How to make a living selling used clothing on Ebay
Do you have a passion for fashion? Are you obsessed with clothes and your closet is bursting at the seams? Just admit it! You are a clothes hoarder! I am a self confessed hoarder of clothes and I’m going to show you how you can turn your obsession into profit! Learn how you can actually make a living selling used clothing!
I’ve been selling ebay on and off for over a decade and I have learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way, so many in fact I wrote an e-book about selling ( and few tricks on buying) on ebay here’s a link if you are interested.
Let’s just jump right in
1)Find your niche. Narrow your focus. This is a mistake I made in the early days and I’m sure a lot of other sellers do too. Are you selling baseball cards, shoes and watches?! Stop right there, re-direct your focus. This will save you time and money. I used to frantically be calculating postage or finding huge boxes for larger items. It got stressful and very confusing. What do you know about? What products do you find yourself buying the most yourself? Stick with what you know and love because chances are you will know price points, stay focused, intrigued and which will allow you to be a lot more successful.
2) Decide how much you need to make and the time you can invest. If you only have a couple hours a week to dedicate to ebay then you most likely won’t be able to make $1000 a week or even a month, well unless you find the right niche. More on this later.
For me, my niche is women’s name brand clothing. I have always sold name brand clothing, because, well I love clothes, if I started selling baseball cards for example, I would get bored and burned out quickly since it’s not my specialty or my expertise and I would probably lose money simply because I wouldn’t know how much the cards are worth, which would be detrimental to buying and selling these items.
3)Buy low and sell high. How low can you go? This is the name of the game! If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this phrase… BUY LOW, SELL HIGH! This is something that you will understand and learn about more through trial and error. In my genre, name brand clothing, I try to find things at the lowest price to make the maximum profit. Some of the best places I’ve found for finding re-sale items are yard sales, thrift stores, rummage sales, etc. I’ve had the best luck with church rummage sales because you can usually get things for $1 or $2 a bag on the last day of the sale. Same goes for yard sales, on the last day people really just want to get rid of stuff so they are much more willing to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to tell the sellers that you are a reseller, I find that being upfront and honest about your intensions for the items can help…sometimes. You really just have to weigh the situation and know when to talk and when to keep it zipped. If you frequent a certain store chances are you will get to know the owner or workers and it will eventually come into the conversation. Sometimes this is a very good thing because once they know you are kind of in the same business they are more willing to negotiate. One thrift store owner I know gives me a deal and free items every time I go in. Like 50 an item. I recently went to a school rummage sale on the last day, it was a half hour before they closed. I saw a ton of good name brand clothes that I knew I could flip for a profit. I asked the sellers , “could you make me a deal if I bought a whole box? I’m an ebay reseller.” The lady running the show said, “absolutely! How about all of them for $20”! So I literally bought all of the clothes left, now keep in mind not all of these clothes were ones I was wanting, but I didn’t have time to sort through them, I had my two boys in the car and I figured I could sell some, give some away and donate the rest. Always be on the lookout for deals like this.
4)Know you market and your buyer. Who is your customer? What is your customer into? What are the current trends this customer would be interested in? Let’s take for example, teens. There will always be a market for teen girl clothing. Most teen girls love to buy clothing. Study what your customer would be buying. Research on google and ebay, look at all the current fashion magazines, research key words and think like your targeted customer. Study, learn and grow daily. Be a sponge and learn as much as you can about this industry. I also watch videos on youtube. Youtubers like Pickin’ Profits and Resale Rabbit are good examples of ebayers that know what to buy and how to sell. Dedicate an hour a day to learning the business. Even if that is just reading a few blogs.
The good stuff: So how much can I make?
Let’s talk for a minute about money and unfortunately there will be some math involved in this equation, yes some math humor, I tried. I really hate math, not gonna lie, so I will try to simplify it as much as I can.
How much is your time worth? Only you can answer that question. One person’s time might be worth $10 while anothers time might be worth $100. If you spend one hour on this business how much do you need to make in order to make your time count in that one hour?
Let’s say you make $15 an hour at your full time office job. If you are selling on eBay you probably want to make close to this amount for your time. Now you have to calculate expenses, like how much it costs to buy the items, shipping costs and packaging supplies, as well as ebay and PayPal fees. So here’s a scenario to break things down for you a bit.
You buy a pair of jeans at a rummage sale for $1 you decide they are worth about $30 on eBay after doing a few minutes of research and seeing what other sellers have these jeans listed for you have your price point.
After the cost of the jeans is factored in you will be left with $29. Let’s say $1 for packaging supplies and then $5 for fees. So you are left with $23 so for me that is worth my time.
Now listing a pair of jeans only takes about five minutes so what if you could list 12 pairs of these same kind of jeans or items? Could you do this in one hour’s time? It’s very possible, especially if the jeans where nearly the same you can copy listings to save time.
So if all of the jeans you sold were sold for $30 12x $23= $276. So how’s that for an hour’s worth of work? In my opinion enough to quit your job and make a full time living with ebay. Just think about having five hours per week or even five hours per day.
$276 (one hours work)
$276 x 5 (one week) =$1,380 Could you find five hours a week for an extra $1,380?
My guess is yes!
What if you had an extra five hours a day? You could generate an extra $6,900 a month, probably enough at that point to quit your day job right?
The trick is finding the right items, finding them for the lowest price and consistently listing, the more listings you have going at all times, the more money you will generate.
My advice is start with 100 items on a buy it now auction. Even if you found $10 jeans and they all sold on a buy it now auction that is $1,000 generated (before fees and cost of items) even if you have 100 items that sell on a 3 day auction for the average price of $5 that’s still $500 generated. Can you list 100 this week to make an extra $500? Or even if you do 25 listings a week you would still make $500 extra a month (minus fees). That’s still not bad for a few hours worth of work right?
Even if you are an eBay newbie, this platform is so easy to learn, I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about selling online. Even if your business outgrows ebay, this is the perfect and simplest platform I know of to get you started and teach you the ends and outs if the business. From sourcing items, to pricing, packaging, shipping, postage, marketing, etc. There are so many invaluable lessons I learned by starting on eBay over ten years ago. I was in my early twenties, 22 I think when I listed my first item. A college textbook, which sold for $53
I’m at the point in my life were I value my time more than money. It’s not that I don’t value money, it’s that I realize my work is worth more, I guess I value myself and my skills more, I’m older and wiser than I was in my twenties, and to be quit honest going through a divorce recently toughened me up and changed the way I work and value my time. When I was in my twenties I was ok with making $10 an hour at a 9 to 5…here’s the thing I learned over the years though.You have to find a way to work smarter not harder. I think a lot of us don’t learn this until we are older and we also decide to start making our money work hard for us rather than working so hard for our money. More on this subject later. This is something that Dave Ramsey teaches. I highly recommend his financial advice and books for anyone struggling in this department.
When deciding to go back to work as a mom, or really anyone going back to work, you really have to focus on the amount it costs you to work for that _ an hour, for me I just interviewed for a seemingly great job part time for supplemental income after realizing they start @$10 an hour, it wasn’t so appealing anymore. I can’t take a job making $10 an hour if I know I could make three times as much or more at home. Here are some factors that I factored in to decide if I could take this job or not.
The number one factor. Childcare. One son will be in school (in August) for summer I would have to pay for two. For one child in my area it’s still $100 a week. The job only pays $250 a week. So just after childcare I’m left with $50, now let’s think about things like gas, food, clothing and taxes.
I would actually be in the red about $100 a month I calculated by taking this jobChild Support. I would be losing about half of this income by taking this job.
All things considered I would be actually making around $4 an hour. Do you think I can make up the difference and bring in an extra $4 an hour? The answer is yes! And you can too!
I’m sorry but isn’t that sad? I wonder how many other moms are in this same dilemma, they want to work outside the home but can’t because they make more money staying home. I guess it is sad but true. This is actually the person I write for, the moms that are in this situation. But that’s ok, because there is hope. There are ways around this problem. Work at home! You can follow my work at home blog bringingmomshome.wordpress.com for more tips and advice.
Just a little food for thought for anyone thinking about going back to a “traditional” job.
More on this subject later, I really feel like this is an important topic!
First of all, I just want to say sorry to anyone still with me on this blog. I’ve taken a step back to deal with some personal and family issues and have been on a journey of self discovery and maybe a bit of self loathing if I’m being totally honest. I was at the point in my life where I was being challenged. With a blog, as most bloggers know, it is very time consuming, well, really all consuming. The amount of time you dedicate to blogging takes away from other things in your life, and the time commitment starts to effect relationships. When you start a business, any business really, it’s a process, and not an overnight process. We live in a society where everyone wants results now, well more like yesterday. When you start a business or blog, it’s a struggle, your heart has to be into it, you have to put your blood, sweat and tears into it before you get the kind of results you dream of. Us writers, entreprenuers and bloggers know this right? For those on the other side of the fence, that broken mangled fence, not so much white picketish fence I might add, it’s hard to understand how someone could put so much effort into something that does not bring instant gratification or success and not to mention, money. So for anyone struggling with building a business, or a blog, or a dream for that matter, I understand, believe me, I do that’s really the whole reasoning behind this blog and business model. Just having a supportive community of like minded individuals who get it, who are on the same journey. It really takes a great support system doing something this bold and unconventional. When you don’t have that support,the struggle is real. I’m had to deal with so much negativity lately, it’s unreal. But yet I press on. So why did I not give up? I almost did because of lack of support.I finally feel like I’m at a turning point. I had some opportunities fall into my lap, some writing and teaching jobs and I really feel like I’m at a turning point. If I turn back now the past few months will have been for nothing. If someone can’t understand my journey, then they don’t have any business being on it with me. And so I pressed on.
So, if it’s this hard to “work from home” why would anyone want to do this? You might be asking yourself. Here are some of the reasons why someone would want to escape the concrete jungle of time constraints, rude customers, coffee IV’s and water cooler gossip.
Here are some reasons why someone would want to work at home, or need to.
#1 You aren’t building someone else’s dream. Everyday I worked for someone else, I swear a piece of myself died with every moment that went by. I was always dreaming of the things I really wanted to do. I felt like a rat in a cage.
#2 Less stress. More focus. You don’t have to worry about fitting in, dressing well, spending your hard earned money on office obligations like a cake for your bosses b-day or being suckered into buying Scentsy from a co-worker. No gossip queens and work cliques. No waking up at 5am for an hour commute, wasting more time driving than actually working, you have more time to *gasp* actually work. What a concept right? Don’t get me wrong, there’s still stress working from home, but you know it will not be in vain, you can see the bigger picture. Where will you be three to five years from now?
#3 Less expenses. If you stop and think about it. How much do you pay to work? Yes, jobs do cost money, it’s always the amount per month or the amount per hour we focus on when working a traditional job. But do you know how much out of that salary you are paying to be there? Food for thought. You have childcare if you have kids. In CA where I live it’s $100 a week per child so for me that’s $200 a week. You have to pay for gas for your commute. That could be a huge expense depending on how far you drive. Let’s assume $50 a week. You will want a Starbucks white mocha Frappacinno for a morning pick me up so $5 a day. Then there’s lunch, at least $5. So those two things that’s $50. Then you have work clothes and things like nails and hair, you have to look good right? Another maybe $100 a week. If you are working a job making $10 an hour you would really be bringing home, sadly, nearly nothing. You are basically working for free. Now this is assuming you are the secondary earner in the family. If you are a single parent there is help and assistance for child care which would make it a little easier.
#4 Health issues. Maybe you can’t work a traditional job right now. Maybe you can’t be reliable for a real job because of health problems. Maybe you are going through chemo or have a condition like lupus or fibromyalgia (I was diagnosed with this about five years ago) or you have chronic migraines. Maybe you can work, but need to at your own pace, around your symptoms or your appointments.
#5 You want to be there for your kids. For me I have a son with Autism who needs a lot of attention, help and support. For anyone that has a child with any kind of disability (I hate that word because it is more of a gift than a curse), you need to have a job with flexibility. My son has major tantrums, it is so hard to be on a traditional schedule with a child having Autism. You have to have the ability to go with the flow, my days are often directed by his moods. When I was working a normal job, there were many days I was late due to him not wanting to get ready and having tantrums. Having a child with Autism is no walk in the park, it’s a challenge and you have to work around their schedule.
#6 You have skills that don’t fit the traditional job mold. I live in an economically challenging area. The main industries to work in are retail and healthcare. If you are freelance writer, web designer or fashion designer, this is a problem in my area. If I lived in Seattle, L.A or New York it would not be a problem. When what you really want to do is rather unconventional, think about working online. You can start a store, you can write pretty much anywhere you live and as far as web designer jobs you can do that online as well, where ever you go. Create the job you want.
#7 You are on your own watch. No more getting up a 4am, no more watching the clock as it seems to get slower and slower the closer it is to five o’clock. You can now set you own schedule, schedule your appointments and errands around your own commitments. For me this is the main reason working from home works for me. I can take my son to school, I work around his school schedule and appointments. Therese my typical day. I get up and work a little before my kids wake up. Make breakfast, spend some time with the boys when they wake up. Take my oldest son to school, run my errands then come back, work some more. Then I pick him back up at 4 make dinner, clean up, do laundry, watch a program with the boys or some homework and activities. Then when they go to bed I work a little more. This works for me, I love having flexibility, it’s the number one thing I have to have in a job
#8 Ability to work a anywhere. Wanna take your laptop poolside and soak up some rays? Why not? Wanna sit on your deck with a nice cup of Joe and listen to the birds sing? Why not? You can work anywhere. This is the joy of working at home. Do you live in a very rural area with not much happening? Your only option to bring in income might be working from home.
#9 You can do what you love. Why not create the job of your dreams? What do you daydream about doing? Can you create a business out of that? Are you just going through the motions at your job, day by day, like a robot set on autopilot? It might be time to transition out of your mundane, boring job and into your new life.
#10 Creative freedom. Do you like to be in charge of the big decisions? Do you feel comfortable taking the lead on projects? I personally feel the most fulfilled when I’m able to express myself creatively, whether that be through writing, blogging, youtube videos or doing sewing fashions for my etsy shop. I love the ability to “color outside of the lines” and try new things. Entrepreneurship is all about learning and growing through trial and error, it’s also about taking big changes and seeing great rewards.
Has anyone read the book The Secret? Well I did years ago, but just recently am I putting it back into action in my life. You have to be happy and content in your life right now in order to bring in more. You have to think of your business as a great success and envision it wholeheartedly in order to manifest success. More on this whole concept later. I will update you to let you know how it’s working.
It’s after 1 am time for bed.