It all started with a click. Last June, Park Cities resident Peggy Sutcliffe created a Facebook group to sell unused items around her house that were too nice to give away and to allow her friends to do the same. Since then, her small idea has grown into a massive operation known as the Park Cities Online Yard Sale, a closed Facebook group with nearly 10,000 members and 8,500 people on the waiting list.
Long gone are the days of waking up early on Saturday mornings to scour neighborhood garage sales for a good bargain – now, it’s as easy as the click of a mouse. Shoppers all over the country have turned to hyper-local online yard sales in search of hot deals, and Park Cities Online Yard Sale is proving the strength of this new trend.
The most important part of the group is the quality of members and what they sell, says Sutcliffe, which is why the Park Cities and Preston Hollow exclusivity is beneficial. Because of the location, members are comfortable letting people come to their house and trust buyers with porch pick-ups.
Of course, there have been problems on occasion, but Sutcliffe and her team of group administrators have created strict rules and work hard to enforce them. “No shows,” or people who say they want an item but never complete the sale, are kicked out of the group, and the same goes for individuals who commit infractions such as selling fake purses or cross-posting in multiple groups.
“I’m on the site every minute I am not with my family so I know what is going on,” says Sutcliffe. “My full time job and top priority is being a mom, but any spare minute I have is devoted to monitoring the group. It’s a lot of work but I love it.”
Items for sale include Louis Vuitton handbags, Pottery Barn furniture and Kendra Scott jewelry, as well as clothing and other goods for a fraction of their retail price. There have also been quite a few homes and cars sold through the group.
“The strangest thing I have seen [listed for sale] has to be the cemetery lot,” says Sutcliffe. “The most expensive item was a Hermes Birkin bag, which sold for $16,000.”
The group is more than just a forum of sale listings, however. It has become its own little community, and members consistently post requests for recommendations of salons, veterinarians, even household contractors. Preston Hollow resident Autumn Schnitzius found a master electrician via the site.
“It’s great to have a broad base of people who can recommend someone they’ve had a good experience with, or warn you away from someone who is dishonest or does shoddy work,” says Schnitzius. “I also snoop through and follow others’ posts looking for information that might be useful.”
One of the most active threads in the group recently began with one user’s simple question: “What are your favorite products or treasured purchases that you wish everyone knew about?” More than 450 responses later, another user compiled the “must-have” items into a single document for easy reference.
The Facebook group has been a booming success, but there have been some issues with the platform. With hundreds of members posting and commenting each day, listings can easily get lost in the shuffle. The way Facebook is structured poses some limitations to the group’s success, which is why Sutcliffe has decided to make a big change moving forward.
In addition to the Facebook group, Park Cities Online Yard Sale will soon have its own companion website. Members will pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee and will have their own account page to keep up with their listings. There will also be an option of using an auction feature, and PCOYS will have its own app for smartphones and tablets.
“When I started this group I had no idea it would turn into something this huge,” says Sutcliffe. “The future looks fun.”