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Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Alex
Thrift store reselling, once a well-kept secret of savvy shoppers, has evolved into a thriving business for those with an eye for value and a passion for the unique.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything from negotiating prices to packing and shipping with style. This post is your go-to resource for mastering the art of thrift store reselling.
Whether you’re here to boost your reselling game or simply fascinated by the world of second-hand treasures, you’ll learn about the fascinating world of thrift store reselling right here.
What Is Thrift Store Reselling
Thrift store reselling refers to the practice of buying second-hand items from thrift stores or similar resale shops and then reselling them for a higher price.
Individuals who engage in thrift store reselling often search for items that are in good condition, unique, or have a vintage appeal, which they can then sell online or through other channels.
Here’s a basic overview of how thrift store reselling works.
Resellers visit thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, and other second-hand markets to find items they believe have resale value. A profitable thrift store find might include clothing, accessories, furniture, collectibles, and more.
Resellers often have a keen eye for items that are in good condition, have a unique or vintage appeal, or are from sought-after brands. They may also consider current trends and market demand when selecting items.
After acquiring items, thrift resellers research their potential market value and set prices accordingly. Pricing strategies may include factoring in the item’s condition, brand, rarity, and current market trends.
Many thrift store resellers sell their items through online platforms such as eBay, Etsy, Poshmark, or other e-commerce websites. Some may also choose to sell at local flea markets or through social media platforms.
Marketing And Branding
Successful thrift resellers often build a brand around their business. They may create an online presence, use social media for marketing, and establish a reputation for offering quality and unique items.
Shipping And Logistics
Thrift resellers need to handle shipping logistics, including packaging items securely and selecting appropriate shipping methods. Efficient and reliable shipping is crucial for customer satisfaction.
Providing good customer service is important in building a positive reputation. This includes responding to customer inquiries, addressing any issues, and ensuring a smooth transaction process.
Top Places To Buy Items To Resell
The best places to buy items for resale can vary depending on the type of items you’re interested in and your location. Here are some top suggestions.
Thrift stores often have a wide variety of items at affordable prices. When thrift shopping at your local thrift store look for quality clothing, accessories, furniture, and collectibles.
A Goodwill Outlet often has deeply discounted prices compared to regular Goodwill stores which makes them a popular choice for resellers to visit.
Value Village is a thrift store, which means it sells second-hand or used items, including clothing, shoes, accessories, household goods, furniture, and more.
Garage Sales And Estate Sales
A garage sale or yard sale can be treasure troves for finding unique and valuable items. Estate sales, in particular, may have higher-end items.
Flea markets are popular for both buyers and sellers of second-hand goods. You can find a diverse range of items at a flea market, and negotiating prices is often part of the experience. Find great tips for earning money with flea market items resale here.
Online Auctions And Marketplaces
Online auction sites and marketplaces are great places to find bargains you can resell. They can also be a good source of buying items in bulk to resell individually, which may also be profitable.
For example, casual sellers may sell bags of clothing when clearing their closet. This could be a fantastic find for you as you can resell any individual pieces that have a decent resell value.
Outlet Stores And Clearance Sales
Look for deals at outlet stores or clearance sections of retail stores, especially if you can find high-quality items at significantly reduced prices.
Local Classifieds And Online Marketplaces
What Are The Best Items To Resell
The best things to resell can vary depending on your interests, expertise, and the market demand in your region. However, some categories of thrift items tend to be popular among resellers because they often have a good resale value. Here are some ideas you can consider when shopping for a thrift store item to resell.
Designer Clothing And Accessories
High-end and designer clothing, handbags, and accessories from brands like Chanel, Gucci, or Louis Vuitton can often fetch good prices.
Vintage Clothing And Accessories
Unique and well-preserved vintage items, especially those from popular eras like the ’80s or ’90s, can be in high demand.
Collectibles And Antiques
Items with historical or collector’s value, such as vintage toys, rare books, or antique furniture, can attract a potential buyer.
Popular gadgets and electronics, especially if they are in good condition and relatively recent models, can be profitable. This includes smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles.
Limited Edition Items
Items with limited availability, such as limited-edition sneakers, collectible toys, or special edition books, can have a higher resale value.
Home Decor And Furniture
Unique or vintage furniture, home decor items, household items, and art pieces can find buyers who are looking for something distinctive.
High-quality sports equipment, especially from reputable brands, can have good resale value. This includes items like bicycles, golf clubs, and fitness gear.
Popular and trendy sneakers from brands like Nike, Adidas, or high-end designer brands can be sought after in the resale market.
Rare Books And Vinyl Records
If you can find rare or first-edition books or vinyl records from popular or niche artists, these can be attractive to collectors.
Toys And Games
Limited edition or vintage toys and board games can be popular among collectors and enthusiasts.
When choosing items to resell, it’s essential to consider factors like condition, authenticity, and market demand. Additionally, building a niche or specializing in a certain category can help you establish yourself as an expert in that market. Get more ideas for items that are great for sale here.
The Best Places To Resell Your Items
The best places to resell your items can depend on the type of items you have and your target audience. Here are some popular platforms where you can resell items.
Amazon can be particularly good for selling new or used books, electronics, and a variety of other products.
Depop is a platform popular among younger users, focusing on fashion and streetwear items.
Facebook Marketplace offers a local platform for selling items to people in your community. It’s great for furniture, electronics, and other larger items.
The Gazelle platform buys used electronics, providing an easy way to sell phones, tablets, and other gadgets.
Thrift Store Reselling Tips
Thrifting and reselling can be a rewarding venture, but success often depends on strategic planning, knowledge, and dedication. Here are some tips for thrift store reselling.
Researching items is a crucial aspect of thrift store reselling. Thorough research helps you identify valuable items, understand market trends, and set appropriate prices. Here are some tips for researching items for a successful thrift store flip:
- Thrift flippers often use apps to quickly research items while in the thrift store
- Use online marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon to see how similar items are priced and what they are selling for
- Consider seasonal trends
- Follow reselling blogs and forums
- Educate yourself on brands and designers
- Use price tracking tools
- Social media platforms, particularly Instagram and Pinterest, can provide insights into current trends
- Keep up with current events, popular culture, and media trends
- If possible, attend collector shows and conventions related to your niche
- If you’re unsure about the value of a specific item, reach out to experts or enthusiasts in that particular niche for their opinions
Whether you’re buying your items from a thrift shop, online auction site, or a yard sale, all these tips can be applied.
The Art Of Negotiation
Negotiating is a crucial skill in thrift store reselling, especially when you’re dealing with second-hand items. Here are some tips to help you negotiate effectively:
- Decide on the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for an item before you start negotiating
- Establish a positive rapport with the seller
- Know the market value of the item you’re interested in
- If you’re interested in multiple items, consider bundling them together and negotiating a lower overall price
- Sellers may be more willing to negotiate if you can offer cash or immediate payment
- Begin with a reasonable but slightly lower offer than the listed price
- Inquire about any discounts or ongoing sales
- If the seller is not willing to meet your price, be prepared to walk away
- Be patient
- If the negotiation doesn’t lead to a deal, leave your contact information and express genuine interest in case the seller changes their mind
Shipping And Packing
Shipping and packing are critical aspects of thrift store reselling, as they directly impact customer satisfaction and the success of your business. Here are some tips for efficient and effective shipping and packing.
Invest In Quality Packaging Materials
Use sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and other protective materials to ensure items arrive in the same condition they were sold. Consider eco-friendly packaging options if possible.
Choose The Right Box Size
Select a box that fits the item snugly without excess space. This helps prevent damage during transit. If shipping multiple items, use a box that accommodates everything securely.
Secure Fragile Items
Wrap fragile items individually with bubble wrap or tissue paper. Fill any empty spaces in the box with packing materials to prevent items from shifting during transit.
Label And Tape Securely
Clearly label the package with the recipient’s address and your return address. Use high-quality packing tape to seal the box securely. Reinforce seams and edges.
Weigh And Measure Accurately
Accurately weigh and measure your package to calculate the correct shipping costs. Consider investing in a postage scale for precision.
Offer Tracking And Insurance
Provide tracking information to buyers so they can monitor their package’s progress. Consider offering shipping insurance for higher-value items to protect against loss or damage.
Calculate Shipping Costs Appropriately
Factor in the cost of packaging materials, handling, and shipping when determining your item prices. Research shipping rates for different carriers and services to find the most cost-effective options.
Communicate Shipping Policies
Clearly outline your shipping policies in your product listings and on your reselling platform. Include information about processing times, handling fees, and any potential delays.
Print Shipping Labels Online
Use online platforms or software to print shipping labels. This ensures accurate information and can often provide discounted shipping rates.
Use Flat Rate Shipping Boxes
For smaller, heavy items, consider using flat-rate shipping boxes offered by some carriers. This can save money on shipping costs.
Keep Track Of Shipments
Maintain a record of tracking numbers, shipment dates, and delivery confirmations. This helps address any issues that may arise.
Efficient and secure shipping practices contribute to positive customer experiences, leading to repeat business and positive reviews. Stay organized, communicate effectively, and prioritize the safety of the items you’re shipping.
Handling mistakes is a crucial aspect of any business, including thrift store reselling. How you address and resolve issues can significantly impact your reputation and customer satisfaction. Here are some tips for handling mistakes in the thrift store reselling business:
- Acknowledge mistakes promptly
- Maintain a calm and professional demeanor when communicating with customers
- Offer a sincere apology to the affected customer
- Offer a practical solution to rectify the mistake
- Communicate openly and honestly about what went wrong
- Use this as an opportunity to learn and implement improvements to prevent similar issues in the future
- Depending on the nature of the mistake, consider offering compensation to the affected customer
- If a customer reaches out with a concern or complaint, respond promptly
- Encourage customers to provide feedback on their experience, especially if there was a mistake
- Use positive and constructive language when communicating with customers
- After resolving the issue, follow up with the customer to ensure their satisfaction
Remember that mistakes are a natural part of any business, and the key is how you handle them. Demonstrating a commitment to resolving issues and continuously improving your processes can contribute to a positive reputation and customer loyalty in the long run.
Is Thrift Store Reselling Worth It
Renowned academics, including Jennifer Le Zotte, have written extensively about the rise of the secondhand market for thrift clothes and other items.
It’s safe to say that if you take thrift store reselling seriously, then you have the potential to make some serious extra money.
What is thrift store reselling?
Thrift store reselling, sometimes called thrift store flipping, involves buying second-hand items from thrift stores or other types of secondhand shops and then reselling them for a profit, often through online platforms or other channels.
What types of items are good for resale?
Items with good resale potential vary widely but often include vintage clothing, designer items, collectibles, electronics, furniture, and unique or rare finds.
How do I find valuable items to resell at thrift stores?
Regularly visit thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, and other second-hand markets. Develop an eye for quality, uniqueness, and items that are in demand in the resale market.
How do I determine the value of an item for resale?
Research similar items on online platforms like eBay or Etsy to gauge market prices. Consider factors such as brand, condition, rarity, and current trends.
What are some good online platforms for reselling items?
Popular online platforms include eBay, Etsy, Poshmark, Depop, Facebook Marketplace, and others depending on your niche and the type of items you’re selling.
How do I negotiate prices when buying items for resale?
Start with a reasonable but slightly lower offer. Be friendly and polite, point out any flaws respectfully, and be willing to walk away if the seller is not willing to meet your price.
What should I consider when pricing items for resale?
Factor in your cost of buying the item, shipping costs, and any fees associated with the reselling platform. Research similar items to set competitive prices. Doing this means you’ll soon make extra cash.
How should I handle shipping and packing for items sold online?
Use quality packaging materials, choose the right box size, secure fragile items, and calculate shipping costs accurately. Offer tracking and insurance options and communicate shipping policies clearly.
What do I do if I make a mistake in a sale?
Acknowledge mistakes promptly, apologize sincerely, provide a solution, and learn from the mistake to prevent recurrence. Be transparent, offer compensation when appropriate, and maintain professionalism in your communication.
How can I build a brand as a thrift store reseller?
Develop a consistent online presence, use social media for marketing, and provide excellent customer service. Consider creating a logo, establishing a brand identity, and seeking positive reviews.
Can thrift store reselling be a full-time business?
Yes, many people turn thrift flipping into a full-time business. Success often requires dedication, market research, and the ability to adapt to changing trends.
Does flipping thrift store items help the environment?
The culture of fast fashion is a cause of concern for environmental campaigners. Flipping thrift store items means clothing and other items are reused rather than going to landfill. This helps reduce waste and use fewer resources to make new clothes or other items.
What’s a consignment store?
A consignment store is a retail establishment that sells second-hand goods on behalf of individuals (consignors) who retain ownership of the items until they are sold. Unlike traditional retail stores, where the store purchases inventory from wholesalers or manufacturers, consignment stores operate on a consignment agreement.
Where can I find secondhand stores?
Secondhand stores, or thrift stores, are all across the US. Whether you live in San Diego, New York, or Miami, there’ll likely by a secondhand store near you.