Temecula resident and mother of three, Jeneatte Maines, knew she wanted to do something different with her life.
“I worked at a seminary in Pasadena for over 10 years, overseeing online learning for regional campuses,” she said. “After I had my kids, I had the option to keep promoting and working longer and harder or be a mom. I couldn’t stay away from my kids any longer.”
With her husband in the Navy, the Maines family traveled from Okinawa to San Diego.
“Moving back to San Diego was when I started being interested due to getting rid of kids clothes,” Maines said. “It seemed like all of my spare time was spent trying to sell things that the kids had outgrown.”
She became adept at selling items on the military exchange sites, but once she tried to branch out to yard sales or Craigslist, it was more uncomfortable.
“I didn’t like not knowing who was going to be coming by to pick something up off of my porch, or people wanting to haggle for a full bag of clothes for $2,” Maines said. “Selling things that way took the fun out of it.”
When her college friend introduced her to the Rhea Lana Consignment page on Facebook, Maines saw an opportunity.
Though the business started in Little Rock, Arkansas, the founder – Rhea Lana – was the sister of Maines’s college friend.
“I started following Rhea Lana’s Consignment business, and seeing how much fun it looked like everyone was having. I wanted to be a part of that and figured Temecula was the perfect place to start, though being from Southern California, the idea of selling consignment wasn’t part of my language.”
After living abroad, the Maines family returned to California, deciding to plant their stakes back in their hometown.
“I grew up in Temecula, graduated high school and went to college, but my parents and entire family stayed,” she said. “It was the perfect place to start a Southern California branch of Rhea Lana.”
According to the Rhea Lana website, the mission of the organization is to serve families and help mothers make money by selling gently used items.
“We help people sell the next season of clothing or toys at a fraction of the cost and offer a high rate of consignment return for each sale,” she said.
Word-of-mouth and inviting friends and family to be part of the resale experience increases the rate of consignment return.
“We offer benefits for mothers who invite others. Instead of the 70 percent return, if you invite three more women to consign along with you, your rate goes up to 75 percent. More, you can receive up to 80 percent of each sale,” she said.
According to Maines, the Rhea Lana Consignment events offer people the opportunity to either save money, make money or both.
“There are other consignment events, but Rhea Lana heart for serving people and families is what drew me to this organization,” she said.
Last event in the fall, 200 families gathered to consign over 21,000 gently used items. The Rhea Lana event sells clothes—up to size 16, toys and even furniture.
“Everything we sell is related to children, and maternity,” Maines said. Visitors can expect to find deep discounts on new or gently used spring and summer items, including a section for Easter outfits.
Maines offers education for consigners, to learn how to properly price their merchandise for sale, which she calls “Consigner 101.”
“Everything we offer for sale is inspected, and we verify that nothing that is sold has been recalled,” she said.
So, why not just yard sale? According to Maines, the traffic, the hassle, and the quality are all reasons to shop Rhea Lana over your typical Saturday yard sale experience.
“Our event also runs a weeklong event that draws a ton of shoppers. There’s no haggling, as all prices are set. No haggling.”
If you participate, what can you expect to earn? According to Maines, it depends on how well you price your items.
“Our paychecks are given out on pick up day,” she said. “Our average paycheck about $250 right now. We did have 30 moms make over $500. A handful made almost $1000, all in one week of sales.”
Though Maines admits it is hard work on the front end, getting items ready for resale, Rhea Lana does the marketing to attract high quality shoppers. That, and a volunteer workforce—workers who receive first dibs on the consignment merchandise as benefit for their time—ensure that the event is successful.
“Our volunteers are the first ones to get to the items for sale and we tend to sell 30 percent of our items on the presale days,” she said. “The volunteers get to shop earlier, and the more you volunteer, the better the shopping.”
But Maines’s favorite part of the business, is what happens after the sale is over.
“Last year, we donated over 9,000 items to our three local charities,” she said. “We opened up the store, following Consigner Closeout, and let foster families shop the store for free.”
Rhea Lana Temecula sponsors Birth Choice of Temecula, Loved Twice – who develops newborn packages for foster families, and the Hands and Feet Ministry.
“Coming back into the Temecula community, I have a heart for babies and young moms,” Jeanette said. “I connected early on with Birth Choice of Temecula, and I’ve always had a heart for foster families – friend is a foster mother, so I love to honor her, too.”
Watching the foster families shop for free was her favorite part of last year’s consignment event. “It brought me to tears, see them shopping the racks and choosing items in our store environment,” she said. “It’s amazing how many newborn and 0-6 month-old clothes still have the tags on them. Often times, kids don’t even get around to wearing them.”
So, before you throw open the garage for a yard sale or wait for porch-pick-ups from a local exchange, consider consigning your gently used items, and donating what doesn’t sell to local charity. And let Rhea Lana help you do it.
For more information, visit: temecula.rhealana.com