How does one begin a career reselling online? Furthermore, how does one choose what to resell? Call it flipping, call it a side hustle, call it a part-time or, in many cases, a full-time job; online reselling is a thriving industry.
Can I make money selling online?
Just like any other retail job, it requires determining what you have that other people want (or acquiring it at low cost) and are willing to pay for. There is someone out there who wants your broken costume jewelry. There is someone out there who wants your old high school band T-shirts, provided they are in good condition. (But if they aren’t in good condition, distress them more. Someone will buy that, too, because that’s their thing.)
Many people list and sell items simply because they have it laying around the house, they don’t want to donate it because they might like to make a few dollars off of it. Sometimes it sells. Sometimes it doesn’t. But, many people also create a business of reselling online, which requires more effort and going out to source additional items to sell.
This is not an article about how to become an online reseller.
This is an article about how I became an online reseller. More specifically, how I became a reseller on Poshmark, selling used clothing from my own closet or that I sourced from retailers like Goodwill Industries. My story could be similar to yours!
I used to walk into a thrift store and be overwhelmed.
There is so much to go through. I had no idea where to start or what I was looking for. I scanned the furniture, the household goods, and the accessories, but generally avoided the clothing racks as there was just too much. I had no desire or reason to search them.
Friends had found unique and sometimes high-end items thrifting. Of course, I came across many things myself over the years, but the idea of buying used clothes seemed––and I hate to admit this now––distasteful. There is a stigma surrounding the purchase of used clothes, which I had to get over. Not only were many of the clothes dusty, even moldy, unwashed, worn out and damaged, but my childhood was filled with second-hand clothing. We could not afford anything else. I spent a long time trying to get where I am now, so why would I get my clothing second hand anymore?
Most of us now see the consequences of a throw-away society.
Many people now see the value in not only paying less, but in keeping these items out of landfills. And, honestly, there are some great things to find while thrifting. Sure, there is a lot worn, old, and damaged items, but there is also a descent amount of never been worn, just last season pieces or awesome luxury vintage items.
People get rid of their possessions for a multitude of reasons: decluttering, downsizing, death in the family, change in lifestyle, body weight, just don’t like it anymore, etc. I have moved at least ten times in the past twenty years and each time I took truck loads of perfectly good things to the thrift store, or had them picked up by other charities, because I didn’t want it anymore and did not know what else to do with them.
I know people who never pay full price for anything.
I’ve known diehard thrifters my whole life. These people get up at three am for Black Friday and camp out in front of outlet stores. They coupon and scour sales ads. They get up at the crack of dawn on a muggy Saturday in July in order to be the first set of eyes at a garage sale.
I never understood those people until now. I never thought I’d be one of them, but here I am, and happy to be so!
It truly is a treasure hunt and if you are a treasure hunter at heart, thrifting is satisfying in more ways than I can mention. It also feels good to know I’m being frugal, doing something good for the environment and paying it forward.
Thrifting requires both time and patience.
When we moved to coastal North Carolina last year, I was unemployed for the first time in my adult life. Our furniture from our previous home did not fit in the new home and I set out to redecorate on a budget. While there aren’t a lot of retail options where I live, there are, to my delight, a lot of thrift stores. I took notes of things I wanted for the house and dropped by the thrift stores whenever I could.
When I had time, I looked through clothing and shoes. Some of the things I came across amazed me: Chanel boots, AG Jeans, Diane Von Furstenberg, Betsy Johnson and Ted Baker London blouses … It occurred to me that if I spent enough time searching I could replace my wardrobe by thrifting. Perhaps then my husband would not frown at my favorite department store credit card bill, which had slowly crept up. When you don’t live near a mall or outlets, online shopping starts to look pretty good, just saying.
I also checked out online used clothing websites. That’s how I came across the website, Poshmark, about this time last year, looking for a deal on purses. I downloaded the app to my phone, browsed a little, found some cute items and then forgot about it for about six months. At which time, I found myself facing the consequences of a little too much retail therapy.
If I wanted to continue this fashionista lifestyle, I would need to get a part time job. It would have to be remote, something I could do when the kids were in school, something I could do on my own time. I searched, but found nothing.
That’s when I remembered Poshmark.
I could sell items from my own closet and help fund my shopping. No, I would not get all of my money back from my original purchase, but I might get some money from clothes that were literally just hanging around.
I had lost a lot of weight within the past year. I now had a closet filled with clothing I could not fit into, some of which had not been purchased too long before the weight loss, some of which was new with tags or never worn. I could not even wear some of the older clothing from my “skinny” days as I had surpassed that in my weight loss journey. All of my business attire I could no longer fit in, but also no longer needed. I had no reason to hold on to any of it. It was time to let it go. I decided to list the items on Poshmark and see what happened. I was not familiar with Poshmark, but the app was easy to use from my phone. I photographed and listed the items. Then waited.
My first sale happened about two weeks after listing.
It was an Ann Taylor blouse and I sold it for $20. I can’t remember what I had initially listed it for, but this was certainly one of the more expensive listings I had up. I had worn it maybe once or twice and a quick search on similar items in this brand (which I now know of as comps) helped determine my listing price. Looking back, I’m surprised I sold this blouse at this price! Ann Taylor has not been a good seller for me, this shirt being an exception. After Poshmark took their 20% commission, I earned about $16. That first sale was enough to light a little fire under me and I ransacked my closet again in order to find more things to list.
Shortly, thereafter I sold another item. And then another, averaging about 1-2 items per week. There was a week here and there where nothing moved and sometimes I sold items and earned only a few dollars from the sale. I realized this was no way to pay my credit card bill and I needed to get more motivated.
I ran out of things to list from my own closet.
I eyed some of my newer purchases, brands that were trending and would sell for more; items I paid a significant amount for new. This would mean possibly selling things on Poshmark I had not yet paid off on my credit card. Not good. I wasn’t that desperate, yet. (You may note, if you browse my Poshmark closet, that I sold that Chloé bag from my first blog post).
Instead of selling off everything I owned, I determined to research others who sold on Poshmark. What a found surprised me. The reselling community was supportive and willing to share their knowledge. I gathered tips for getting more sales, specifically on Poshmark, and sourcing better products. During this process I made another discovery.
Some people resold full time on Poshmark and other apps and made a good living doing so!
This profound realization gave me pause and, dare I say, hope? I loved thrifting now that I’d gotten a taste for it and if I could turn thrifted items into a profit by turning around and selling them online––aka flipping––, why not? Why the heck not?
I headed to local thrift stores with a list of brands to look for and trending items dancing through my head. I was on a mission.
My husband was doubtful and, honestly, so was I.
I tried to hide the bags of thrifted clothing I brought home. When he saw them, he would ask, “Can you wear that? Can you wear all of that?”
I assured him this new venture would work. I just needed to give it time. There I was, trying to sound confident and feeling so not confident. Could I really do this? Were there already too many resellers out there? Was there room for me or had I shown up too late for the party?
There is room for you.
We all have a personal style. We all have a personality unique to us. One thing I have learned in this journey is that there is always room for more. There is always room for another unique voice. Every one’s story is different, as is everyone’s journey.
I am grateful to the reselling community, which is full of knowledgable people who want to share their experience so that someone like me, or you, can step into a personal business and earn money. Thanks to women like Empty Hanger and Honey Rags, who posted their tips and lessons learned online through Instagram or You Tube, I learned a great deal right out the gate. Over time and with trial and error, I figured out what worked for me, as what works for one person doesn’t always work for the next. (Hence the reason I can not sell Cabi.)
I highly recommend subscribing to Honey Rags and Empty Hanger. I’ve linked their You Tube channels above. Or, follow them on Instagram. I learned so much that has helped in this journey just from them. A couple of others that I considered helpful are McThriftzie and The Deal Queen. This is not a plug for them and I’m not getting paid to write this; I really learned a lot from these ladies.
Even with watching videos of hauls from reseller phenoms, I still made a lot of rookie mistakes.
My first photographs are easy to spot in my closet. Most of them I ended up rephotographing (that was a pain in the &*$, but worth the time). I also picked up a lot of brands that I thought were nice, but were not. There is a red shirt I loved, but after I got home with it and and researched the brand, I found out it came from HSN and retailed for $10. I ended up keeping that for myself.
With consistency, research, and hours and hours spent searching through thrift store racks until my arms and back ached, my Poshmark closet finally started to look legit. I learned how to photograph (make them bright y’all), how to use the app to stay relevant, what to look for when I’m thrifting, etc. My one to two sales a week turned into five to ten sales a week. It is still a learning process, but one I’m thoroughly hooked on.
There are many other reselling platforms.
Thredup, Lyst, The Real Real, Mercari, E-bay, Relovv––just to name what I can off the top of my head, platforms that sell or rent used clothing are on the rise. I’m not familiar with the majority of them. I primarily use Poshmark, with a few exceptions. I’ve sold several jewelry lots on E-bay (I had boxes full of costume jewelry). I have a couple of items listed on The Real Real, where I can get authentication and sell luxury brands with confidence. Not that I come across too many luxury items, but it does happen! Check out my Chanel boots listed on The Real Real: probably my best find to date.
Loving what I do matters.
I’m still a newbie, but am having a lot of fun, as well as have a happy husband and get to shop guilt free. I get to satisfy my shopping urges, my own wardrobe is increasing with mid-level and high-end luxury items that don’t break the bank. I source clothing for other women who don’t want to pay full-price for mid to high level luxury retail and who don’t have the time to spend in a thrift store. And I make a little side money doing it. That’s what I call a win-win-win-win … win!
Follow my journey on this blog and check out my Poshmark closet if you get a chance. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can use my invite code (CURIOPE) to get $5 credit toward your first purchase from anywhere on the app. If you are already on Poshmark, comment with your username, so I can follow you, and tell me how you got started reselling online. Thanks for reading!