A Sourcing Mission November

For the last couple of months, I have been taking one day a month using annual leave from the day job to focus solely on my side hustle.

What I do with this day varies depending a lot on how I am feeling, the only certain rule is that it must relate to growing my side hustle. For example the first day off I spent the whole day listing items. This month I decided to dedicate an entire day of thrifting to see what treasures I could find, and to be honest this is much more fun than listing items all day!

The Plan

Budget: $160 Approximately.
Time: 8am to 5pm. (Limited to opening hours)
Number Of Stops: 11 Total Completed.
#Items Purchased: 45 Approximately.

Rough COGS: $160 / 45 Items = $3.56 Per Item.

Estimated Resale Value (excluding fees) = $1000

Route Planning

So here on the West Coast, it has, in my opinion, become a lot harder to find items for reselling. The Thrift Shops and Op shops are now attempting to do research on items. I say attempting as they still are getting it horribly wrong in most cases by not using sold and completed listings. Anyway, factoring this I decided to start my day at the furthermost place away and work backward towards my house. I have a southern route that I often follow but starting further out would add another 3 stops to the day.
I posited that a little further out of the metro area the prices were likely going to be better and indeed I was rewarded on the very first stop at a tiny little church Op Shop that had very reasonable prices. I was able to find several quality items of clothing, a couple of quality ties and a great belt buckle.

I spent a bit of time the night before checking opening times to find the most efficient route between each location, minimising driving time and therefore maximising sourcing time.

Negotiate On Price

It goes without saying that the highest potential money is made when you buy. Overpaying leads to a number of potential issues:

  • Risk of not making any money, very little money or even a loss. Remember to include calculations of fees and shipping.
  • Your capital is tied up for extended periods while you try to get a decent profit from your item.
  • The room to move on incoming offers is reduced.

I made a point of asking for discounts when I found an item I thought was promising but that the shop had priced at an unattractive level.

If you don’t ask you don’t get – ever.

Be polite, expect rejection, and be very grateful when someone does agree to a discount.

The mindset I often take is, if I can buy this item at this price then great I will take it, if I cannot get the price I want then I don’t buy it. Having this mindset straight up makes it a lot easier to ask, for example:

I kind of like this INSERT ITEM HERE but I only really want to pay $X. Is there any room to move on the price?

Just to be clear also, don’t be that guy/girl who ‘lowballs’ to extreme levels, for example, asking to buy a marked $20 item for $2. It probably won’t end the way you want it to and you will just end up pissing people off, not good if you will be frequenting the same shops.

Building up relationships is extremely beneficial over the long term. 

I went 2 / 2 on price negotiating for the day so I was pretty happy with that. Note: I had already purchased a lot of other items at the locations where I asked so this might have meant significantly improved my odds of a positive outcome.

The first time was an old-school vintage Casio watch I knew I could sell but not at the price that was on it. It also had a few scratches on the face I pointed out.

The second was a tie of all things that I liked but for some reason, the shop I was in had $8 on it? *Most of the ties in other shops locally sell between $1 and $4*

Take Your Time

I was standing in line behind two other people at a Salvos store. I had nothing to do but wait as my hands were full holding items, no phone access was practicable.

With nothing to do, I began scanning the shelves to see if I might have missed anything. As luck would have it, I had. In the distance to my left, I spied a Furby sitting on the shelf nestled amongst several other plushes and toys. I had previously found another Furby in the wild and, as such, knew that it should sell for around $30. I left my place in the line and was rewarded with a nice condition Furby of $4. That’s almost $20 profit for a few minutes work (includes listing and shipping time), not bad at all.

This principle applies everywhere whilst sourcing, another recent time I went to a local market where people sell second-hand goods and there are also stall holders selling craft items. After my first loop, I was feeling like I had wasted my time. Yet the second time I found a nice belt buckle that should turn $10 into $40 and the third loop I found a game to turn $20 into $40. It is so very easy to miss things as your brain is trying to take in a huge amount of information as you scan across hundreds of items in quick succession. Walking around again, even taking a different route will offer a fresh perspective and fresh opportunities.


The Results Breakdown

The November Haul

So, in summary, I was happy with how the day played out. I managed to acquire about 45 items which should have a resale value approaching $1000. Closer inspection of the above photo will reveal some definite themes running through the items I have sourced.

Ties: I went a bit tie crazy on this mission, mainly because I came across a lot of them and I have only recently added them to my list of items I resell. The only rules I really follow are that each tie needs to be good quality and also have a distinctive theme that will help sell them, for example, horses will likely sell very well when coming up to the Spring Carnival racing season here in Australia.

Board Games: I am very selective when it comes to board games. I only either buy brand new sealed games, which surprisingly are actually quite common or rare games in good condition. In the photo is a limited hand painted Marvel Super Heroes Chess Set And should see $8 into $100 eventually. The other is a vintage scrabble game. I actually don’t resell the whole scrabble game, only the tiles to crafty people who use them.

Belts and Belt Buckles: This is a fairly new category for me also. At the moment I only buy leather belts (genuine leather) and also belt buckles if I can find good selling subject matter. Current examples include, A V Twin Eagle, American Flag / Statue Of Liberty / Eagle, San Francisco 49ers Buckle 1994, RM Williams Belt and Buckle. I really like these as obviously these are physical goods, they are small as well taking up minimal storage space and offer some good returns.

Hats and Caps: I am super selective with hats and caps mainly as they can take quite a while to sell. I really will only buy one if its super rare or unique. Examples include inaugural racing event caps, genuine leather cowboy hats, limited edition hats for special events.


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