get the best sale for you (i.e. now they have to do your work and clean your tack). Don’t let this be you. We’re sure you are a pro at cleaning and conditioning your saddle, so bringing a gorgeous spotless saddle to your consignor will be easy for you!
Also, it’s obvious that you’re realizing that you need to regularly and routinely clean and condition your saddle so that is always in great shape well before its big day on the consignment market. You probably also already realize that putting in some extra TLC before dropping it off with the consignment service is a must, too.
Check the box on as many of these tips as you can to boost your sales success:
Make any small repairs your saddle needs, such as fixing loose or missing stitching.
Buff out scratches, dings, discolorations, and marks as much as possible using a soft clean cloth. A dab of walnut oil can help darken leather in a pinch if needed, too (though use very sparingly).
Shine up trim and hardware with the appropriate brass or silver polish. Using a fluffy microfiber cloth for a final polish will help you get a lint free finish and an extra boost to the sparkle.
Don’t scare off prospective buyers with a slick saddle. Buffing your slick saddle with a microfiber cloth, as well as applying a light layer of SE conditioner can sometimes help improve saddle grip.
Nobody likes a stiff saddle either, so help yourself out by making sure your saddle is nice and supple by checking out more tips in our article Top 3 Tips for Suppling Leather.
Of course if you’re looking for tippy top dollar, consider making any major repairs, too, such as replacing worn leather, blocks, and straps. However, you may want to consult with your consignor as they can give you great advice on what repairs will really be worth it.
Although consignment sometimes gets a bad rap, it doesn’t have to be a horrible experience. With these tips under your belt, we know you’ll have smoother sailing navigating the consignment arena and will be well on your way to achieving your sales goals!
Remember to always feel free to reach out to your consignment service and don’t be afraid to work closely with them, as they are your partner in all of this and your success is their success. Be bold and ask those questions. Good luck with your sale, and we hope it means an exciting new adventure for you!
Interested in selling your saddle? Contact The TackHack on Equivont to learn more about their consignment services! And don't forget to take a peek at all of our new saddle listings when looking for your perfect fit!