A lot of people ask me how they can make money during the pandemic? I’ve talked about this before but as someone who’s always hustled through numerous outlets, I can honestly say the answer is to get creative and turn your hobby into a money generating outlet. One of my favorite hobbies is thrifting for clothes. Yesterday I stopped by a few of my favorite spots to dig through the racks and show you guys an example of my process.
1. Go to thrift stores on days that offer an additional discount
To maximize the return on your investment it’s always smart to try to get products at the lowest price possible. I’m pretty certain Goodwill’s offer discounts throughout the week as well as most national chains. To get an even bigger bang for your buck you can always hit the Goodwill outlets, also known as the “bins”. There they charge by the pound and not by individual items but be prepared for a crowd and sometimes you dig for hours and still leave empty handed.
2. Know what to look for
I say stick to whatever it is you enjoy. As much as I would love to hunt for valuable antiques, I know nothing about them so I stick to what I’m good at. Know the popular brands and sizes that sell the fastest. For instance, vintage sweaters, sweatpants and activewear seem to sell the fastest for me on one of my platforms yet vintage Harley-Davidson at a reasonable price sells within an hour on another. Steady your market and audience.
Try to get as much as you can during each thrifting session, especially if you’re busy throughout the week with other businesses and tasks. I usually take two to four hours out of a day to hit as many spots as possible so I have fresh inventory to post throughout the week. This keeps things streamlined. Remember, time is money.
4: Clean your merchandise
If you want return customers to spend money with you, take the extra step and have the courtesy of washing the merchandise as soon as possible. I know this should be common sense but you would be surprised at how many people have no problem shipping out dirty merchandise.
5: A good product shot equals more money
This one is huge. I cannot stress to you enough how important a good product shot of your item is. It literally is the most important factor on getting bigger returns on your merchandise. You have to remember that people are shopping with their eyes so go the extra mile and put effort into your photographing process. I also streamline this as well and shoot as many items as I can within an hour and then batch edit so all of the items have the same vibe. Again, time is money
This is one of those things that you just sort of learn over time. You want to maximize your return but you also want to be fair. The way I do it is, I take into account all of the effort I put into the product (i.e. digging through the racks, cleaning, photographing, marketing, packaging, shipping) and also the limited factor of the piece. Most vintage items are for the most part a one-of-one type of offering, which adds value to the item. Remember you’re in this to make money but you also want to have some wiggle room for when people try to haggle with you, which they usually will.
Be sure to be descriptive and honest about any features and flaws of the item but also sprinkle in some of your own personality. Let customers know how they can style the item because then it turns into a more personal experience.
When it comes to packing orders I really like to give the customer a great experience. I nicely fold and poly-bag the garments, add a sticker that lets the buyer know that their item is clean and ready to wear and also slip in a nice note or a small free gift. If a customer gets more than what they paid for, 9/10 times they’ll be back. That’s the whole objective, to build a return client base who already knows the level of effort that you put into your sales.
9: Shipping time
If I’m at my studio I like to ship the same day I get sales. If I’m out for meetings or projects, I’ll ship the next day but overall I have a 0-2 day shipping window. The faster you ship, the better the chance is the buyer will have a positive experience.
Use your social media as an outlet to market the new offerings you have. Don’t post everything at once so that way you’ll have fresh products to add throughout the week which then allows you to market the items parallel with the days that you update your stock.
11: Where to sell
I say the more platforms, the better. I use Greymrkt for my personal wardrobe and higher-end items, Grailed for current designer pieces, eBay for vintage items and women’s clothing and then Depop for unique items and lower priced goods. I know there’s tons of other places to sell on but those are my four go-to’s. Keep in mind that unless you’re strictly using your own website to accommodate sales, you’ll be paying fees to whichever platform you’re using, which affects your net profit.
12: It’s a numbers game
A lot of people don’t understand that the biggest factor when it comes to flipping goods for a profit is that it’s a numbers game. The more items you can find for the least amount of money possible sold at the highest profit possible subtracted by the cost of goods and services then multiplied by the number of sales a day will determine the outcome of your net return. In other words, the effort you put into it reflects how much you can make. Someone lazy can make a few hundred a month and someone who goes all in can easily make over $1,000 a day.
So, there’s some of my tips and how I personally flip items. Even if I wasn’t into clothes but let’s say I decided to flip other items such as crafts, electronics, collectables or paintings; I would still apply a lot of the same outline to my business venture. The most important piece of the puzzle is that you need to have fun while doing it or else you’ll get burnt out, unhappy or simply lose interest. I hope this helped get the wheels in your noggin turning on new ways for you to make some extra money. Have fun and try new things until something finally clicks. It almost always does.