Being a thrifter is kind of like being a treasure hunter. You have to sort through a ton of junk to find the treasure. Here are a handful of my favorite finds this month:
Top 10 Brands that aren’t Jeans
I rarely come across anything Lululemon, but always get excited when I do. Their basic fitness pants are easy to sell for $30 and they are high quality.
9. Under Armour
This is a brand I find all the time. I particularly like finding jackets and hoodies, but also specialty items like padded shirts for sports. While I buy UA stuff all the time, I currently have only one UA item in my store because they sell so quickly.
Here’s another brand I love to find, but only come across a couple times a month. Their jackets and hoodies do really well, while their shirts don’t hold the same value.
7. Banana Republic
This is a brand that I prefer to find for men rather than women. Their jackets and fleeces do really well for men and they have nice pants for women too.
This is a brand I was unfamiliar with up until a few months ago. I came across 15, or so, of their fitness tops and all but a couple have sold for $35-55. They are high quality and have a loyal customer base. If you come across these, don’t leave them behind!
This is a relatively new brand to me. I found it first a few months back. I knew it felt like quality so I bought the pants and didn’t bother looking them up first. Sure enough, they were high quality and had a good resale value. I’ve stumbled upon them a few times since and will be looking for them in the future.
This is probably my #1 brand since I sell more Nike than any other brand. It’s rare that a day goes by where I don’t sell at least one Nike item. You have to be careful with Nike as some of their items don’t hold their value as much as others. Still, if it’s a jacket/hoodie/pants, you’re normally going to do well. You might not make the most profit from Nike, but they are virtually guaranteed to sell.
adidas is right up there with Nike when it comes to easy-to-sell items. Their hoodies/jackets/pants sell quickly and are high quality. I find a lot of specialty sports teams clothing from adidas that do really well. Their first “a” is lower cased, btw.
2. Juicy Couture
Their jackets and pants sell fine, but it’s the blingy ones that do particularly well. Whenever I find one of their hoodie jackets with the bling or sweat pants with stones, I know it will sell quickly. They are high quality, but this brand runs small, so be sure to include measurements (always include measurements, no matter what brand you are selling).
1. Victoria’s Secret
This is a brand that sells great in so many different areas. You can find value in everything from bras to sweats and hoodies to jackets. One VS item that doesn’t hold its value is VS jeans. They will sell, but not for a high value.
With four kids, we do laundry all the time. On top of that, buying and selling clothes means our washing machine goes through a lot. Over time, you’ll notice that the clothes aren’t coming out as clean as you’d like. This is the easiest and most affordable way that we’ve found to clean the washing machine (and it really works).
1. Get white vinegar.
2. Start and fill the washing machine with hot water, on the biggest load.
3. Add four cups of vinegar to the load.
4. Close the lid and let it run for a couple minutes.
5. Open the lid and let it sit for an hour.
6. During that hour, dip a towel inside and clean the outside of the washing machine with the water/vinegar mixture.
7. After an hour, let the washing machine run its cycle.
We do this approximately every two weeks and it makes a HUGE difference in the clothes coming out cleaner and smelling clean. This is mainly for top loading washers, as the front loaders have their own cleaning cycles, more times than not.
Over the course of the year, I’ve found some pretty cool items. Below are ten of my favorite things I’ve bought and sold in my store. Some of them have sold while others are still for sale. Click on the picture to read more about them.
10. Boston Celtics KC Jones Jersey, For Sale: $59.98
9. Zermatt Switzerland Fleece, Sold for $24.98
8. Two Bears of the Blackfeet #76 of 100, For Sale: $1,190
7. Adidas Real Madrid Sample Hoodie, Sold for $30.88
6. The North Face Velour Jacket, Sold for $44.98
5. Bierendonck W< Wild Lethal Trash Cycling Jersey, For Sale: $47.02
4. Vintage Flutie Flakes Sweatshirt, Sold For $23.74
3. Nike Livestrong Cycling Bib, Sold For $50
2. 100 Black Men Of America Jacket, For Sale: $35
1. America’s Cup Jacket Spain Desafio Sailing Jacket, For Sale: $67.92
I’ve had my Ebay store, Name Brand Thrift, for a little over a year now. In that time, I’ve racked up nearly 1,600 positive feedbacks, 1 neutral, and 0 negatives. On top of that, I’ve been fortunate enough to maintain a perfect 5-star rating in all the categories that a buyer has to choose from.
So, what’s the secret?
The first things is this: be kind. Never argue with the customer and always do everything you can to make them happy with their purchase. This starts with the shipping process. If you’re using poly mailers for lighter items, like I do, double bag them. They cost about $.04 and it’s well worth the nickel to make sure that the shirt/pants/shorts arrive in good shape in case the bag gets ripped in the shipping process.
Bags get ripped or torn all the time and even though it’s not your fault that it got ripped, it is your fault that you didn’t package the item well enough. Buyers are happy to see that you put in the extra effort to make sure their item arrives safely. If the item you’re shipping is a little heavier like jeans/shoes/jackets, Priority mailing supplies are free when you use Priority shipping. I always use two flat rate mailers or put them in a Priority tyvek bag and then in the flat rate envelope.
The next step to maintaining positive feedback and excellent customer service is to follow up after the item has arrived. I message the buyer on the afternoon that their item has arrived. Once I click on the tracking info in Ebay, I can see if it’s been delivered. This allows me to catch errors before the buyer has a chance to leave feedback. I simply send a nice, personalized message making sure that they are happy, and ask for positive feedback if they were. If there is a problem, I ask them to let me know so that I can make it right. It only takes about 10 minutes to send out all the messages and is well worth the time.
Nearly 100% of the time, the buyer is happy. They are happy because I go the extra mile to inspect my items before shipping and to describe them accurately, listing any flaws if there are any. On the rare occasion that I missed something or that they are unhappy, I do whatever it takes to make it right. Sometimes it’s a discount on a future purchase, a partial refund, or a full refund if the mistake warrants it. I’ve found that the buyer has an issue with the item about 1% of the time, and it’s usually minor. When I first started, it was closer to 3-4%, but I’ve learned and gotten better as I’ve grown.
Before I offer a refund, I check the feedback that the buyer has left for other sellers. If they appear to be an honest person, I’m more than willing to work with them. Two times in the past year I’ve had buyers try to take advantage of me, and when that happens, I still do my best to make them happy. On one occasion I was able to resolve it. On another I had to have Ebay help me, because they wanted a full refund, and they were unwilling to return the item for the refund. They wanted to keep it and get their money back.
The bottom line is this: be kind to others and they will be kind to you.
Visit my store for more Ebay guides, to see how I list/photograph items, and for great deals as well: www.NameBrandThrift.com
A lot of things can happen when you’re preparing for a cross-country move. A year ago, I moved from Oregon to Georgia with my wife, 4 kids, a one-eyed pug, and everything that could fit into our minivan. Prior to doing so, I had to make a bunch of tough decisions. I kept the van, but had to get rid of my car. Time was running out and I wasn’t able to sell my car. I had recently begun trading after watching the TV show Barter Kings. Long story short, I traded my car for a beautiful wedding ring for my wife, cash, and a 2-hour drive back to my house from the people who bought my car.
I began trading even more because I enjoyed the hunt. I bought a massive autograph collection from a student at the University of Oregon. I stuffed them (nicely) into my van and once we arrived in Georgia, guess what we needed?
I got on Craigslist and began to trade the autographs for coffee tables, trunks, a TV, and other things we needed. Then it hit me: I can make money doing this. I had bought the autographs for what turned out to be $13 each. These were signed and framed autographs of Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle, Larry Bird, and more just like them. So, I started selling on Ebay and used a little bit of money in my savings to buy things that would sell. I searched Ebay, Craigslist, yard sales, and thrift shops. After a couple months of buyings and selling, I found my niche.
Now, I still buy other items here and there, but of the 1,000+ items currently available in my store, the majority are clothes. The premise is simple: buy low and sell lower than the rest.
I have not only found something that I love, I’ve also found a way to earn a living doing so and provide for my family. My dad, wife, and kids all help me buy things when they are free and it’s turned into a great family business. A few months ago, I bought the domain name http://www.NameBrandThrift.com and it has helped grow the store even more.
This little business has turned into a solvent company that I’m proud to own and run. It provides a great service, allowing people to buy name brand clothes for way less than the stores. Many of the clothes I sell are new with tags (about 20%) and this business creates a trickle down effect to other sectors of the economy. I spend an average of $800 a month in shipping, spend an undisclosed amount at thrift shops & yard sales, and purchase shipping materials from other businesses.
Who would have thought that thrifting could turn into a profession and that it could contribute so much to the economy? I literally ship worldwide and have found more fulfillment with Name Brand Thrift than I ever have before. Small businesses can still be started and succeed. But, in order to be successful, you’ll need to do two things: find what you love and work harder than the rest.