Working for yourself has so many great aspects: freedom, creativity, and the pride of building something yourself! However, the downside presents itself when you want to unplug without losing your income. I've never been brave enough to hand over much of the work of my reselling business because, well, I feel like I've been learning so much since I went full time last year, that I didn't feel confident yet passing over responsibilities I hadn't felt I mastered 100%.
When our 2 week European vacation started getting closer, I had to make the decision to either put everything on hold and lose two weeks of income (and the subsequent slow down when we are back from having all shops closed), or hire someone for the help. My business plan for the future involves hiring help for listing/photographing/shipping, so I decided to take the plunge and start learning how having employee will be in my business! My brother is in college and out for summer break, so I offered him a set amount of money to come live in our house and ship sold items while we were gone.
I had my brother come down 4 days before we left in order to show him the ropes and give him a couple days of observation/supervision so he felt comfortable when we left. I sell on eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari, and each has a different method of shipping so I am really glad we had that much time to spend learning all platforms. Once we left, I would plan in about an hour every morning to send my brother a detailed email of what had sold the day before, the inventory number (that is how items are organized in my storage system), and on which platform. I also sometimes left notes on how I recommend packaging/shipping if it was a random item.
Overall, this experience was SO great and I definitely made the right decision! My brother paid for himself within two days of sales, so everything after that was profit! I did spend a LOT of time in the month leading up to our vacation to make the proper preparations for an outsider to come in and make any sort of sense of my system, and after the whole experience I can reflect on what worked, and what could use some improvements for the future. In case you are in a position where you would consider hiring someone to help you out with your reselling business, I've shared some tips from this experience below!
AUDIT YOUR INVENTORY TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER
I put all my inventory in baggies with numbers that are sorted in order in boxes, so a couple weeks leading up to our trip I went through everything to make sure the items were in order and had the right numbers. Tedious, but I'm glad I did it because I found a lot of inconsistencies!
ENSURE YOUR INVENTORY IS IN A "READY TO SELL" CONDITION
I was in a bad habit of putting items that needed minor care before being sent out (deodorant marks, new button, etc) in inventory and just fixing them up when they sold. I definitely didn't want that responsibility on someone new, so when I audited my inventory I also looked over everything to ensure it was ready to ship condition.
WRITE A DETAILED SOP (STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE)
I learned the importance of a good SOP from my Human Resources days, but essentially you want to write up step by step exactly how to do a task so someone who has never done the task before can follow the procedures.
WILL THE SALES BE WORTH PAYING AN EMPLOYEE
An important thing to consider is how much is fair to pay your employee that still allows you to make money. Take into mind how many sales you have per day, how long it typically takes you per day to package items up, and the time to get to and from the post office
SALES WILL SLOW IF YOU DON'T STAY ACTIVE
Across the multiple platforms I sell on, it appears that actively listing new items helps you with the algorithm/sales. As well, sharing on Poshmark is also crucial for getting your items seen. Make sure you are prepared to do this during your vacation! *also take into account time differences: I always like to share my Poshmark closet during certain times, and Germany was 9 hours ahead*
HAVE DRAFTS WRITTEN UP AND READY TO GO
This is something I wish I had done! I had photographs and measured items, but couldn't find the time to actually make the drafts. This required more time during my vacation to actually make the listings.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this was helpful! If you have any other questions about hiring an employee to ship for you, or want to share your own experiences leave a comment below!
The way in which I package my items for Poshmark has become incredibly important to me. On the one hand, I want my customer to feel special opening their purchase! On the other, my small business needs to find every way to save money and I try my best to be frugal. If I could have each package spray confetti when someone opens it, I would! But that might get costly...
I've been very happy with the way in which I have been packaging my sales and the feedback I have gotten about them, plus I have found it only costs me 26 cents per item to ensure a cute and fun package! Keep scrolling to see my process and links to pick up these items too!
My tools: tissue paper, thank you stickers, business card, twine, and a cute polymailer!
Once I had committed to bulk purchase of tissue paper when I first started my business, I wasn't sure if I loved it so much and I found the clear plastic polymailers to look more professional. However, I like the "gift" effect tissue paper gives to my sales, plus it is better for the environment than adding more plastic people will just throw away.
**pro tip** if the item is too bulky for one piece of tissue paper tape two together!
After I fold up the package in tissue paper I secure the ends with a thank you sticker and my business card, which directs them to all my social media and this blog! I highly recommend a business card because there are really so many ways for an entrepreneur to make money these days and the more followers you have across your social media platforms the better! I got mine through Vistaprint, and bulk ordered them to save money. You can order yours here! Make sure to search around for codes on the site because they always have them going on!
The twine bow is something I've recently started adding to my purchases. I have a background in consumer psychology, and the more you can make a customer's purchase like a gift the better! This is why so many stores wrap up purchases nicely at the store. The more you see your purchase as a gift, the less likely you are to see the money you spent and request a return. Interesting!
Once my package is tied up with string, I slip it into a cute polymailer and off it goes! Currently loving these gingham ones for this time of year. You can purchase all my packaging tools through the Amazon links below, plus they are prime so free ship!
Fridays means I share my fave Amazon finds and this week I'm sharing all the items I use + love + need for my reselling business! I'm also trying to link a variety of items so that depending on your budget and what you're looking for you can find the best option for you. If you see something you like you can just click the image and it will take you straight to Amazon!
..and some for the Upcoming Holidays!
Hope this helped, and if there are items you love for your reselling business and didn't see here, please help a sister out and leave it below in the comments! You can see my full list of reselling must haves on Amazon HERE!
For someone who earns a living by shopping for secondhand goods, it's important I take the time to ensure the items I am picking up are in great condition, and/or the price I am going to pay for the item is worth the state of the product. Even if you just thrift for your own closet (also me!) there is not a guarantee that the item is in as great condition as it would be from a "traditional" store, and many thrifts don't offer cash back or exchanges. After buying my own share of damaged goods that have had to be redonated or discarded and learning from my costly mistakes, I've put together a quick list of where to look for common wear and tear on different items.
[ ] Soles - if the rubber is wearing thin in spots or there are holes
[ ] Tips - peeling, rubbing, holes
[ ] Heels - rubbing
[ ] Inside Soles - peeling or detachment
[ ] Buttons and Zippers - buttons are all present and zipper works up and down
[ ] Inside Crotch - stains (ew)
[ ] Hem - any alterations
[ ] Outside Crotch - holes, thinning, rubbing, wear
[ ] Belt Loops - tearing
[ ] Buttons - all present
[ ] Underarms - holes, stains, yellowing
[ ] Stitching - unraveling, tearing (particularly around hem and sleeves)
[ ] Belts - ensure no belt loops / missing belt
[ ] Inside Pockets - no ripping / detaching of lining
[ ] Zippers - unstitching
[ ] Lining - unstitched, detaching, staining
[ ] Belts - ensure no belt loops / missing belt
[ ] Hem - unstitching, alterations
[ ] Underarms - holes, rips
[ ] Lining / Slip - cut out, missing, ripped
[ ] Straps - peeling, missing (some bags have small handles and a long, detachable strap)
[ ] Corners - rubbing
[ ] Interior - staining
[ ] Hardware - scratching, rubbing
Outside of these item specific assessments always make sure to lay out the item either on your cart or over the rack and inspect both sides for stains, rips, holes, etc.
With any business, it takes time to turn a profit and it also requires a lot of frugality and smart resourcing. When I look back at beginning my business, I spent money on things I shouldn't have, and learned a lot of tricks to help maximize my profit. Keep scrolling for a few of my tips I've learned along the way since started my reselling business to save money, most of which I still use!
1. Utilize Your Free Shipping Tools
Beautiful little packages are fun to send and even more fun to receive, and is something to look into down the road, but in the beginning the bottom line is very important. If you are selling on Poshmark (which is my favorite!) you are eligible to use priority mail boxes and envelopes (!!except for priority express!!) which are completely FREE and can be ordered to your door from USPS. For eBay or other sites, save the boxes you receive from amazon and online shopping to recycle and reuse. Also, if you subscribe to an eBay store you get a credit for eBay shipping products which is another great way to get shipping supplies.
2. Your storage system Can Be Found around your house
I would love to have a storage unit or warehouse so that my reselling business was not sprawled across over 50% of my house, but this is currently the best option for my start-up business. My wonderful hubby built me two wall to ceiling shelving units and I reuse large shipping boxes we receive in the mail to sort my items. I would love to have cute, matching storage tubs for all my inventory, but the couple hundred dollars is just unjustifiable for me to spend when things work so well for free.
3. Keep Organized
I got a cheap three pocket laundry hamper that I keep next to my desk, which has been a godsend to my efficiency! The first pocket is for items that need to be photographed, the middle pocket is for items that have been photographed and are ready to list, and the third pocket is to hold items that are listed and need to be packaged and sorted in my inventory. This has helped me save money by keeping me visibly accountable to what needs to be done, and to avoid bags of inventory to be stored around out of sight. Unlisted inventory does not make any money!
4. Sometimes Spending More Is Cheaper
There are some resources I have found throughout reselling that require to pay up at the beginning, but save money over time. For starters, the first month of reselling I did not pay upfront for an eBay store, which for a monthly fee allows a higher number of free listings than a personal account (after the 50 free listings it is .10 cents a listing)and lower selling costs. I didn't do the math in the beginning, but spending the $50/month was much cheaper than spending the .10 cents per listing. Another resource I paid for is MileIQ, an app that tracks how much i'm driving for tax purposes. I drive alot between the post office and thrift stores, so the amount I will be able to write off for tax purposes is a lot more than what I paid up front for the app.
5. Don't Be Afraid To Tell People What You Do
When you tell people you resell, or flip clothes from thrift stores, you'll be surprised to hear people tell you how much they donate, or how they have a pile of clothes waiting in their garage that they are too lazy to take in. Offer to help them out! ;) Offer to take care of their unwanted clothes and sort through them for items of interest to you to resell, and then remember to donate any of the items you don't want to sell. And now you've got free inventory!
6. Figure out your local thrift store's sale schedule
Many big thrift stores (Goodwill and Salvation Army) hold special sales, like weekly 50% off color tags. I made way too many thrift store hauls before realizing that many of my local thrift spots before knowing that had dollar days one day a week! I didn't actually find out until I luckily stumbled into one the stores on one of those days. Save yourself the time and money, and don't be afraid to call your local stores to make sure you are finding the very best, cheapest inventory!
1. Flexible Tape Measure
I measure every item I list, whether it is a pair of jeans or a bag. This not only helps your customers feel more comfortable with purchasing your items, but can also save you in the event that someones wants to return an item citing the item was not properly described. I have had people try to open returns on items purchased through Poshmark (which only allows returns if the item was not as described) citing that the item is not true to size, and that I should have brought this to the buyer's attention. But when you provided measurements in the description, it's harder for the buyer to win this case.
2. Fabric Shaver
This thing is my buddy! It can really transform an item to remove any pilling and give new life to an item. Some areas that typically show the most signs of wear and pilling are underneath the arms and between the legs on pants. This little machine has allowed me to invest in more items that I otherwise would have left behind at the thrift because I know I can removed minor to mild pilling!
Paper Mate, Amazon, $4.90
Who knew erasers could renew an item so well? A lot of times, Goodwill and other thrift stores will write the price on the bottom of shoes. You want to remove these before you try to sell the shoes, because the bottom of the shoes is a picture you will definitely want to share, and people definitely won't be happy to pay your asking price when they see how cheap you originally purchased them. Also, I have found that erasers are fantastic for removing stains out of suede! Shoes or bags, this is a great way to revamp your items!
Boho Spirit, Amazon, 5 Pack $11.99
Whether you are full or part time reselling, running your own business involves many moving pieces and LOTS of multi tasking! To thrive in this work it is so key to stay organized and create a daily schedule to ensure efficiency and the best use of your time. Things pop up all the time so I always keep a notepad near by to write down to do's and things I need to pay attention to!
5. Sewing Kit
Taking a few minutes to make little tweaks here and there to items that are otherwise in great condition has made me a lot of money! A lot of times an un-hemmed pant leg, detached tag, or missing button (check inside tags for extras!) can be easily fixed with just a few quick stitches! If you try to sell these items "damaged" or "as is" your price range considerably lessens. Take 5 minutes to fix these minor issues can greatly affect your sale price!
TJ Maxx and Marshalls recently started a big yellow tag event where they marked down a bunch of their inventory. If you haven't been yet, run don't walk because a lot of people are already sharing their huge hauls! If you are looking to utilize this event to source, I have compiled some of my tips for finding the best inventory. Even if you are just buying for yourself, you definitely still need to read tips #2,3, and 4!
Look For One Off Pieces
Honestly, if most pieces have gotten to the point where they are deeply discounted, there is a reason. Either they were just not on the trend, the fit is off, or something made them unpopular. Keep this in mind when shopping to flip! Typically, rag & bone is a brand I will always pick up. As I was going through the clearance racks I came across a perfect pair of r&b white skinny jeans and my instincts told me to put them in my cart! As I continued flipping through the rack I came across one after the other and I immediately put mine back. If rag & bone is not selling something is wrong! When I’m sourcing, I look for pieces that have only been left to one maybe two tops on the clearance racks. Any more than that and I fear returns and saturation.
Don't Assume It's In Perfect Condition
I tend to let my guard down when shopping at a department store because everything is new and I assume they don’t sell damaged merchandise. Well, not so much the case. Recently, I went to try on a pair of AG jeans that were priced down to $15, so I was really excited about them. As I went to zip, bam! The zipper had come completely unattached! No wonder they were so cheap. Give items you buy here just as much attention you would from a thrift store.
Give Designer Items Extra Attention
I had no idea this was a problem until recently when one of my favorite resellers talked about being scammed at TJ Maxx! She had picked up a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress for a great deal. After getting home she noticed later that the dress was missing the dvf hologram and had a different interior material and care tag. Essentially what some scammers do is purchase a designer item, swap the tags with a similar looking non designer item, and either keep the real designer item for themselves or have extra designer labels they slap on and resell. Be thorough!
Don't Have Blinders For Sale Tags
I am the first person to admit that sale stickers can make me a little star struck. And stores know that! I have seen sales stickers stuck directly over prices to hide that the discount is literally under 5% but people still buy it thinking they are getting a great deal. And while the yellow tag stickers at Marshall's and TJ Maxx are typically the lowest price, I have seen them get an even lower sticker put over it. Don't let the yellow color be your biggest determination in buying an item. Make sure you know the original retail price!
Check Your Stats for Price
This is something I wish I had known better when I first started my reselling business: know popularity, and what resells for how much. I could have saved myself so much money and stor
age space! In the beginning I was sourcing and paying up for brands that I liked and thought were popular. For example, I paid about $15-20 for cute NWT Michael Kors tops that I am still sitting on! Going forward, I definitely wouldn't have purchased those unless they were atleast under $10. Ralph Lauren was another brand I overestimated. Research everything!
A lot of people are having the same idea. When a large batch of the same item gets marked down at the same time for a considerable amount less than retail, expect that a lot of them will end up on reselling sites. When I'm sourcing at these spots, I will always look up what is currently available on Poshmark and eBay. If there are more than 2 in the size I want to purchase, I put it back. With so many for sale you will likely sit on it for a while!
When I first started out reselling, I was buying alllll the wrong things. I picked up Ann Taylor anything, no matter the trend or style, and thought the dozens of pieces of Ralph Lauren I bought was going to sell like champs. So wrong! I'm still sitting on some of that stuff! For my first reselling post I ran a report of my items sold in 2018 and decided to share my top ten best selling brands, and tips for each to make sure they sell quick!
1. J. Crew
J. Crew is a preppy, classic brand that users on Poshmark love! The trendy pieces are generally well made so they make for good reselling pieces that buyers don't mind buying second hand. Black label J. Crew sells the fastest, and if you see two little diamonds on the tag that means it was made for the outlet, so expect for it to sell lower.
Ann Taylor Loft was never something I bought for myself before I started reselling, but they make such cute and trendy pieces that are pretty well made! I typically steer clear of the white square tags because this means it's an older style. The newer style tags are rectangular.
3. Banana Republic
I've always looooved Banana Republic, and I probably picked up pieces I shouldn't have when I first started reselling. Buyers aren't so much interested in basic pieces (tees, tanks, cotton sweaters) as they are the jeans, dresses, and wool/silk/cashmere tops so these are the only BR pieces I am currently picking up. Similar to J. Crew, you will know if it was made for the outlet store if there are two squares under the name on the tag, and these are hard to sell.
4. Tory Burch
Tory Burch sells quick, especially shoes. Clothing items I have found take a couple weeks to move, but they have always sold well. I have yet to find Tory Burch shoes out in the wild (one day!) but I like to source them when Nordstrom Rack is have a clear the rack sale. I purchased a cute pair of booties for $30 and flipped that for $120 after only a few days!
5. Sam Edelman
This is another brand I was not familiar with before my reselling life. They are commonly found at Macys and Nordstroms and create really cute, trendy pieces! I have found most at thrift stores to resell, but also sometimes pick them up new at clearance stores when they are under $10.
6. 7 For All Mankind
These are just really well made jeans that people often buy on Poshmark. They are my best selling jean brand for sure! The cuter and more designed the back pockets the quicker and higher they sell!
7. Victoria's Secret
Victoria's Secret NWT (new with tag) items sell soooo quick, especially bralettes! Their VSX sport collection also resells for significantly high comps (particularly leggings!) There is one VS outlet in the country, and it is in Orlando. Whenever I am in Florida I always try to stop by because you can get bras for as cheap as $3! The madness is worth it.
I really don't know why, but people love their cheap and strange European fashions. I've never been a big fan of the store because it is always so busy and I don' t think the clothes' quality justifies the prices, but man do people love to buy these pieces online! If I find a NWT Zara piece, I know it is going to sell within a couple days. Fun story: I found a super cute red and white striped Zara piece NWT for $8. It sold on eBay but the woman returned it because it didn't fit. I sold it again the next day for even more money than the original woman! Also what always sells good from Zara: men's clothes. Something about that European metrosexual vibe is in right now haha.
Add this to the list of brands I've never heard of before reselling! Theory is sold at most high end department stores (Neimans, Nordstrom, Bergdorfs) and their items carry price tags with a couple of zeros. For having such high price tags, I find these items quite a bit thrifting. The resale value is on the lower end considering the retail price, but I never hold onto Theory pieces very long.
DEFINITELY knew about Lululemon for a long time, and my heart still skips a beat when I pull a piece off the thrift racks! I mentally passed out for a moment when I found a tank that still had the tags attached. My record for flipping a Lululemon piece is 8 minutes (a pair of shorts!) and most pieces sell within 24 hours. Always a good return on investment!