Alejandra Vasquez, Vendoo.co’s VP of Marketing believes reselling is a business, so the main goal is to identify and buy only profitable items. In order to thrift for profit, you’ll need to consider a few different factors:
Thrifting requires patient and careful searching. It is very difficult to merely skim through a thrift store and find quality items. Items are often hidden throughout the racks, placed in the wrong sections or even labeled incorrectly. Try to touch as many items as possible on each thrifting session, looking at every tag or label as you go. The more items you look at and the more sections you check, you exponentially increase your chances of leaving with a profitable haul.
As you’re sourcing, you should have an idea of the type of items that you’re knowledgeable about. Choosing items that you’re familiar with will allow you to be more critical in your selection process. While you’re shopping, you can begin to fill your cart with items from brands that have the highest price and quality possible. Quality items usually always resell well.
Once you’ve chosen a good amount of items by brand and quality, you need to narrow down your items by popular styles. For example, a pair of name brand jeans would sell much better in a slim or skinnier fit, than in a baggy or bootcut fit. Even though the jeans are a name brand, it might be smarter to leave the bootcut style behind.
After you’ve chosen the best brands and styles, you should carefully inspect the condition of the items. When you’re reselling items for profit, it’s much easier to sell a clean and nearly new clothing item than it is to sell one with a stain or a hole in it. Keep in mind that the majority of items at thrift stores are pre-worn and could potentially have signs of wear or damage.
Lastly, you have to be aware of each item’s secondhand value. Just because an item is expensive at retail price doesn’t always mean it has a high resale price. A Polo Ralph Lauren shirt might cost $70-80 brand new, but because of the over saturation on secondhand marketplaces, you may only be able to sell a used one for around $25-30. You can use tools like eBay’s completed listings or you can compare the prices of currently listed items that are similar on your marketplace of choice. This information will allow you to make sure that you have enough profit margin between the thrift store prices and the resale prices.
Remove Your Personal Opinions
One of the most difficult parts of sourcing inventory is remembering that your personal opinions on brand or style don’t matter. You might feel a dress or a pair of shoes is ugly, but they could easily be quick and profitable sales. You have to separate your feelings about an item from the goal of the business. If customers are consistently buying an item, it’s a good item, no matter if you would wear or use it yourself. The market is always right!
Because thrifting is a treasure hunt (and a very lucrative one), you won’t always find amazing items every trip. There’s a good amount of competition for quality resellable items, so there’s a good chance that you’ll come up empty some days. In order to maintain a profitable business, you need to source consistently. If you don’t source frequently, you’ll subconsciously begin to buy lesser quality items because you’ll need enough inventory to hold you over until your next sourcing trip.
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Vendoo is a minority-owned startup consisting of four young entrepreneurs from the Washington, DC area. Our CEO, Thomas Rivas, identified a void in the market and decided to create Vendoo while experiencing the usual pain points of trying to sell items on multiple marketplaces. After the team was assembled, we began building the software in 2017. Each team member has a different skill set, from full-time reselling experience to software development, and provides a unique perspective on how to solve the common inconveniences of the reselling experience.
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