Tag Archives: resale

Better Shoe Brands for Resale

“USED shoes?!? Gross!!!”

– Me, for the first 6 years as an eBay seller

Live and learn.  But hey,  you don’t know what you don’t know, right?  And what I didn’t know was that higher end previously owned shoes in nearly new condition are a hot item.  How did I stumble upon this nugget of wisdom?  At a bustling little heap of chaos I like to call Goodwill Outlet.  Yes, that is a thing.  It’s basically all the things that don’t sell in a certain time at Goodwill or don’t get in there at all due to overwhelming supply.  Everything is dumped into shallow bin style rolling tables and rolled out on the floor.  People are lined up to see what’s in the new bins, and when I say “lined up”, I mean poised and ready to knock you down to lunge for all the good stuff.  This kind of shopping is not for the faint of heart.

To help prevent injuries and make the fight a little more fair, an announcement is made over the intercom asking that everyone step out of the aisles while they bring out the bins, which are covered with a tarp.  Not until the wheels of the table are locked into place will the tarp be removed and shoppers allowed to touch anything.  The bins are sorted (mostly) by clothing, shoes, bags and housewares.  The competition is pretty fierce for clothing and even more so for bags, but the shoes?  You risk losing a limb in that madness.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It’s like that Animal Planet video of piranhas eating a duck.

So after wondering why all the excitement over shoes that have already been worn, I did a little digging and discovered that on eBay alone, at any given moment, there are around 1,950,000 pairs of used shoes listed in the US.  Whaaaat? If you filter that search by clicking “sold”, it’s about 750,000 pair over what I’m guessing is 90 days, that’s usually as far back as a search goes on eBay.  Narrow it again by prices from $1 to $500 – because let’s face it, you may find one rare pair of Kobe or Yeezy or Jordan Nike’s in your lifetime, or even a pair of Manolo’s worth $5,000, but that’s not the norm.  That search brings up 720,000 pairs.  So I decided to try to get in on the action.

Now I’m not selling $500 shoes, and I doubt anyone with a brain will be throwing anything like that in good shape in with their yard sale stuff.  I do, however, find a few pairs on occasion that are worthwhile with a decent ROI.  Here are some examples:

Dansko 

I don’t wear Dansko’s myself, but there is a loyal following and they are known to last a long time.  I paid $2 for the ones pictured and they sold for $30.

Born

These are great shoes, I’ve owned a pair before and they are well made and last forever.  I have these set aside to list in the fall, but I have sold other pairs for upwards of $30.

Donald J. Pliner

This was not a familiar brand for me, but I thought I’d give it a try and sold these for about $12 with a $1 investment.  I sold a pair of the same brand loafers for $16.

J. Crew

Honestly, does J. Crew make anything that people won’t buy?  These super cute patent flats were $1 at a yard sale and sold for $15.

Adrienne Vittadini

Sometimes it’s the style, not necessarily the brand.  I’ve had Adrienne Vittadini items listed before that didn’t sell well, but I knew these wedges would be a winner.  Paid $2, sold for $18.

Earthies

Another brand I wasn’t familiar with, but I’m glad I tried it.  I sold a pair similar to the ones in this stock photo for $16.

These are just the brands that I’ve had the most luck with so far.  I’ve had a few duds, too.  I spent $5 on a brand new in the box Anne Klein loafers that aren’t getting much eBay love.  A like new pair of girl’s soccer cleats sold with only 1 bid.  So you never know.

Feel free to comment with your favorite shoe brands and I’ll keep an eye out for them!  Happy shopping!

How to Pack Shipments for 5-Star Feedback

If you’ve ever sold on eBay before, then you already know…feedback is everything!  I’ve sacrificed profits for feedback several times to please a customer, because once the feedback is posted, it’s there forever.  Well, it only affects your rating for 12 months, but that’s an eternity in eBay time.  There are millions of sellers and 5-star feedback is one of the things that differentiates your store from the rest.  Here’s a few tips for getting a sold item to the customer in 5-star condition:

1.  Double check the item before you pack it.  I have had a few sales I had to cancel because I saw a problem with the item as I was packing it, even though I checked it before listing.  It happens.

2.  Make sure you have the right size and type of packaging.  If you are packing a fragile item and it’s not properly packed per the USPS guidelines, you might not be able to file a claim for damage if it arrives broken.  This includes using a sturdy box or padded envelope, bubble wrap and/or packing peanuts and good shipping tape.  I recommend this tape for ease of use and just the right amount of stickiness.

3.  Presentation is everything.  I don’t understand people who wad up an item in an envelope with nothing then send it to me, but it happens surprisingly often.  I’m not big on bragging, but one of the things I repeatedly see in my feedback is the comment “well packaged”, which makes me so happy because I really try to pack items as nicely as possible.  I want customers to feel like they are opening a present. 🙂  Here is an example of how I package an item to ship:

For clothing items, I use the $1 store packs of white tissue paper.  Since I pack in a tear- and water-resistant poly envelope, clothing doesn’t really need any other inner packaging.  I don’t want to just sling the item in the envelope and send it like that, so I first lay out the tissue on a flat surface.

Then I fold the item into a neat rectangle so it will be similar in size and shape to the envelope.

Then I fold the tissue in from corner to corner and fold it down the middle, securing with tape.  I do the same thing with the opposite corners.

Now I have a neat little rectangle.  I opt to put in a “Thank You” business card with the link to my eBay and Poshmark stores on it, rather than a packing slip printed from eBay which has no added value.  If people ask for a packing slip, I print one of those also.  I’ve had exactly 3 people ask for a packing slip in 8 years.  I tuck the card into the tissue paper.

I slide it in the envelope and seal it.  I only buy white self-sealing poly envelopes from these guys;  they don’t cost much more and are so convenient.

This last step is probably a little OCD, but I really feel like it helps keep the item from shifting around in the envelope.  After sealing, I shift the item to one side, then fold over the excess side of the envelope and tape it in place with packaging tape.  I know, it’s a bit much.  That feedback, though!

And here is a stack of finished packages, all ready for the post office!

 

4.  Ship the item ON TIME.  I admit to not being perfect here, but I  keep the number of items that ship out after 1 business day at less than 3% so I don’t lose my seller status.  A late shipment usually happens because I don’t have the right size box and have to go…***cringe***…buy one.  This can be avoided by immediately looking for free boxes after you purchase the item, not wait until after you sell it.

This is basically it.  Just post accurate listings with all information and photos that are clear and not misleading, then pack carefully and ship quickly, and your feedback will reflect the care that you have taken to get the item to your customer asap!

Choosing the Best Clothing Brands for Resale

As you know, thrift stores are my favorite place to shop for resale items.  So many things!  So little money!  I’ve been shopping in thrift stores for so long, that I sometimes forget how daunting it can be the first few times you try it.

If you are shopping for resale, here are a few brands to look for so as not be overwhelmed by the endless racks of clothing.  These are not necessarily the highest grossing items, but they are the ones that I sell most consistently with the fewest issues regarding quality.

1. J. Crew – Hands down, my favorite resale brand.  There is a following for J. Crew clothing that I don’t see with any  other brand that I list.  It’s like a cult or something.

2.  White House/Black Market – In over 10 years on eBay, I’ve never listed a WH/BM item that didn’t sell.

3.   Ann Taylor LOFT – Consistent sales, although not the highest return.  Of all the brands, though, I find their items to have the least amount of wear.

4. Theory – I could probably list a piece of toilet paper with a Theory tag on it and it would sell.  A rare find in a thrift store, but higher ROI.

5. Free People – Ditto.

6. Banana Republic – This runs a close second to LOFT in consistent sales and quality.  People seem to wear these clothes out a little more, so I double check everything.

7. The Limited – I stick with their classic business/dress items; little black dresses, pencil skirts, dress pants, button down shirts.

8. Lucky Brand – Most consistent sales on their jeans, tops are okay. If you’re lucky enough (SWIDT?) to find a nearly new swimsuit, snag it.

9. Anthropologie – The unicorn of the thrift store.  Yes, you can find it, but they carry exclusive brands and if you are not familiar with them, you’ll pass a money maker right on by and not even realize it.

10. Old Navy – Not a huge ROI, but this brand is plentiful in the thrift store, a lot of it in like new condition, and their clothing covers every category; men, women and kids clothes.  Their jeans, shorts and dresses are the items I sell best.  If I get kid’s clothing, I try to get all the same size and gender so I can sell in a lot instead of single listings.

11. GAP – Same as Old Navy, slightly higher return.

12.  Adidas – Another cult following.  If I have multiple colors or styles listed in one size, a buyer will often purchase all of them. They like what they like.

There are many, many other brands out there that will bring in big money, but if you are starting out and are not necessarily familiar with designer brands, these are solid, basic brands to get your store stocked up and have consistent sales each week.  Higher end resale items are harder to find in good condition, but the more you shop, the better you will get at spotting them without spending hours sifting through rack after rack of clothing.

Happy Shopping!

14 Tips for Buying Thrift Store Clothing

Thrift store shopping is my preferred way to buy clothing for resale since I can take my time and thoroughly look over each item, whereas at yard sales, I tend to rush because I want to get to more sales.

Everyone knows not to buy clothing that is faded, outdated, or has obvious tears or stains, but here are a few things to look for that are not so obvious:

1. Armpits – Look for deodorant stains, yellowing, fading, pilling inside and out. Even if deodorant is not visible, hold the item up to the light.  Some deodorants dry clear, but have glitter in them.

2. Collar – Unfold the collar if the item has one and check the crease for stains.  If it doesn’t have a collar that folds, check the tag on the back of the neck.  If it’s grungy looking, you might want to pass.

3. Buttons – I button an item to make sure they are all there and not about to fall off.  I don’t mind tightening a loose button on a nice item, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it if I don’t have to.

4. Zippers – Unzip and zip them all the way to make sure they are completely functioning, then close the hook and eye and make sure it’s securely in place.  Now check the stitching on the seam just below the zipper and make sure it has not come unraveled.  This is likely from people trying to wear an item too small and causing the zipper to come loose from the seam it is attached to.

5. Stains – They are not always obvious, and good lighting is crucial, especially with light colored items.  Sometimes I can’t see a stain until I hold the item up in daylight.  Check the edges of collars and cuffs.

6. Seams – I take items off the hanger, then hold it up with one hand while I run the other hand up and down the seams on each side.  This works best with skirts and tops; with pants, I pull at the legs along the seams.  This is how I can see if a seam has come apart and needs sewing.

7. Hem – Check the hem on skirts and pants for alterations.  If an item has been altered, I pass on it because it is no longer the original size.  Also check for frayed or grimy edges.

8. Safety pins – These can be found in the center of a top with a surplice neckline or inside the waistband to hold it together.  If it needs a safety pin, I don’t buy it.

9. Crotch – Yep, inside and out, especially on women’s clothing for obvious and gross reasons.  The state of some of the clothing that is donated to thrift stores then put out for sale is appalling.  I mean, I’m not expecting everything to be pristine, but come on.  Also check the fabric on the inside upper thigh area for pilling.

10.  Belt loops– Make sure they are all there and all intact.

11. Pockets – Put your hand inside and make sure there are no holes. Or Kleenex, or gum wrappers, or whatever.

12. Tags– I want items that have the tags with the brand name, the size, where it was made and what it is made from.  These are description fields on the eBay listing form so I want to make sure I have that information on the item before I buy it.

13. Pilling– Obviously, if the garment has overall pilling from general washing and wearing, you don’t want it.  Less obvious are the inside upper thigh area mentioned above, as well as the armpit area.  Nothing fixes this, so I pass on these items.

14. Smell– Since I only buy items that don’t need washing before I sell them, I have to make sure they don’t have an offensive odor of any kind.  This includes cigarette smoke, mildew, moth balls, heavy detergent scents and perfume or cologne residue.  I’m sure I look like a freak smelling used clothing, but I can’t have one item getting its stank all over everything else I bought that day.

That’s pretty much it.  It sounds like a lot, but once you get used to what you are looking for, it’s less than 30 seconds per item.

Feel free to Pin this list for future reference, and happy shopping!