Clearing Unsold Stock: with Katy Christie-Miller from Finders Keepers Club (episode 444)

Katy Christie-Miller has been providing leading brands in fashion, homeware, sports, leisure, and retail with branded, high-quality warehouse sales for 20 years, helping her clients turn remnant or returned stock into cash while protecting the brand’s core brand values. Two years ago she launched Finders Keepers Club to bring the same concept online. The Finders Keepers Club operates via a Shopify store and already has over 10,000 members and is doing at least 2 sales a month.

Katy Christie-Miller Finders Keepers Club on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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About Katy

Katy has always loved clearing cardboard boxes. Over 25 years ago, her friend Oliver Spark, who was then working for The White Company, asked her if she could clear some of their stock through a sale. She enjoyed doing it and has since progressed from doing small events to filling huge spaces with sales for lots of different brands.

Tips for Doing In-person Sales Events

If you’re thinking of doing your own in-person sales events, Katy has some tips:

  • Pick a good date. The days of the week that work well in Katy’s experience are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Avoid school holidays and public holidays.
  • Look at your pricing. Pricing is what’s going to attract customers, so make sure discounts are deep.
  • Have good variation.
  • Look at the demographics of your customers. Find out how many customers you have in the area of your event.

Another important aspect of doing these events is having a good team that knows how to take care of customers. Katy started with a team of about 12 people, which has now grown to 40.

Trying Out Online Sales

Katy took her concept online when the COVID pandemic hit. The idea is for the customer to shop a similar-style event with a curated single-brand experience from the comfort of their own home.

What’s working, Katy says, is to have bigger brands for in-person events and smaller brands that don’t have platforms to clear their own stock online work with Finders Keepers. The latter is a simple commission-based model that works on Shopify and is low-risk for brands.

Tapping Charities for Overstock Distribution

With online sales, one area of concern is returns. While they’re currently working with a return rate of 10 to 12%, which Katy is happy with, they also tell their customers to donate their items to Smart Works instead of returning them. 

Smart Works is a charity that supports unemployed women by providing them with clothes they receive through donations. By providing them with proper clothing, they help women gain confidence to succeed at job interviews and land jobs.

Laying Down Future Plans

Katy is excited to work with SOEX, which comes in at the end of a physical sale. SOEX takes any of the good stock and donates it to charity, and recycles faulty items.

Another thing Katy is looking forward to is onboarding bigger brands.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

  • For Katy, taking a long walk with her dog and listening to podcasts such as the Desert Island Discs is what she recommends

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • It’s all about offline for Katy, and doing in-person warehouse sales is the driver for her business.

Tool Top Tip

  • Handheld mobile PDQ machines that have really evolved over time are what’s most important for Katy, especially when they’re doing their in-person events.

Carbon Top Tip

  • Using a one-stop shop for charity and recycling, such as SOEX, is what’s vital for Katy.

Interview Links

A BIG thank you to Oliver from Sweet Analytics for the introduction to this awesome guest – thanks, Oliver!

Related episodes

  • Inventory Tips from an eCommerce Aggregator Perspective with Allan Marshall (episode 438)
  • From Studio to Wholesale: the Journey of a Sustainable Textile Brand with Helen Round (episode 439)
  • Create More Profit with bestselling author Ciara Stockeland of Inventory Genius (episode 441)

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