Up to this point in my blog I’ve focused on selling print-on-demand items on Etsy. That was my newest project and the one I was most excited about when I started this blog. However, there is another entirely different business we run to make money online and that is reselling.
Reselling? What is that?
Reselling is when you buy something either new or used, then turn around and (re)sell it on a platform like eBay. There are a bunch of platforms that are great for reselling, eBay, Poshmark, Mercari, and Etsy are just a few. And my husband and I sell on all of them.
We’ve been doing this since January 2020. At first, it was just me doing everything except buying, hubby went with me and helped in that area. I started on Poshmark selling just clothing. Later I expanded to include Mercari, and eventually, I added eBay. Around that time I also started listing vintage items on Etsy.
Up to the time when we added eBay, we had only listed clothing. It was easy to find nice items to sell at thrift stores and it was rather easy to list. But once eBay was added to the platforms I use, I quickly wanted to expand into hard goods like home decor and vintage items. We then expanded into dishes and kitchen items, and before we knew it, we had a lot of stuff!
Our Reselling History
We enjoyed buying hard goods and quickly transitioned to a point where that’s all we were buying. Hard goods are great to sell, many command a high selling price and sell rather quickly if you offer the right items. However, shipping is much harder as most items are breakable. Storing them takes up a LOT more room than clothing and listing takes more time.
Many items need to be cleaned when you bring them home. Often we’d find a flaw, chip, crack, or crazing after the fact. We also had a huge learning curve, we didn’t know anything about anything, and that meant we had to store items that sold very, very slowly.
But, since the items that did sell sold for good prices, we started making some decent money. Most months we made almost twice what we needed. So, we kept buying. Then we started to run out of room.
We were storing items in plastic bins in our garage. We didn’t want to take over the entire garage as we like parking our car in there. It was also taking over our house, in order to process (clean, photo & list) we’d have to bring them inside. Our dining room soon became a big storage area for our unprocessed items. That was hard when Christmas came around as we always host a large family dinner.
The one thing we’d learned from a previous business (reselling on Amazon), was that expanding isn’t for the faint of heart. In that Amazon business, we expanded to an office area and hired an employee. Living out that 3-year lease put us in deep, deep debt that we are still working on paying off. We didn’t want to do that again so renting space outside our home was out of the question.
So, we made a decision. We would transition back to selling only clothing. We would leave the hard goods listed on eBay and let them sell through but only buy clothing going forward.
And that’s what we did for all of 2021 & 2022.
Reselling Clothing vs Hard Goods
Reselling clothing is easy compared to selling breakable hard goods. Clothing is super simple to store and doesn’t take up anywhere near the space as hard goods. Shipping is a breeze, just put them in a poly bag and let them go never worrying about breakage.
They’re also easy to list. There are only so many types of clothing: jeans, pants, shirts, tops, etc. Once you have a handle on how to list a type of item, you can set up a template for that type and listing gets very fast.
Buying is easy as well. You can quickly learn the brands and items that sell, and those that don’t. Going through a thrift store gets faster and faster once you get to a point where you don’t have to look up as many items.
However, finding clothing items that sell for over $35 isn’t easy. If that’s all we tried to sell, we wouldn’t be able to find enough items. And we’re in a big city with tons of thrift stores. So we soon learned to start buying items that sell as low as $15 and just sell more of them.
With hard goods, we had identified a category where a lot of our sales were $35-$50+. We had started to learn the good brands and could spot quality easily. And there was plenty of inventory to be had. We didn’t have to list as many items to make the same amount of money. But, that didn’t stop us from transitioning to clothing, we wanted to make clothing work.
All through 2021 and 2022 we stayed with our plan to only buy and sell clothing and worked hard to make the same amount of money we did with hard goods. But we couldn’t do it. Sales have slipped to a point where we feel we need to add hard goods back into what we sell.
Adding Hard Goods Back Into Our Mix
Over the years we have perfected our processes for selling clothing and we don’t want to lose that. We can buy, process, and list very quickly and have the storage space we need. So we are going to continue buying and selling used clothing at the same pace we are currently maintaining.
To add hard goods to the mix we are going to limit our purchases to kitchenware and dishes. We feel staying away from home decor and knick-knacks is probably best. We’re also going to stay from large platters and bowls, as well as things that weigh too much to ship. We purchased some of that stuff when we first started and we still have it sitting in storage bins.
I will cover our progress here on the blog just like I’m doing with the POD Etsy business. Our purpose for running this business is solely to pay our debt. We need to earn $1650 per month after expenses, taxes, and reinvestment for inventory. I worked that out to be $130 per day in sales or $3900 per month – let’s round it to sales of $4000 per month.
I won’t post our profit & loss statements, that’s just too much data. But, I will post a screenshot of our eBay 90-day sales number (2023 goal $12k) and the number of listings we have (2023 goal 1750). I honestly think there is a correlation between the number of listings you have and how many sales you get. The short-term goal for the end of March 2023, I want the eBay 90-day sales to be at least $7000 and listings to be 1200. That should be enough data to know if we are on track and making progress.
Stats as of 1/16/23: