Sell thrift and vintage clothes on eBay for extra college cash

Avg. Income Earned by Following this Post: $250/week

When I was in high school, I basically lived at the various thrift stores that were sprinkled about my hometown. This was right around the time when geek chic was coming into its own and it was important that I was riding the cusp of the wave. Seeing as I had already been frequenting thrift stores and garage sales religiously, it only made sense that I turn my recycled fashion sense into some form of money-generating venture. Enter eBay, the ultimate marketplace to sell just about anything and bring in scores of cash to purchase XBOX games and junk food, high heels and jewelry.

If you are looking to make a few hundred extra dollars every week by selling clothing on eBay, this post will show you how I was able to do just that. The only thing stopping you from making money, right now, is your willingness to put the bong/booze/Minecraft down, get off that couch, and channel your inner-Tim Gunn.

That’s fabulous!

What you will need:

  • An eBay seller account
  • A PayPal account
  • Moderate fashion sense
  • Shipping envelopes
  • A digital camera
  • Access to a computer and printer
  • A mannequin or friend in decent shape

How to find thrift stores?
Before you can actually start selling something on eBay, you’ve got to go hunting for those diamonds in the rough. So, first things first, let’s make a list of all the thrift stores in your area. A simple Google search for “thrift store” AND “(your zip code)” should provide you with a decent list to start with.

The majority of thrift stores have so much product being delivered on a weekly basis that they have to move it out quickly. Due to this fact, they will almost always have a weekly sale, right before a new shipment comes in. This sale is, typically, the same day every single week. Call all of the thrift stores on your list and find out what day they have their big sale. Most stores will offer 50-75% off the majority of their clothing stock on these days. Thus, these sale days are when you will want to do your shopping.

You should also ask about auctions. Many thrift stores hold a monthly auction to get rid of larger items in their inventory. You can find some real gems at these auctions for cheap. I once found an old record player and was able to purchase it for $10. I had it refurbished at a local music store for $35 and then sold it in a local eBay auction for $270! You can do the same, so figure out when those auctions are held and be there, front and center!

What you are looking for?
The type of clothing that you purchase will vary, depending on your fashion sense, but I had the best luck with clothing that a college male or female, age 18-24, might wear on a daily basis. Anything that screams vintage and cool, but an understated cool, always did well for me on eBay.

A lot of times, I would put together entire outfits (pants, layered shirts, accessories, etc) and sell the outfit as a set. If you have a good eye for fashion trends, you can make a ton of money simply by putting together trendy outfits. You would be amazed at the number of people who are just dying to find someone that will offer them an “off the rack” or “off the mannequin” experience. A lot of people are lacking fashion sense and they will pay you a premium to borrow yours.

Ultimately, you can place items on eBay, both as sets and individual pieces and see what works best for you. But, I got to the point where I was selling to the same people over and over again and so, I knew exactly the type of things they were looking for. If you have a good eye for fashion, you’ll find you will build a following rather quickly, as well.

How to sell your stuff?
Selling things on eBay is a relatively simple process and just like the eBay website states, “The most effective strategies are often the simplest.” If you head over to the eBay website, there is a great list of the Top Ten Tips for Selling on Ebay. Follow these simple but sometimes overlooked tips to attract more buyers and get the most cash for your stuff. Here, they will go over the following:

  • Finding out What It’s Worth
  • Getting Free Shipping Supplies
  • Starting Pricing Low with No Reserve
  • Including Reasonable Shipping Costs
  • Maximizing Your Item Title
  • Describing Your Item in Detail
  • Including Photos
  • Communicating with prospective buyers
  • Saving a trip to the Post Office
  • Telling your story

The Top Ten Tips for selling on eBay list is a great place to start, once you have your product in hand.

Photographing and listing your product
Photos are huge, especially when it comes to selling clothing online. Your best bet is going to be taking a photo of each item or outfit from multiple angles in good lighting with it actually on a person. Make sure you list the measurement for the clothing, but also for the person wearing the clothing in the photo. This gives a good frame of reference to the prospective buyer.

eBay will charge you some fees if you start listing too many photographs, so I always just purchase the minimum to get it to show up on the initial listing page and then upload the rest to Flickr or one of the other free photo-sharing sites. You can then embed these photos into the actual description of your product.

As you are building out the description page of your profile, you’ll probably want to go with a pre-designed template, unless you are familiar with HTML and other various designer’s tools. Don’t worry, there are plenty of free templates available online. Find one you like and follow the instructions to embed it into your ebay auction. Using a template will make your auction look much more professional and instill more confidence in potential buyers.

Finally, be courteous
Becoming a strong seller on eBay is a pretty common sense game. Answer any buyer questions on time. Set fair shipping prices. Ship on time. Etc, etc. If you have a good fashion eye, you should easily be able to make a few hundred extra dollars every week by just walking around a few thrift stores.

Most of the time you can find 5-10 vintage t-shirts per thrift store and purchase them for around $0.99 cents. Once you iron the shirts, put them on a model and dress them up to look super chic, you’ll be able to sell that shirt online for an average of $10-20 dollars, depending on how desirable the shirt is. That means that on average, you’re making, at least, $10.00 per shirt after eBay fees, shipping, etc. And if you sell only 10 shirts a week, that’s $100.00 a week for a very minimal amount of work! Start adding pants, accessories and shoes to the mix and you’ll find that your profit numbers increase exponentially.

Making money selling other things on eBay
Of course, you can sell anything on eBay, my experience has only been in selling clothes and a few other items that I picked up from thrift stores and garage sales. But, there are hundreds and thousands of people that are making a thousand or more dollars a week and sometimes a day, selling various items on eBay. If you’re serious about turning eBay into a huge stream of income, then you might consider Googling courses that will teach you things like drop-shipping (which is a way of selling items on eBay, where someone else ships them for you). Like I said, many people are making thousands of dollars every week with techniques like drop-shipping, but you can make a few hundred a week by doing what I did, above, or just selling things lying around your dorm room or house.

You might also consider going around your dorm or neighborhood and offering to sell things for people and then charging a commission. The ways to make money on eBay are endless, so as usual, sort out  get creative and start making money today!

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