The use of Crypto for insane ROI is the real meat of this sandwich if you will (I’m hungry which is why that’s ended up there).
The volatility of the crypto market is second to none, hundreds and thousands of % pumps often followed by 95% crashes. Its certainly not for the faint of heart and it goes without saying:
This is not financial advice, do your own research and due diligence and only invest what you can afford to lose.
In fact I would go as far to say if you invest in crypto at the moment from an emotional point of view, assume its going to $0, zero, zilch, nothing.
But…. if it doesn’t (and the technologies here to stay in my opinion) you are witness to the birth of a new Macro trend friend.
Just like I thought the same thing about lithium back in 2015/16 (and still do with that running for many years) its very early in this trends adoption or even value relating to actual utility.
I didn’t reap the rewards of my early lithium insights until 5 years later.
How early in Crypto?
Well I once heard a fantastic metaphor which aptly describes this. Imagine you are one of the sheep. One day you get separated from the flock and end up going over a rocky mountain path which winds down and opens out onto a magnificent meadow. This meadow is lush with grass and basically an all you can eat buffet. There is a small catch though, there are leopards which roam nearby and there is a chance you will get eaten, especially alone.
There’s the rub, your early so you can experience those astronomical life changing gains (eating all the fresh grass you can) but also experience death (loss of capital) from getting eaten by the Leopard (rug pulls, investing in shitcoins).
Had the whole flock arrived at once all of the grass would have quickly been consumed but here you are able to eat to your 4 part stomachs desire.
In my opinion, right now, there’s 3 or 4 sheep in the flock grazing, the rest haven’t arrived yet, but they will in due time.
I can count on fingers still how many people I know physically outside web3 (whole different story that one) who actually own crypto. How about you?
How early then really?
The answer is I am not entirely sure.
You will note that there’s currently no timeframe on my goal and that’s partly because its tied to this market.
You see Cryptos in a bear market right now and there’s potential for the stock market to go either way in the near future still.
The Crypto market can still go down from here.
So why am I writing about this at this moment? Well during times of max fear and pain it is concurrently the time of most opportunity. The issue is emotions get in the way and buying things after they have already dropped 90% might seem like a good idea but if it drops another 50% can you handle that? Its hard to buy during these times. Everything’s negative, news, social media.
So its tough most definitely but the risk is skewed asymmetrically at the moment on a long term basis with maybe 50% more downside but hundreds of % upside.
Remember the market is also forward looking and by the time the narrative changes and becomes positive you would have already missed a significant move up.
So for now I continue to chip away each week using dollar cost averaging.
Alright, so what am I buying with my book proceeds?
Primarily: Casper $CSPR
The Casper Network is a decentralized layer one Proof-of-Stake blockchain built off the Casper CBC specification. Casper is designed to accelerate enterprise and developer adoption of blockchain technology today and evolve to meet the needs of the future. (From: https://casper.network/en-us/)
Why am I buying it?
Open architecture make it easy for developers to build on it using languages already familiar with.
Upgradeable smart contracts.
Below / On Key Technical Chart Levels (at time of writing).
Hosting as Davos means relationship building opportunities with many billionaires.
Secondary: Hbar $Hbar
The Hedera proof-of-stake public network, powered by hashgraph consensus, achieves the highest-grade of security possible (ABFT), with blazing-fast transaction speeds and incredibly low bandwidth consumption. By combining high-throughput, low fees, and finality in seconds, Hedera leads the way for the future of public ledgers. (From: https://hedera.com/)
Why am I buying it?
Has a governing Council made up of huge companies from around the world.
Multiple Use Cases.
Below Key Technical Chart Levels (at time of writing).
My first purchases have been completed into Casper using proceeds from book sales thus far around 4.5c USD.
Fingers crossed I can quickly sell the rest of these books before things really take off.
Use the links above to go and check out each project.
In my opinion buying now and then doing nothing for a few years will get this done and pay off my student loan.
Again not financial advice, just a reseller on the internet having a crack.
I am endeavoring to turn $50 into $50K to pay off my student loan and have some change.
A combination of reselling luck, hard work, research, more luck with a macro trend and an execution plan.
Part 1: The Setup:
To kick the journey off I used my reselling skills and $50.
The other day I got lucky. Really lucky.
In my current reseller career which now spans a few years (more than 6 on a regular part time basis) I count count on one hand the times when a similar event has happened.
This ROI is astronomical and will be critical to setup Part 2.
On a Tuesday afternoon I happened to call into an Op Shop on route to the storage unit. I arrived just before the close and struck up a conversation with some staff, friendly banter. I was offered a large selection of about 40 books for the princely sum of $25 were all from the same set. I didn’t even bother to check prices as I knew selling only a couple would recoup my cost. To make things even better they were desirable which can sometimes be tough in the world of selling books. Having that X factor can really get that sell through rate way up.
Anyway, the following day I ventured back with the Mrs. at the same time of day on the off chance that the rest of the set had been located. As luck would had it it had and the staff had only just finished putting them all out this time with $5 each. I asked if I could have the balance again for $25 effectively creating a full set and succeeded!
I now had just over 80 books for $50. Over the next 2 nights I hustled late into the night after work and the gremlins were asleep (before midnight) to get these up and listed for $35 each. Yep you read that right, $35 each.
Quick math: 80 x$35 = $2800 which is an ROI of 5500%. Not bad. This figures gross obviously.
I’m not that greedy though and wanted to really move these on. It wasn’t long before offers starting to roll in for several of these books @ $20 a piece. Even at $18 a piece profit (after factoring fees and accrual for shipping across bulk buys) that still works out to be somewhere in the vicinity of: 80 x 18 = $1440 or a lazy 2780% net profit.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and what’s happening to the $1440.
What a solid month. Remember when you read this that I’m part time and we have a 12 week old bubba also!
This month I have added the net profit figure per hour so I can track how this is trending. The only goal here is to beat my the hourly rate from my day job. On a net basis of both then this figure does.
I hit the combined cash flow goal of $1000 for the month which I’m pretty happy about being less days in February.
On a time basis spent January and February ended up being almost identical. The only thing here that is evident is more time listing is required and less time sourcing!
This month was supposed to be a lean sourcing month. I even joined a separate Facebook group for Sourcing Ban Support. Even so I spent 8 hours actually out sourcing and $224 total.
Any time spent here directly affects my equivalent hourly rate and yes of course sourcing is required but not when I still have hundreds of items that need listing!!!
Still, I made the most of what I did do.
Again my favourite Op Shop delivered the goods which a large clothing haul and a stack of books for the princely sum of $10. If only multiples of this shop existed.
I finally used up one of my
xmas presents (A 50% off coupon for Good Sammys). I had actually gone there to
drop off some baby clothes for donation and ended up picking up a few rugby
related items and some shoes. Saved $39 on face value (shoes were a little
overpriced). Should be able to recoup $180 pretty easily.
This got me thinking, a trip to
some of the other larger stores will be a good idea on one of those up coming
Had a couple of lunch time
loot stops that were quite successful. Visited a Salvos for the first time that
I had driven past hundreds of times and never stopped. As soon as I walked into
this one I was disappointed, this store was huge but had the boutique feel straight
away. I knew pickings would be slim. Sure enough found a pair of Levis and they
were asking $17…, on another (fake) pair the same, I shook my head.
But at the back of the store on the book shelf was a huge stack of Star Trek books and they were only asking $1 each which is a good deal. There were a couple of larger ones which were $3 each. There were 30 books in total and I negotiated to $30 for all saving the princely sum of $5.
One of the reasons I love this business so much is that it is possible to massively over time upgrade your life. Take the below example whilst cruising the Salvos isles one day. A Fat Max Toolbox for $7. I had been looking for a decent toolbox for a while.
And the equivalent listing on eBay:
A nice little saving of probably at least $50.
Another example, some time ago I took off a light fixture in the Garage. One Friday night I got motivated to clean up the garage and the absence of this fixture made it to my Hot List (read To Do List). Whilst out sourcing everywhere I went I looked for one of these fixtures to replace it. Eventually I found one new in a box at a Vinnies clearance outlet. Total cost $2.
I also scored some white Vans which were dirty for $7 and cleaned them up. Saving the equivalent of around $50. More on those further below.
I my favourite find of the month was the below book from the tip shop. I’m always on the lookout for discarded comics, even totally damaged ones as I use them as christmas and birthday wrapping for my family presents. Something a bit different. I came across this book and originally thought someone had simply pulled out all the comic strips from the book but its actually hundreds of pages of newspaper cut outs which have been painstakingly glued in to this collation. Theres not really any monetary value here at all but I can truly appreciate the amount of time that it took to create this book and am glad that it didn’t just get added to landfill. Eventually these comics will form wrapping paper and the comics will again be read once more, life extended.
Huge listing start for Feb with a 34 day list inn only a couple of hours – A new PB.
Then listing tapered off a lot in the days following. I was getting towards the end of my stockpiled listing photo bank with approx. 55 remaining.
Subcontractor used to process some further clothing finds from January Providing another 25ish (at a cost which will be captured in March).
Had plenty of small finds that need photographing from the January sourcing missions which I got to one Sunday afternoon later in the month.
Found a block of time on the 12th (a scheduled day off) to get some more listings done and then in the last couple of days I had a huge push on the back of a Facebook group challenge ending up listing 100 for the week.
Combined I smashed my goal of average 3 listings per day and even surpassed the stretch goal of 5 per day average. Lets hope this surge pushes into March sales.
The Return Of The 3 Day Weekends
As I was doing pre-bubba I need to schedule some 3 day weekends to get more items listed! (Which I have now since scheduled throughout the year).
Aside from scheduled public holidays I have booked 8 days, to make 8 x 3 day weekends which still leaves another 12 days free for holidays 😉 on top of the stash that I already have.
There are 2 of these days available to me in March (including scheduled public holiday)
Further Listing Optimising
I spent some time optimising and revising listings to meet seller standards of Top Rated Seller Plus. I had just over 600 listings which weren’t meeting the Plus standard and I modified these to reflect Free shipping, 1 day handling, 30 day returns and an additional express shipping option.
By having all of these
conditions met these items experience a boost in search / best match.
I also made a point to fix a few older items had some errors relating to auto accept / decline values for offers (as I had moved the price down). I would think any error on a listing like that would probably not make it show in search.
A few others had calculated postage and / or pricing errors (mainly relating to shipping) which I amended. Items such as DVDs and games had the shipping as $13.80 satchels which is a legacy dollar figure, I’m not sure how that has actually occurred. Anyway, these listings were NEVER going to sell the way they were so this exercise was definitely productive.
Of course there are the item specifics that require fixing as well but I chipped away at those and now are down to a measly 22 on lower value items (made sure to sort all the higher value items as a priority). The upcoming March Item Specifics update which I will then need to amend another 60 odd according to the app.
Welcome To The Shoe Game
I finally began cleaning some of the shoes I have had lying around for ages. I’ve been putting this off for a while, I think in part, as I’m not 100% sure on what cleaning products work the best and have a real fear of damaging product. This is of course stupid. The ones I have previously picked up are all higher value items, its insane that I have left them so long.
Case in point though, I found some white vans out one day which were dirty for $7 that I thought could be cleaned up.
I attempted to clean and turned one shoe pink… This then resulted in having to find a way to bleach. The end result worked out well but this kind of highlighted why I have shied away from shoes initially.
February has been a solid month, improving against January 2020 and also against up 110.1% against February 2019, cant argue with that performance.
At one point my effective hourly rate was running at $80 per hour before dropping off as sourcing and listing time made their respective impacts.
This month I have added the sell through rate to record this trend. The initial result of around 7% is a little lower than others that sell similar (from a previous post this sits 10%) but I’m guessing my prices are a little more elevated also. None the less will be good it I can get this figure.
The first 10 days of February
were amazing in comparison with January, after just this short amount of time
sales were already at 66% of Januarys overall total with almost 3 weeks to go!
A couple of notes here:
I started being a little less
greedy for offers coming in. If I was making at least $15-$20 I was taking them
even if I might have got another $5-10 by holding out.
Spent a little bit of time
sending offers out this month on a couple of occasions which generated one
direct sale and one other sale which ended up being full price but to another
buyer the next day. Coincidence? Maybe but I’m thinking the activity might have
helped boost the item in search.
The Top Rated Seller Plus and
other item tweaks must have helped a lot. Case in point a $50 T-Shirt which had
sat for ages sold a day later after removing the postage charge and adding an
express shipping option.
This month I sold a jumper to a buyer who was quite time heavy with message interactions. This was a relatively new buyer who preferred making payments via bank transfers, fine by me. This buyer actually made the comment that another seller had refused to provide bank account details for a $20 Tshirt to which I replied please feel free to have a look around my store for anything else that may be of interest. Result, another $35 sale and no additional shipping cost as both fit in one small satchel. Customer service matters.
I had one return of some ink
which was sold with a dyslexic title. I swear this killed my sales for the next
few days. I had been happily ticking along averaging over $100 sales every day
and then boom crickets for 2 days following the return request.
Then just when I was getting that sorted with issuing the refund boom another one for an item does not fit. That ones all good as buyer pays return shipping BUT I cant help but think it’s the same issue, if you have a return open it seems like you get punished. I saw a few other resellers on Instagram this month saying the same thing. Conspiracy theory perhaps but there does appear to be some truth to it. Indeed after this new return request came in, guess what, 0 sales for that day…
Other Business Improvements
This month I put a Facebook Marketplace post and a Gumtree post asking for free Bubblewrap. I spent a bit of time crafting the message. Amazingly a lady contacted me the very next day and said she had a box available. The amazing part was that a third person who had gone to this lady’s house to buy packing boxes actually mentioned my ad. So second hand information.
Anyway the box was huge and I shouldn’t need bubble wrap for a good long time. I’m still looking for a more regular source though so ill leave the ads up for now and see if anything else comes of it.
I have been looking for
consistent ways to achieve a daily edge, whether that be for work or general
This was a new one for me but recommended by a friend. I brought some Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee mix. Tastes like coffee he says but gives you a “zing” (his words) without the jitters commonly incurred with excess caffeine consumption. I know I drink too much coffee, but I need something to keep me awake operating on reduced sleep with the new bubba.
The reviews on Google and Amazon were very favourable.
My own experience was reflective of what others have experienced. My thoughts became clear and focused and I found I was even able to effectively concentrate with multiple distractions going on all around, for example people talking really loudly in the office.
I even had a cup 20 minutes before I was due to go up and speak in front of 60+ people (that I wouldn’t recommend as I found myself wanting to actually calm down a little bit) but the speech turned out great in part I’m sure thanks to this coffee.
Definitely worth giving a go if your looking for an edge. Grab yourself some here.
Personally I am considering adding my own thought notations on each page with the year. Then adding to it each year.
The Keto diet continues in Feb combined with some bouts of intermittent fasting. I briefly touched 86.13 kgs (189.9lbs) and am currently hovering around 86.63 kg. This is almost 50% of my goal acheieved after just 2 months of 2020.
Had first carb refeed on a night out mid month. All white rices combined with some Katsu chicken. Interestingly I lost more weight in the day following this when I switched back into ketosis by fasting again until lunchtime. Perhaps a good way to break the plateau.
The second was at the end of the month with some stodgy Chinese food. This left me feeling like I had eaten cement and again interestingly I had some negative thoughts from the past return not long after consumption. I’m not sure if this was guilt or perceived guilt or somehow the hyper dose of carbs affecting things? The next day another fast till after lunch and feeling much better again. I like the new Keto normal.
Keto Keto Keto
Received another new book again (also for my Birthday). Looking forward to trying out some recipes (especially the one for Almond Bread). Keto is how I have knocked 10kg off in 2 months.
This book is a true monster.
I’m listening to the Audiobook version and its 42 hours long! That’s more than 4x the standard long form Audiobook.
So far I have been impressed with the content (4 hours in). If you want improve multiple aspects of your life, then this is a great blueprint to use to start with.
As I touched on in last months summary health is a huge factor in overall quality of life as well as directly impacting financial resource requirements with correlations to age.
By spending some more up front now I hope to improve overall quality of life right now and save a huge amount of money over the long term.
I don’t see this as anything other than a win win.
Vitamin C – Immunity Support And Reduce Length Of Common Colds.
Yes there are a few there! In reality the upfront expense really isn’t that bad. Just adjust spending from somewhere else to accommodate.
Exercise plans for the month were hit and miss.
I continued with the daily 100 pushups for most of the month but had trouble integrating the additional burpees. I think at least for a week I was fighting off another sinus infection so I made a conscious decision to ease off a bit. I did not want a relapse of the 3 month sinus infection saga from 2019 which required antibiotics intervention.
March needs to be better from an exercise point of view, back to the daily 100 pushups and try again to reintegrate the daily 10 burpees.
Continue listing and get those troublesome items listed (namely heaps of cameras and some old posters that I have multiples on).
Continue with other reselling secondary projects. Details still to come later.
It may seem somewhat counter intuitive but this year I want to slow the growth down a little bit to spend more time focusing on my newly expanded family with the addition of a little one just recently.
Growth for the sake of growth is not necessarily directly correlated with increased sales, profit or happiness, it took me 20 odd years to realise that time is just time, and much more valuable than money.
My own growth this past year whilst not exponential has been pretty steady and I’ve gone from only around 100 listings at the end of 2018 to almost 1000 at the end of 2019.
Rapid growth can also have some other problems particularly relating to cash flow. Some good examples are companies that grow too big to fast without implementing the systems required to effectively achieve sustained growth along with the cash flow required to support it. This growth explosion can often come at the expense of the company with resources stretched too thin or decisions made on anticipation of business contracts which fail to come to fruition. Chaotic growth can cause business failure, particularly with small and medium sized.
I felt this year I have done a reasonable job of managing cash flow with only 2 months of the year being negative due to inventory purchasing, and only slightly so. There’s also been a fair amount of infrastructure been acquired. Items like thermal printers and rolls, post office box, a second phone number, accounting consultation fees, tubs – many many tubs, bulk purchases of satchels to save on cost per item but there’s still a cost up front. All of these things add up probably towards $1000 I would think. In 2020 there will be far less of these which will improve net profit. That saving alone is the equivalent of 2 extra house payments.
Sales this year have been up and down but definitely improving each month. Cash flow has been the same (up and down) and I have spent very heavily on inventory at times, so much so that it might actually be possible to hit my upcoming listing targets for 2020 without even sourcing for half a year (or more).
That’s how big my money pile of unlisted items currently is.
There’s hundreds of items ready to be listed and sold. Just gotta do the work.
If your reading this it may seem like madness to have that much stock, you gotta list things to get paid, your leaving money on the table and all that jazz and yet, this is only partially true.
Maybe you even think it is just laziness, procrastination, hoarding or a combination of all three.
Nope, none of the above.
You see, I had always planned this to occur at this point in time like I had before, when I first started reselling, to have a huge cache to fall back on. On this occasion however it’s all about the upcoming time availability and not the money. I am literally not going to have the time with my family commitments to get much physical sourcing done over the year and honestly of course I would rather spend time with my beautiful wife and daughter.
There will still be the odd sneaky look here and there naturally, I’m only human after all! I am lucky to have 2 locals op shops that can provide cheap quality stock when I need less than a 5 minute drive away. I can also work in some lunch time loot missions during work hours when convenient.
The other interesting point to make here is that because of this upfront effort in sourcing so much in 2019 leading up to the birth I anticipate that actual net profit for 2020 is likely going to double or more.
This is due to the available time I will allocate to reselling being focused on listing instead of sourcing, the flow on effect of this change is minimal inventory expense. In 2019 I have maybe had the ratio of time utilisation at 70% / 30% in favour of sourcing. 2020 will see the inverse of this with sourcing dropping to 30% or less of my time available .
I’ve learnt a lot during this past year and tweaked things as I’ve gone on the fly. I’ve tried new niches and ideas and gotten some things right and others wrong. I do learn best from mistakes and this business is very forgiving initially with low cost of entry to play the game.
By stepping back a little bit in 2020 I think I can get further useful systems implemented, tested and reviewed to make even more effective use of my limited time. I am a pattern person by nature and have a real passion for process improvements, indeed my university degree focused on just this, information systems. Even in my own little reselling world I have identified several areas I can already improve upon in 2020.
My mission statement for this year:
Clean Up Time Leakage
Conduct Efficient Sourcing
Always Put In The Work
What is the figure that I need to hit each day? Really it should equal either the steady-state turnover of the store or sustained slow listing growth.
Being that I’m still just under 1000 listings and paying for 1500 with the store it makes sense to try and get to this max number quickly and then scaleback if required.
I sell on average between 2-3 items per day (when listing consistently). Therefore I need as a minimum to list this amount per day to keep a steady level, ideally sitting right on max free listings if possible. So extrapolated out that’s 1100 listings for the entire year just to spin the wheel.
Really I need to bump this up to 5 per day minimum which equates to 1825 for the year to get some low solid growth.
The initial plan is to set the minimum target each day of 5 listings and then anything above that can either be added to the target of 1500 to get there a bit quicker or scheduled for future days to ensure that new items are getting listed each day to satiate the mysterious eBay algorithm.
Branching out into other platforms needs to become a priority this year also, I have seen too many posts lately about how a couple of small isolated incidents have canned peoples eBay accounts. This is not just isolated to eBay either with Etsy also setting some ridiculous service metrics to be abided by or face suspension potentially triggered by only a couple of misdemeanors.
These platforms also have to look after the sellers or they will go elsewhere.
My competitive advantage vs peers relates to my speed of listing using technology shortcuts including auto complete, templates and use of additional software such as auto hot key to semi-automate listing.
It makes sense that I spend more time cross posting to Etsy, Facebook marketplace and Depop. Indeed I already have Etsy and Facebook Marketplace scripts competed so I can quickly build a listing and replicate it across multiple platforms.
There are other pieces of software such as List Perfectly which can assist with some elements of cross posting but of course they come with a pricetag and limitations tied to price tiers. I get more or less the same functionality as some of these software packages for free as well as other aspects such as the hot strings and other scripts that can help. Still it may be worth a trial of this (or others) service to give some insights on potential improvements to my own script functionality.
Halfway through the year I realised I could shave a few seconds of the way the existing script was operating at the time and I calculated this equated to an extra two listings per hour which doesn’t seem like a lot but when you’re spending hours upon hours listing things it really matters to the bottom line. It’s the equivalent of an extra $20 an hour (assumes $10 per item net profit). That’s $7280 over the year.
Another example from 2019 was setting up startup launchers which make getting into the listing frame of mind easier by removing that initial friction. For example my computer takes only seconds to turn on and get to the desktop thanks to the SSD. I can then double click the auto hot key script then use a single shortcut combination to open all the browser windows and folders I need to get listing instantly.
My current launching script opens instantly and logs into:
EBay template page
Sizely template page
Australia Post business account page
Working folder containing photos
There’s a theory you may or may not have heard of called Peratos Principle which says: 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts.
The most common examples I have seen used for this principle relate to business customers. By focusing on your best customers whilst simultaneously culling your least valuable (in time commitments or problems for example) you can markedly improve your business results.
This same principle can be applied to reselling. I have been to a huge number of different Op shops over Perth city in 2019. It became apparent that a select few tended to yield either better high value items on occasion or were consistently better priced than others.
So you can probably guess where this is heading. By focusing on just these high yielding shops in 2020 I can dramatically reduce my physical sourcing time whilst still maintaining good returns.
It makes total sense for procurement to be completed without leaving the house.
In 2019 I set up search shoves automated using Auto Hot Key. The script when triggered automatically searches Facebook, Gumtree etc using predetermined search strings running all queries instantly. This all allows quick survey of relevant results without wasting time with the inputs.
2020 will also be more of the same but expanded upon to capture more specific niches and key words. I will also be adding some additional text expansion to assist with procurement questions.
The other addition for this year will be online auctions. I will be very selective with what I pick up but it is an option.
Garage Sale Sourcing
I will potentially check out convenient local sales if driving by.
I will however complete both days of the garage sale trail coming up in 2020. 2019 was a great example of what could be achievable when routes can be planned with efficiency. I only did the one day in 2019 and came away with a full ute load for minimal cost.
Another aspect I will explore will be sales leads by networking with op shop‘s and other previous contacts made. This was originally the reason I wanted to get business cards made up so I could get some deals coming to me. Over the last year and a half I have gotten to know quite a few people who work at some of the op shop‘s including managers and some know that I am a reseller and some may correctly assume. I’m still a little bit undecided whether I will make this known at the op shops I intend to frequent for the year but this will be very relevant for ones that I may happen to pass by for example during a lunch break on a work day in a suburb that I wouldn’t usually go to. I can certainly see less harm or risk coming from doing this this way. I’ll add a side note here that I have set up a separate Skype number that relates just to the reselling business, and this way I can still use my own phone and the number will go to it.
Patterns Identified In 2019
It became apparent over the course of the year that I was running out of space in the room I was operating out of.
I spent up big when the stock was there, but found myself begin to forgo larger items due to space issues.
It got so bad that I was literally stepping over stock to even get to my computer or exit the room. This of course also meant that when I had to find something to ship I knew what tub it was in thanks to the SKU system but I still had to move a whole bunch of items including unlisted stock also in tubs to get to it which is hugely inefficient.
I felt physically pained when having to do this and having to continually move multiple tubs to access one costs precious time. Every time I faced this problem it wasn’t a huge time sink in isolation but the cumulative easily aggregated into at least a couple of hours of dead time. Dead time is the devil to be vanquished.
Some plans for 2020 include:
Transition more items into the shed. I can still fit another few tubs here.
Install a new racking system outside that I can put tubs on. I’m thinking of using this as my death pile/money pile to give me a visual reminder of what needs to be listed and also stop me from more sourcing until this is done.
Implement regular consolidation of existing tubs to maximise tub usage and therefore overall physical inventory footprint. This can be easily done visually, consolidated then the SKU updated. I’ve been toying with a digitised way to manage this but more on this another day.
Another process I identified during the year that needs tweaking was improving my packing processes. This thought mainly revolved around the efficiency of getting items picked and packed to just be better organised with where required tools and equipment are located and how work spaces are set up. I cannot convey how frustrated I have been sometimes when looking for a pair of scissors that have been misplaced by someone and not returned. This results in walking around the house trying to find where the scissors are and failing that trying to find an alternate pair, as crazy as it sounds I’ve probably spent over two hours this year just gone looking for some combination of scissors, tape, boxes, eBay tape, dymo labels, measuring tape, etc…
The fix, well a few fixes actually:
Wall mount some hangers where the common tools will hang. Like the back of the door.
Create a secondary emergency caddy as a backup.
Ensure that point 1 is remedied ASAP should items become missing.
Pre Printing Thank You Labels. As it sounds, simply have these printed from the Dymo ahead of time.
Of course being better organised also has the benefit of identifying earlier when stock levels are running low on consumables. An example is bubblewrap which can be brought in multiple places nearby but usually at a higher cost along with the required time value to go and pick it up so it makes sense to better plan ahead this year and order early.
Another goal for the coming years to see if I can source a cheap supply of bubble wrap and other packing materials. I have seen some previous posts on some of the reselling groups which may have some good leads on this, for example places which carry a lot of parts, car service centres, bike shops, etc…. may have excess materials that can be sourced for free or minimal cost. Anything that can be found in this matter will be a direct cost savings to the cost of goods sold.
The rehoming items often second hand is great. I love the idea of rescuing items that might otherwise become trash. Even more so that I can get paid to do it. The packaging of these items to get them to where they need to go does however create a lot of plastic waste.
So I’ve been researching how I can improve this aspect of my business.
There are compostable bags, etc that can be used and even bubble wrap.
More research is required but I will be making this a priority this year to get some some (if not all) of these implemented. Looking to create a sustainable business.
More on this soon.
At the moment I am just one man band on a part time schedule with the reselling due to full-time work commitments. I am a little envious of other reselling couples who it is obvious to see have some synergies in their work processes and practices to get things done. This coming year I would like to get some extra help with the business. I already started in 2019 to outsource some of the photos for clothes and other items which has already helped a lot but this is still a cost as I am paying a sub contractor to do this.
If only I could convince my wife that this could be a viable alternative to traditional work which would still allow her to stay home and look after our baby girl….
So she doesn’t know it yet and she probably won’t read this post either but I’m going to try and get her involved this year in someway, likely taking photos to start with for easy items such as media, books etc and then go from there. I guess the other thing that would probably help me a lot would be the odd trip to the post office or even helping with shipping.
Indeed this is part of my own five year plan to grow this business enough, to a point where perhaps she could go back to work full time and I could stay at home do the school drop off‘s etc and fit all the reselling in between a school day. That right there is the end game.
Health And Wellbeing
This one is pretty straightforward.
Whilst working away doing FIFO I was a nice trim 80 odd kilos doing double boot camps and eating whatever I wanted to. Fast forward to the job back in the city which has been predominantly desk bound for the most part combined with minimal exercise and a couple of really nasty flus this season has left me overweight and extremely unfit a combination not experienced since the early 2000’s when I used to smoke and drink too much combating undiagnosed depression at the time.
Now I have some extra motivation to get this area of life in order as within a year I will be chasing my little one around!
The remedy to repair the damage is:
Just as I need to make time for my own business as in the reselling I also need to make time for my own health each and every day to work out a balance that works for myself and the family. Easier said than done but I’ve already started.
Collaboration and Innovation
So there’s a couple of collaboration projects I will be working on this coming year, details are sketchy at the moment.
I also have some meetups with fellow Resellers planned, the first of which will be late January.
I’m planning to get more YouTube content created as well but yet to see where I can fit this in just yet.
As far as innovation goes high on my priority list is creating some google forms which can function as registers of sourcing, returns completed, inventory consumables purchased etc… the point of setting this up is to make tax time far simpler. A google form can be easily used on mobile and can make that record keeping that little bit easier.
2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year. Although the only metric I have locked down is the 5 listings a day I have a feeling that even my turtle growth plan is going to reap excellent results.
July was a steady month that had significant deviation from the norm with a huge reduction in inventory purchasing as part of “No Buy July” and some severe time restrictions.
I took part in the listing challenge that @2aussiethrifters laid down at the end of June and this helped keep listing somewhat consistent each week and briefly pushed through 800 listings. This was made much easier by limiting sourcing and I was so close to completing the whole month without doing any whatsoever. I came unstuck in the final days when visiting a couple of Op Shops to find baby related items (for the impending little one). My reseller brain took over and I could not help but see items that I knew would easily make money, so much so that all of the baby items being purchased would easily be free. The resellers curse at it again.
And yet, even with the above minor purchasing slip up (if I can call it that, I had a massive score detailed down below) this months results still managed to top last months resulting in a new record profit of $1765.45 and positive cash-flow for the month of $1605.45.
I spent a large chunk of time this month completing and submitting my tax return including getting some further advice from the accountant which will set up this coming year to enable next years return to be completed much more efficiently.
“No Buy” July was excellent, I got a bunch of old stock listed that had been sitting around and I found myself heading home after the day job and be pumped to get some listings up. Going straight home also allowed some extra time to take quality pictures while there was still some decent light in the afternoon.
Like I said earlier I did break my rule but I had a solid reason. Later in the month I had a fantastic day which just kept getting better so I just rolled with it. To kick it off I was rewarded with a $200 voucher from work for good work performance which was a nice surprise. After work I decided that I had therefore qualified to end my “No Buy” July early (I have heeeeaps of stuff still to list…) and call past a couple of op shop’s on the way home.
The first one was a nonevent with a couple of generic bread-and-butter items. The second however I managed to find, finally, something that I was really stoked with. I came across a whole clothes basket full of posters. They caught my eye because one had been unrolled and glued to the window displaying a fantasy style scene. I check listings and solds on eBay and there’s quite a variance but they should fetch at least 10 each and they are all part of a set so would be able to sell in groups also. Anyway, the sticker prices were a mess and there were so many different ones (stickers) I could not actually tell what they wanted for each one. The basket had $4 on it in several places, the posters themselves have 3 different prices $8, $25 and $20 (this one being the original price). They were all from the 1970s and I guesstimated there were about 50 in total. Anyway, I ask what the price was to a near by clerk and he didn’t know, goes and gets his manager and asks. She comes back and says $2 each and I was like “Ok, what if I I was to buy the whole lot”, you know the old Frankie Fritz bundle trick (American Pickers reference). She pauses for about 5 seconds then says $25 for the lot. I stay cool and agree (while freaking out internally), head to the register to pay immediately where she tells me they are all old store stock. Oh yeah, I didn’t mention they are all sealed with the wrapping still. I get home and count them out and turns out I was waaaay off, there’s actually 93 in total.
At $10 each there’s almost a $1000 right there and I think I can get more easily if I’m patient. And of course I only need to make about 5 listings with multiple amounts available.
Lastly to top it off, right at the bottom of the basket is a small vinyl trim floral pattern roll, made in Canada still in its original packaging. These are super hard to find apparently and if I sell this for just $25 which should be easily achievable , the posters were free.
So I ended up spending $160 for the month which works out to be roughly 10% of the cash flow and I am totally ok with that. Over the last few months after reviewing the numbers this seems like the sweet spot to maximise profit when factoring in sourcing vs time vs money, for now anyway.
Listings were up, sales were up but the total value listed isn’t increasing by much. This leads to a bit of a conundrum. As a part timer, I am reaching the limits of time that can be allocated without ruining other parts of my life. My wife actually made the comment a couple of times this month that I seem to have found a good balance. So then, what can be done to improve things from here?
Focus on higher value items with larger returns. Seems instantly logical but unless you are looking at the numbers how will you know. My recently created new spreadsheet tracks additional metrics such as Return On Investment (ROI) but also Gross Profit Per Hour (GPPH). It’s the gross profit per hour which is the interesting metric as once time is factored in it becomes easy to tell if a particular item is worth picking up. A good example are board games, they sell and I have sold some nice ones but the time taken to list and then ship is far more compared against say a book or a DVD. Once this is factored in (time) it can become apparent that I would have made more with an hour at work. Profit is still profit yes, but focusing on those higher value items is critical when extreme limited time applies.
Spend less time sourcing but still get sourcing done. How? Source online and get delivered. Thinking about this, if I spend 2 hours driving to some thrift shops on the way home from work I will likely find some items. I am guessing that if I spent an hour looking online I could probably find some items to flip and then have an hour spare that can be used to list. I have had some success with this to date so will continue to put more of a focus on this.
Lastly, get some more listings up! Again I’m running into constraints as I have sold almost as many items that have been listed. So ideas to get around this? Get some help. There are always certain aspects within jobs that people hate doing. For me its taking photos of clothes. I don’t hate it per se but its definitely not my favourite activity involved with this type of business. So then, logically, I can outsource this to someone local to take some quality photos and measure up batches of clothing. Will start looking for someone suitable and see what happens.
What Else Got Done This Month
I did end up modifying the “Thank You” labels to add some style to these labels and now I am actually starting to get feedback come through with positive comments specifically on packaging so I guess it is definitely helping. You can never quantify it but I feel like this will help reduce the amount of returns and problem buyers over the longer term.
Still yet to get into the YouTube space. There hasn’t been enough time available to make this happen yet. Considering using Instagram in the mean time.
Still to make and distribute the business cards.
The focus for August is split into 5 distinct areas.
Continue the listing mission. I definitely noticed a pickup in sales related to the increased listing activity on the back of the July Challenge. At the very end of July I slacked off over the course of a week and surprise surprise sales dropped straight off into the first week of August.
Reorganise inventory to maximise space utilisation. I have a bunch of inventory stored in a couple of bookcases which is a legacy from the early days. I need to get all of the items stored here re-stowed into the bin system. By doing this I will be able to fix items which were Pre-SKU and simultaneously increase inventory storage space.
Sort The Business Card. This one should be relatively easy to get done. I plan on perhaps getting out and doing some sourcing later in the month (depending on sales) and really need this card to be able to hand out.
Increase knowledge on precious metals and jewellery. There are literal gold (and silver) mines out there. I’ve been doing some research on expanding my knowledge into this area.
Find a part time helper to get some scale.
And do all of this while working every weekend for the month at the day job. 100% commitment.
I had to upgrade the store level to get more listings.
I branched out into Facebook Marketplace and have already made some sales. I have added a separate section for Facebook Marketplace stats going forward in this summary.
I ticked over 500 feedback on eBay at 100% only to receive a negative feedback on May 31!
I had my first VERO For Beach Body P90X.
The plan for May, was simple. List. List. List. And that’s what I did. I am happy to report that I ended up getting to 600 listings as planned and then smash through that. I started 1st May with 509 active listings and needed to list 120+ to hit this target (to allow for sales to drop the number again).
I ended up making it to 700 total, crushing my goal. There’s always been conjecture whether listing itself will bring sales. I can say that I noticed a marked difference between the start and the end of the month. I have attached the screens below.
The majority of my listing occurred in the 2nd week and then look what happened, sales took off. It could be that I’ve just been picking up, listing and selling better items, which is true, or it could correlate with increased activity.
I shelled out a lot on inventory again this month. I found some great stuff and now have aloooooooooooooooooooooooooooot left to list for June.
I have been increasing my own knowledge skill set into other areas such as vintage T shirts. Shout out to a guy from Tasmania who I have been learning from. You know who you are if you are reading this and thank you. Anyway I found a vintage single stitch band T shirt not long after and to be honest its something I likely would have passed right over before but it just adds that element of depth. I’m yet to list or sell this but it could be worth $100 – $200. Later in the month I found another vintage single stitch singlet because I knew what I was looking for. Its so critical to keep learning to be able to grow (an even survive) reselling.
Another example from a garage sale today (2nd June when writing this), I turned up to a garage sale literally 2 streets over from my house. It was late morning already as I had given blood and been to the markets. Anyway there were some video games that were reasonably priced. In amongst those was a single DS Spongebob game which I picked up. The lady said “oh there was one after all, the guy who brought the DS this morning took everything else…”. Bugger, and yet sitting what must have been right in front of this section of games was a LeapPad Platinum in good working condition. What is this? Google it and you will learn something new. These are currently trending for $121ish plus shipping for the console (new). I picked it up for $10 and I guarantee far less than what the DS that I was too late for would have cost. Who’s margin would have been better I wonder? Keep learning and opportunities will start to appear everywhere.
Along these lines of sourcing growth I created a nifty little Auto Hot Key script that definitely speeds up Facebook Marketplace sourcing. Simply initially enter items you want to search for constantly, save it, run the script once and each query will run each search string in its own window instantly. Now all that’s required is to browse through though and find the bargains. This has already saved me a bunch of time. So much so that i’ll be making this the first video I release coming up sometime in June.
Random EBay Theory
Late April around Anazc day I brought a book about 2x VC Winner Charlie Upham from eBay. A day later I received a message from the seller that the book was on its way. I did not respond as I don’t really care so long as it arrives. However what I did notice was that this seller had over 3000 feedback. I made a mental note of this and finally came back to look at his store almost two weeks later. Interestingly it consisted of hundreds and hundreds of books. By itself this is not unusual however it was the type of books the intrigued me. They were mostly all older style books relating to war or western types. I realised that the physical size of these books was the key here. Most were listed at 11.99 (I am not sure of this significance if indeed there is any) with free shipping. Here’s the kicker, due to the size, almost every single book I scrolled through in this store could be shipped as a letter with a cost of $3. Assuming a cost per book of somewhere between free – $1 every book sold would return a nice profit of around $8.50 after fees.
This month was really about getting some of those higher value items photographed so they can actually be listed. Like I have said in a previous post I have an organised death pile and the more I do this the better things I find and the more that I can literally see money sitting around…. However although it’s organised it is also stupid, I found three pairs of Levi’s which have been sitting in their respective containers for quite some time, two pairs of RM Williams jeans, a pair of Kuhl jeans. I have made a mental resolution with myself to really try and get on top of this, excluding the games and a couple other bits and bobs I ended up taking photographs of 34 items of clothing over the course of one day. I wasn’t sure if I should be happy with this or not, I suppose I didn’t really start till after photographing a bunch of games, going to the post office to ship sold items and then a very quick detour to the local thrift shop which is a two minute walk (very handy).
So from around 10:30am to 5:30 pm I spent taking photographs for the clothes listings. That total time is pretty close to a full days work at 7 hours. At $10 profit per item we get a rough $340 profit for the day. I suppose this isn’t too bad really but I was curious to see what my potential profit should or could be, here were my workings:
Games, approx $180 potential.
Board Game $40.
Tony Robbins Cd Box Set $100.
I spent probably total actual time photographing of 6 hours, allowing for some coffee and lunch. Allocate 10 mins an item sourcing = 6 hours. 3 hours left to list. 3 hours total to pack. Total time in. 18 Hours. ****I’m probably being perhaps a bit hard on the sourcing aspect as multiple items can be found at once in the same store for example. I just allocated 10 mins to average things out with those days where not much is found****
$1349/18 =$74.94 an hour in real dollars. The pre-tax equivalent using 30% tax rate is $97.42 per hour.
I was quite surprised by this to be honest. Granted, this small sample size is using some of my better items as I intentionally structured my scheduled day off like this to derive maximum value. Still even with more mundane bread and butter $10 items that hourly rate is still likely to be better than the day job rate.
I will be experimenting further in June to understand how much time vs reward is occurring. Only by tracking this can improvements be made.
Whats my point then? Well you obviously want to be spending as much time as you can on the activity which generates you the best results. Hell it’s a great motivating factor when you get home after work and need to list a few items. Even more so when you sell a couple of things whilst doing so.
I also believe that this per hour number is actually likely to go up over time as skills are increased / honed like I mentioned earlier.
It’s a simple numbers game then to be able to grow to a point where the actual day job income could possibly be replaced, just have to put in the work upfront.
This is delayed income. Again, the work has to be done upfront. Every month my main metric I’m actually trying to grow is my cash flow followed by total store value, this is achieved by finding better items each month and getting those listings done.
The Stats eBay
It was quite a month for eBay stats during May. This was easily the single best total profit month experienced thus far Topping out at $1277.10 in actual profit (after fees, COGs, chipping). This translates to an actual positive cash flow for the month of $750.30, due to heavy expenditure on inventory procurement this month.
The number of listings increased substantially to top out at just over 700 and then come back down to 700 after a few sales. Half of these 191 listings were actually completed in 2 days and represent roughly $1000 of the $2808 total increase to the current overall store value.
The Stats Facebook Marketplace
This month I made a solid effort to begin to expand reach onto Facebook Marketplace and even ended up selling a couple of things this month which was a nice bonus.
I am starting to like it a bit more. Some of the items I am picking up I am able to sell a bit cheaper as I don’t have to factor in shipping on the price, this is particularly relevant on bulky items such as board games or puzzles. This is increasing the velocity of some of the sales it seems. A good example would be boots, I have picked a couple of pairs up this month and they just don’t make economic sense to sell on eBay as after fees and postage there is not a lot left. There’s a few pairs I have I know I can get between $25 – $85 fairly quickly on Facebook Marketplace.
To make things a bit easier to get this process happening I have rewritten some of my Auto Hot Key script to include Facebook Marketplace in the GUI. It didn’t take long to get this working and now its super quick to get a new listing up 80% automated.
No returns this month. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees. However I did receive a negative feedback which I am currently managing by …. doing nothing. There’s 2 weeks left before my 30 day return window expires. Should this buyer not open a return case within this time I will simply request eBay to remove the feedback 😉
Plans For June
Again get listing, my goal initially is to get to 1000 listings.
Cross post the vintage T Shirts (and band shirts) on Etsy also. I have previously written the script for this to semi automate, perhaps it still works as it should. Anyway this will be the first month where I actively cross list items on different platforms using Auto Hot Key to assist. I will be timing the results.
Lately, I’ve been trying to make good use of my time in the afternoons after work stopping off at local Thrift/Op shops on the way home. Depending on the area that I’m in the shops visited will vary as my day job often requires a lot of driving.
Today however was Saturday, and to be honest a relaxed Saturday as far as business-related activities go normally for me. In the morning I was up early and listed several items that were already ready to go with photos and measurements, and then spent the rest of the day attending to other personal matters.
Late in the afternoon, a separate side mission arose to procure some paints and brushes for my wife’s own super productive side hustle painting endeavour. We left the house at about 15:50pm and headed south about 15 minutes to the closest craft shop. We did the rounds and collected the requisite paints and brushes required and then exited and headed over to the only thrift shop in the area that would have still been open on a Saturday afternoon.
I dropped the wife off at a home decoration store nearby. On the short drive, I mentally made a note that I needed to start getting item sourcing lists to the shops of things specific things I was looking for. Top of the items that sprung to mind were rare vintage board games such as Hero Quest and other great sellers such as Cashflow 101, Warhammer Games or Figurines, Dungeons and Dragons related etc… I’m still working on this list.
I walked in to the shop with 29 mins remaining until the 17:00 close.
My attention was immediately drawn to my right near the counter which had been cleaned and had changed completely since coming into the same shop only a week ago. I said hello to the shop attendant and then walked over to scan these shelves. I glazed over quickly, nothing took my interest, however, as I turned left to move towards the rear of the shop my eyes landed smack bang on, I couldn’t believe, a vintage Hero Quest board game sitting on the shop counter off to the side.
My heart momentarily stopped and I was greeted with a massive rush of adrenaline as I realised this potential treasure, somehow just sitting there already on the counter staring me in the face.
By this time, concurrently, I could see the shop attendant was all the way down in the back rummaging around. I couldn’t see any price tags on this game and wondered if someone else in the shop had already picked it up and were stashing it at the counter ready to pay for it like I sometimes would do. I stood there frozen waiting for what seemed like an eternity waiting for the shop attendant to notice me standing at the counter. She finally did and made her way back up to the counter. I briefly explained that had been only thinking about this game moments before entering the shop and here it was! This was the truth so my excitement in actually finding the game was genuine as I was totally spun out by the randomness of this chance possibility, the odds had to be astronomical of thinking and appearing. This contrasts with the excitement of the financial windfall potential which is much more calculated.
Was it for sale? The question hung in the air.
She replied that a man had brought it in only about an hour ago and had actually said to her that he didn’t want to put it in the donation bin as he thought all the pieces would fall out and it was too nice for that. So he had left it there on the counter and it was now waiting to be priced by the shop.
My heart quickened and I was now mentally celebrating.
She opened up the game and we had a quick look inside and I knew that even with pieces missing that this game should sell for well over $100 (without even having to look at this time having previously researched This game before). Complete games had sold listings over $300. I asked if she wouldn’t mind pricing it up so I could buy it and she said sure it will be $4 dollars.
Initially, I left it at the counter and continue looking around but I became paranoid so went back to the counter and paid for and safely transported to my security safe (the car). Total time in store so far was less than five minutes. Now, I actually did want to keep looking around in the store so I went back in and asked if she had seen any tiny cups which technically I was looking for, for the wife.
It’s always best to play with the truth, you can lie with words but your body language will give you away every time.
The nice attendant showed me some that they had, I thanked her and continued looking around. I came across a weird looking salad container in a box I had never seen before, being I had no pockets in my shorts I put my keys wallet and phone down temporarily to look, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a tablecloth that looked very similar to one I had sold previously for $65 featuring Maori designs from New Zealand.
Sure enough, this was a similar style tablecloth featuring the island of New Zealand (where I am from originally) and some really nice graphics with a lot more colour than the previous. The full tablecloth is laid out below. I mention this because it’s always useful to continually expand your knowledge in this game, I mean it’s a tablecloth? Would you normally look for a tablecloth, maybe not, but I didn’t look through the tablecloths or linen section either I only noticed the outside material on the outside rack in passing glance and then investigated further. This happening becomes far more common over time.
By this time get in the shop attendant wanted to go home and close up it was about 16:50pm so went up and paid for this as well and then left.
Total time in shop, approximately 20 minutes maybe a couple more.
Although it may seem counterintuitive to visit the same store within the same seven day period this 20+ minutes today on a whim will turn eight dollars to possibly well over $250, a lot depending on whether the game is complete. That table cloth will sell for over $50.
I acknowledge that this obviously will not usually happen but if you don’t look you just don’t know. Stocks change on a regular basis within thrift stores / Op shops. Some times it is just the right time at the right place, just have to get there and look.
In this business it is critical to continue to keep learning and adapting.
Here is a recent story where an interaction with a customer turned into a win-win situation, always the best kind. The customer was happy with a great deal and I got not only a solid sale but exceptional insight on the specifics of what they were looking for.
Translation, items that will sell.
It started with a pair of blue denim jeans with the label 26 Red. I picked these up one day at a Good Sammy for the decent sum of $5. There were no comps I could find but I knew of this brand as growing up a young nineties kid myself, my best friend loved this brand and wore them all the time. So I picked them up and later listed them for $100 with a vintage 90s title. It did not take long before I had a few watchers on these jeans and then some interesting eBay message exchanges began.
The guy who initially contacted me (and would later become the buyer) hit me straight up with a low ball offer via eBay message to circumvent my auto decline which I had set at $50. His offer came with a story, however, that my pair of jeans had a sort of providence (originally being made in Australia in the 90s) and later being sold out to a chain store which decimated the brand by outsourcing the manufacturing, reducing the quality and simultaneously cheapening the price. There was quite a story for this pair of jeans. Anyway, it turned out that my pair of jeans was from the chain store days, obvious from the made in China tag, (and not even from the 90s – they were from early 2000s) but still had some value, just not as much as I was hoping for.
I had a figure in mind that I wanted to get for these jeans, and was fairly sure they would not take long to sell gauging by the interest the listing was receiving. Unfortunately, his offer was about $20 under what I really wanted to get for these and so I was left with a conundrum. Here was a buyer who obviously wanted these and had put in a large amount of time to communicate what these were, what he would pay (and had paid previously) for these vs ones that were made in Australia.
I had an idea.
Here was a guy who loved these old nineties styles, so much so that his friends continually gave him shit for it – his words. It is funny that the 90s look seems to be making a rebound, as all eras seem to as the youth of these eras enter their 30s and 40s and seek nostalgia. That concept is for another post later.
I made an offer of a different kind. I realised was that this guy was a loot crate of niche information about obscure vintage brands from the nineties. So in exchange for the additional $20 off the listing I asked for a list of brands that he (himself) would buy. That way I knew I was looking for things which I knew would sell (and even had an avenue of a potential buyer) should the right size appear.
The list as follows:
Brands I Wear From The 90′ Would Be –
Ecko (Another Brand That Sold Out To Kmart In the Early 2000’S)
Mambo (Sold Out To Kmart Around 2005, Early T Shirts Can Be Worth 50 – 250 Due To Artwork By Reg Mombassa)
Some Select Baggy Quicksilver Jeans,
And A Few Other Random Brands Like:
I chose to view this exchange as a form of delayed payment and potentially an immensely valuable interaction should I come across some of these brands later in the wild. Indeed since this interaction I have found a few items from this list at decent prices mainly due to their obscurity I think.
I also did actually make $25 total profit on the sale anyway so it really was a Win-Win-Win
• Win (buyer)
• Win (seller-present)
• Win (seller-future)
There are multiple types of value.
Money, information and the application of information.
It has become quite evident that many thrift shops are very much aware of eBay over the last couple of years with a lot of the donated stock not even making it into the actual thrift shops anymore and instead are being sold on eBay out the back. This, in my opinion, has both good and bad aspects.
Obviously, for the charity that the shop represents, it’s great, more money coming in to support a good cause reflected by selling items at closer to prevailing market prices.
On the flipside, (pun intended) for resellers, this makes finding quality items for good prices much much harder with many items now priced either just high enough to not work to resell or priced at some astronomical level based on an eBay current listing – not even a sold listing. Either one won’t work for a reseller.
It still baffles me why some of these shops are doing this. The foot traffic through each store is minuscule in comparison to eBay’s reach. Some of the items priced in this manner will sit in the shop for months wasting space and therefore providing no benefit to the charity either.
I recently came across a pair of shoes which had obviously been donated and sold for $10 previously (it was still written on the shoe). Yet for some reason, the Salvos store had slapped another $9 on top and was asking $19?!
Sometimes items end up in a glass case with a handy eBay printout with the price. Maybe at times, the items price has been discounted a little compared with the eBay listing price and other times not at all (and excludes the built-in shipping cost)!
There are some advantages to having someone else do research for you. Often all of these “special” items are collected in one place for easy viewing. I now often head straight to the glass case at the front of the store to see what treasures (or supposed treasures) lie within. I have managed to collect the odd bargain (even overpriced) this way which I will cover how further down.
What is extremely important to note with the thrift shops pricing like this is although they may “research” an item, they will often get it so very very wrong when it comes to quality Vs price overlooking critical defects and faults. It is critical to:
Check the condition.
Check it again.
If the item is damaged does the price reflect this correctly or has it been priced like it is new or like new?
As an example, one day I came across a nice Brooklyn watch in a glass cabinet with a price tag of $50. It looked almost like new, had the plastic protector still on the front and even came with the original box (See picture below).
I got excited and went through current eBay listings to find the same model, found it, and it said perhaps it might sell for $120 new. So far makes sense, even at $50 there might be some money in it. I asked if I could get it out of the box to look at. It looked legit sitting all neatly in its box but I still had to check. Once I had I flipped the watch over I was disappointed to see some gouged scratches on the back of it.
Would there be any money left in it at this price?
Brooklyn Watch Located In A Salvos
It was a Friday and I said to the cashier that I liked it but would need to think about it some more (code for:I need to research it more) and asked whether they could hold it till tomorrow morning which would have been Saturday. She said they could so no problem but only until lunchtime. Fair enough.
After I got home I did some further research and found that I could buy this exact watch delivered brand new to my house for $80. There was no margin left on the scratched watch that I was in any way comfortable with. I phoned the next morning and let them know.
A few days later, I went back to the shop and let the same lady I had originally seen know what I had found and posited what price they might realistically expect to sell it for. They said thank you for the feedback and that they would pass this information on to the manager.
Over 3 months later this watch was still in that shop and still priced at $50! Facepalm…
Another recent example, I came across a few graphing calculators all in the same shop that were complete in boxes with instructions. Someone had obviously done some “research” as they were all priced between $15-$30 far from the usual $2. Some of these graphing calculators can sell for really good money depending on the brand, TI or Texas Instruments as a great example. There was still enough of a margin to warrant further inspection so I opened them up and every single one had defects of some kind. Heavy scratching, missing cases or manuals. The $30 calculator had a broken cracked screen (though it did turn on I suppose)! A new one of the same model retailed for $80, would someone pay over $50 for this to make it viable to resell? I pictured myself as a student displaying a crapped out calculator for the world to judge me about, nope, it didn’t make sense. I sighed, wondered how long these would sit for and put them back.
Taking Advantage Of This Trend
Although on face value it might seem like there are fewer opportunities with this shift in thrift shop behaviour there are still a few ideas for you to consider.
Learn Where To Get What Items Where. Over time it becomes easier to identify where good deals for particular items will be and minimise wasting your time dealing with overpriced items. For example, if one store sells cheap electronics and often has games, another is expensive all round but does have cheap ties and a large selection of books at reasonable prices.
Take Advantage Of The Promotions When They Come Around. Keep an eye out for coloured tag discounts or other special store deals.
Sign Up To The Loyalty Program. It is obvious but as a reseller spending a fair amount of money in some of these places instore credit can really add up quite quickly and will decrease the overall cost of goods sold (COGs). I have a Good Sammys Card that once stamped 10 times gets me 50% off. I can even handle some of those ridiculous prices when I have this bad boy in play.
Ask For A Discount. The best for last. One of my favourite sayings is “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. You will be surprised how often this will work. At the end of the day, the stores do want to sell items. Often I will find items in those glass cases that have been “researched”, I will offer a price that will work for me and if they agree, great, if not I thank them and move on. A recent example of a pricing mismatch was 2 board games. The first was a Backgammon game in a nice leather case and in really nice condition selling for $19. The second was a Mahjong game also in a leather case and very heavy. The Mahjong had tile sets that were still wrapped in plastic meaning they hadn’t been played. Inexplicably this game was only $7. Financially it only made sense to buy Mahjong which should sell for around $80 (currently priced at $99) but I wanted the Backgammon board as I play this every Christmas with the brother in law and wanted a new set to bring this year. I asked politely if I could combine the 2 board games together for $20 and success I have a brand new Backgammon game for holiday fun and will make $60 profit (and keep the Backgammon for free) after I sell the Mahjong.
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!
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
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
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.