I’ve been happily reselling thrift store items on eBay for several years now, and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough to learn a few things about the trade such as what items to sell, how to clean thrift store shoes, the value of goal-setting and many other lessons that have come along the way.
My experiences have taught me that this business – and I call it a business in the most casual way as possible – is really a LOT of fun and it’s easy to learn if you have the right mindset and the right tools to help you along the way.
Now, I’m aware that, especially in the beginning, it may seem difficult and some aspects of reselling may seem elusive; but I can promise you that it will pass and it will get easier if you follow some fundamental principles. In this posts, I’m going to share some of those basic building blocks with you and I’m going use the acronym B.A.N.K. to help illustrate those points.
“B” is for Blueprint
I’m a fan of making things as simple as possible, so I think any discussion about how to succeed as a reseller should first start with the basic blueprint. At this point, there’s no need for any confusing statistics, or discussions about about which format is best to use, what time of day is best to visit the stores, or what day is best to list items on eBay. There will be plenty of time for that later.
All we really need at this point is a simple, one-sentence statement that accurately describes what it is that were trying to do.
Here it is: Buy something for less, and sell it for more.
It’s a little more complicated than that obviously, but when you get down to the basics that’s what it’s really all about: Buying something for cheap and selling it for more. This isn’t a new concept, either. It’s been done for hundreds of years and in practically every setting from real estate, to the the automobile industry, and of course the stock market.
So why is the thrift store model for reselling so successful?
Well, it all boils down to the first part of the blueprint which is “Buy something for less…”.
Despite the annoying trend of upwardly moving prices, thrift stores are still a great place to find amazing deals on shoes, jeans, shirts, jackets, and just about anything else you can think of.
And another great thing model is that people are constantly donating more stuff. I don’t know if it’s because people are extra generous or if it’s because we generally buy more stuff than we actually need (it’s probably a combination of both) but I firmly believe that the supply of cheap, valuable items will never run out.
“A” is for Activity
There are a lot of eBay-related activities that I perform on a daily basis but the most important task – and the ones that you should pay the most attention to – are the following: visiting the thrift stores, cleaning and taking pics, listing your items on eBay, and mailing your items.
Making $10,000 a month is my ultimate goal and – although it’s always in the back of my mind – in reality, I think about it very little on a daily basis. Instead, I’ve chosen to devote my focus and attention to those 4 key activities that I just mentioned.
These are some thoughts and questions that swirl around my head throughout the day:
How many stores have I visited? Can I sneak in another visit? How often am I cleaning and taking pics? Let’s get these items listed TODAY! I know it’s late but let’s get these items packed and ready to ship tomorrow. Let’s check out X, Y, and Z thrift stores tomorrow – we haven’t been there in a while, I bet they have some good stuff lying around.
I know it can be tough at times but you need to challenge yourself to keep your activity level up. Honestly, the toughest part for me is the middle part of the reselling process – the cleaning/taking pics & listing your items on eBay.
To me it’s the most boring part. I could visit Savers and Goodwill all day and never be tired of it; hungry maybe, but I’ll never get tired of it because it’s exciting! But as soon as the adrenaline of treasure-hunting wears off and the reality of cleaning and listing all of those items sinks in, it can be a challenge to get myself motivated again.
But as much as I hate it, it needs to be done. If I don’t clean and take pics of items then I won’t have anything to list. And if I don’t have anything to list, then I won’t have any sales. And if I don’t have any sales then this whole system breaks down, doesn’t it?
And there’s needs to be a healthy balance, also.
If all I do is visit treasure-hunt because it’s the fun part of reselling and I avoid cleaning and listing those items because they’re boring, then that won’t do much good either.
Or what good is it to get paid if you neglect to ship the items? You may have the money in your account for a little while but Paypal will be quick to take it back when you can’t provide proof of shipment.
So if you’re not reaching your sales goal, assess your activity level. Remember, it’s good to have goals but I think it’s more important to focus on those activities that will help you achieve those goals. So ask yourself: How active are you in those 4 areas?
“N” is for #NeverGiveUP
#NeverGiveUp is a hashtag that my friend and fellow reseller Mike (@BOTC12) likes to use and it’s one of my favorites. Selling on eBay can be a roller coaster at times, and while the highs are fun and easy to manage, the lows can be downright daunting and gut-wrenching.
And just to let you know: You WILL eventually experience lows as a reseller. There’s no way around it.
You will eventually encounter bad customers who will try to take advantage of you (yup, they’re out there), you will experience times when you leave a store empty
handed, and you will go through days when nothing’s selling.
These experiences are a given, but having a #NeverGiveUp attitude will help you overcome these hurdles. There were many times early on when I wanted to just stop completely – when I questioned if I should still keep going – but I persevered and just kept learning and stumbling forward, and I’m glad I did.
Now, whenever a bad moment happens, I just shrug my shoulders and say to myself “that’s just how it is” and move on.
I’m not saying these things to scare you, I just want you to be prepared for it. Reselling on eBay can be a roller coaster, but the good times EASILY outnumber the bad times low-times and it’s not even close. Just keep at it, stay positive, and #NeverGiveUp!
“K is for Knowledge
As I mentioned in my previous post, part of the fun with reselling is discovering all the great brands that are out there. If you’re new to the reselling game, I always recommend that people start with what with they know – whether it’s a brand or a favorite hobby of yours. If you’re interested in it, then there’s a good chance that someone else is interested also.
To use myself as an example; I’ve always been a fan of basketball – played it since I was a little kid and I’m still a fan to this very day. And this is exactly how I got started. I knew the value of Nike’s and Air Jordan’s from experience and they were one of the first thrift store items that I would sell on eBay. In fact, I still sell them to this very day and I highly recommend you do also!
Here are some recent sneaker sales:
Sold for $49.99
Sold for $59.99
Sold for $109.99
Of all the points and advice that I mentioned so far, I believe that having the right knowledge of items to sell is the most important. I don’t want to discount the importance of the other points that I just mentioned, but you’re sales, profits, and the amount of fun you’re going to have will all drastically increase if you have a good understanding of which items to buy and which items to leave behind.
I like to use this analogy: Thrift store reselling without the right knowledge is like entering a long-division math contest with just a pen and paper. The process is slow, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, and you’re going to lose badly to someone with a calculator!
I’ve been doing this for years and I’m constantly trying to increase my brand vocabulary (in fact, here’s a new brand that I recently discovered). It keeps me motivated and engaged, and it’s a big reason why I’ve been able to increase my sales as high as $6,000 per month. I haven’t quite reached my goal of $10,000 per month but I’m steadily climbing there – it’s only a matter of time!
Action > Planning
In my opinion, there’s never been a better time to get started reselling thrift store items on eBay. The amount traffic that eBay receives and the number of buyers who are signing on continue to increase. Plus, donations will never stop coming – they haven’t anyway in my years of doing this – so there’s plenty of opportunities to make some great profits!
The most important thing, of course, is to take action and get started, and there are some great resources here to help you do just that.
There are over three (3) years worth of thrift store sales that I share in my popular Finds of the Week. In these posts, I share the name of the item, how much it cost, and how much I eventually sold it for on eBay!
My FREE 2-Week Mini-Course is also another great tool to help you get started. Once you sign-up for the course (the form is located on the sidebar), you’ll receive one e-mail per day about an item, brand, or strategy that I’ve been having success with!
Lastly, my Thrift Store Reseller Guide has all the brands and items that I look for on a daily basis plus all the tips and techniques that I used to maximize my profits on eBay.
Thanks again for all your support and please remember to Share, Like, and Tweet – I really appreciate it!