Whew!! And just like that, Christmas has passed and we are now a few days into a brand new year. I don’t know if it’s just the optimist in me, but I really believe that 2013 is going to be amazing! I still haven’t created my goals for the year (I know, I’m slacking) but I plan to be really aggressive and build on the great strides that I’ve made this past year. While the new year brings with it all the hopes of what’s to come, I would be remiss not to look back at an interesting and wonderful year that was 2012.
I made some great sales in 2012 and I also learned some interesting things in the process. The following are some of the best items from the previous year as well as the tips and advice that have made a huge impact for me!
Finds of the Year
Tory Burch Flats
Winning Bid: $82.00
Winning Bid: $98.00
San Jose Sharks Starter Jacket
Winning Bid: $102.50
Anfernee Hardaway Champion Jersey
Winning Bid: $110.49
Mitchell and Ness Green Bay Packers Jacket
Winning Bid: $129.99
Vintage Ralph Lauren
Winning Bid: $192.50
What I learned from 2012
Visit the Thrift Store as Often as Possible
My sales significantly increased in 2012 and I believe that it had a lot to do with my increased visits to the thrift stores. It helps if you enjoy it as much as I do, but I made every effort this past year to stop by a thrift store whenever I had the chance. In addition to my scheduled (almost daily) visits, I also stopped by thrift store on my way to running errands and I would even visit the same thrift store twice on the same day. The employees are very efficient at refreshing their inventory so there’s always new items to look through.
Get to Know the Employees
Don’t forget to say “Hi” and offer a smile every now and then to the workers at the thrift stores. Not only are they some of the nicest people, but they can also provide some tremendous help during your visits. If you go as much as I do, they start to have a sense of what items you’re looking for and in some cases even set aside items for you. They’ll also fight for every possible discount they can provide (“Wait a minute, is that a loose thread?! That’s an extra 30% off…) and that’s always appreciated Be genuine and form some real relationships with the employees and you’ll be amazed at how much better your thrift store experience will be.
Protect Your Items and Your Auctions
Let me start by saying that the vast majority – I’m talking 99.99999% – of my transactions and interactions on eBay have been very rewarding. I’ve met some of the best people from all over the country and it’s been humbling to be able to interact with someone who I probably would not have met and talked to had it not been for eBay. But make no mistake: there are some corrupt and crooked people on eBay who will take any chance to abuse the system.
In my opinion, buyers have the advantage over sellers in the eBay Marketplace and will probably always have it as long as their feedback system (where sellers are not allowed to leave negative feedback) remains intact. Ebay is actually making an effort to offer more protection for sellers - i.e. Report A Buyer option on the feedback page - but I believe that sellers should still take a proactive approach to deterring scammers. Here’s some things that you can do to:
- Always, Always, Always get a Tracking Number: It’s free if you purchase your postage on-line at USPS.com and will absolutely save you if a buyer claims that an item wasn’t received.
- Only ship to the address provided by Paypal: To be covered under their Seller Protection Program, the item must be shipped to the address on their Paypal account. If a buyer request that you ship to a different address, inform them of eBay’s policy and ask that they take a second to update their information on Paypal. If payment has already been sent, refund it and then send another invoice when their address has been updated. I know it’s hard to refund a payment but I think it’s safer in the long run.
- Document everything: Be sure to thoroughly examine your items for defects, rips, stains, etc and be sure to provide pics to back up your description. The more information you provide the better.
- Utilize your Blocked Buyer page: If you’re having or have had trouble with a buyer, be sure to add them to your blocked buyer list so that they don’t wreck more havoc on your auctions.
Never Stop Learning
As I think back to when I first started reselling thrift store items, I’m amazed at how far my thrift store finds have expanded. I used to exclusively search for Air Jordan’s and other athletic products until one day I looked around the thrift stores and I realized that there so many other sections to look through. So I expanded my search and I started to branch out into different sections of the thrift stores. And guess what? The thrift store is literally full of valuable items in every corner!
I still search for Air Jordan’s and other sports-related items, but my inventory now includes soooooo many other items – women’s shoes, jeans, textbooks, board games, army and designer boots, and so on! (Check out my Thrift Store Reseller Guide for a list of all the brands that I look for!) Not only has expanding my product base added to the bottom line, it’s also made the thrifting a lot more fun. To this day, my eyes light up when I enter a thrift store because I have the confidence to walk into any section and find the hidden treasure that’s in it!
Always strive to learn about new brands and products and don’t be afraid to experiment with different auction formats. In short: Never Stop Learning!
Thank you so much for all your support and my sincere best wishes that you and your family have a healthy and prosperous New Year!