Friday, September 21, 2012

I am Not Ashamed to be a Thrifter!

Thrift store shopping has been a part of my ecommerce business since I started selling on eBay in 2003. I had never set foot into a thrift store until I had sold most of my own junk and needed to find more items to sell. Back in those days, only a rare few of us used eBay to earn our living full time - as a way to support our families. So thrift stores became my office! I got to know them well.

Thrift stores are definitely a gold mine for products to sell online but it takes practice and and patience to learn what to sell. I enjoy selling clothing the best. For me it just comes easy. (I haven't hit my stride with coffee mugs or ugly Christmas sweaters yet.) Clothing as a product line appeals to me because it is easy to pack and ship, everyone around the world needs it (about 1/3 of my clothing sales are international), and it doesn't take up much space to store.

My friend and ecommerce colleage Kim Tarrant joined me on this trip. Although we both have been selling online for almost 10 years, our business models haven't always been the same. Kim had never been thrifting, so my daughter and I gave her a lesson. You can see Kim has the "deer in the headlights" look here:

Thrifting can definitely be overwhelming! Start with what you already know and gradually branch out to other departments. A good starting place for moms is children's clothing. Use the eBay app to check completed listings on items to get an idea for the sell through rate and possible selling price. Don't be afraid to experiment.

What did we end up with? A new in the box Mindflex Game, about 20 cashmere sweaters, Nike athletic wear, vintage wool sweater with pewter buttons, vintage Woolrich flannel shirt, a Canari cycling jersey, some cool t-shirts, and some Chico's clothing. We will both profit a few hundred dollars from this one thrifting expedition.

For a quick tutorial, check out my book on Kindle, What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay. The book showcases my 40 items commonly found in thrift stores that you can sell on eBay for profit.

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