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How to Thrift, Flip and Pay the Bills

Selling used clothes online that you bought at a thrift store can be a lot of work. We asked a thrift flipper tips on thrifting to help you get started. Read our interview with Youtuber Emily Elizabeth. 

Some see thrift as an opportunity that can’t be overlooked. People go shopping and find pieces with potential. They take home pieces and reinvent said pieces with scissors and some thread.

Then they post the piece online on Depop, Poshmark or even Etsy and make a buck. They probably post their hauls on Youtube, too. Wash, rinse, repeat and soon they’re paying the bills. 

Others might feel that this means less thrift for others to enjoy, because thrift flippers might buy the best pieces from thrift stores. But with the sheer quantity of thrift-able items in the world, it doesn't cut down on opportunity for others.

Overconsumption has left us with so much excess that most used clothing (16 million tons) gets sent to landfills (10 million tons). Thrifting and flipping helps return used clothing into people's closets for use.  

But what does it actually take to make money off of this? We asked veteran thrifter Emily Elizabeth to weigh in.  

What is the easiest item to thrift, flip and sell online? 

I would say the easiest item is a crew neck — it’s a classic piece that never goes out of style, looks great with everything and a simple crop takes it from a cozy staple to a cute, flattering closet must-have. 

There are so many different things you can do with them and so many different versions to appeal to various tastes from solids, graphics, patterns, etc. 

What are 3 selling secrets you don't usually tell others? 

Hmmm. First of all, I’d say the photos are everything. Styling, lighting, and overall aesthetics are huuuge in pushing sales and can make or break your reselling business. 

Second, do not underestimate the power of a crop — It sounds ridiculous but I’ve found that even some of my hardest to sell pieces will be quickly snapped up after a quick figure-flattering cut. 

Third, you’ll see the most success by just being chill and honest with your buyers. People see right through pushy sales tactics — treat your potential customers like friends and they’ll be coming back for more. 

A man altering a piece of clothing

How did you make your first $1000 as a reseller?

I’ve been very back and forth over the years in terms of consistent selling, platforms to sell on, doing closet sales, etc. but I’d say figuring out what customers are looking for and seeking that out while thrifting has been the easiest way to go about resale. 

In the past I’ve made Pinterest boards for inspiration for what items to look for, how to style them, and as a kind of research for what trends are going on at the time. 

If you’re able to get your hands on what people are looking for for a decent price, it’ll sell no problem. It’s not making the sales, it’s finding the pieces that people want before they do. 

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Consistency is definitely key to making decent income off of thrifting and flipping. But it’s also important to develop a niche. If something sells, try to find similar things the next time you thrift and other pieces that would look good with that item, too. 

Tell us how you made your first sale in the comments.

 


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