So you are intrigued with the idea of being a professional reseller. You can see yourself shopping for a living and having a online Ebay, Tradesy or Poshmark store. Nowadays, it seems like anyone with a smartphone and a bit of spare time can be a professional reseller.
However, over the years I've personally seen many people try and fail. I've determined that there are distinct traits that you need to possess to be happy and successful at resale.
Take this quick ten question quiz and get some insight with regards to your future success.
- Can you overcome disorganization in stores and find what you need?
- Are you comfortable digging through bins to find a treasure?
- Are you ok driving through the least desirable parts of town?
- Can you work through long wait lines when shopping?
- Does shopping all day energize you?
- Can you stay on task when shopping?
- Can you easily part with fabulous finds?
- Can you take your ego out of customer relations?
- Do you have good organizing skills?
- And last but not least, would your friends agree that you have an eye for style?
If you answered no to four or more of these questions, professional shopping and reselling is probably not for you. Professional thrift store shoppers cannot be squemish or they'll miss out on the best products. You've got to be assertive (not aggressive) when shopping. You'll have to get up early on sale days and be prepared for crowds and waiting in long lines. Some days you'll need to dig through large bins of shoes or clothing to find that amazing pair of John Fluevog boots or that $300 Anthropologie dress.
Thrift stores are typically located in the less affluent sections of town. Many times I am driving past drug busts or police taped off areas to get to my favorite shops. Be alert, lock your car and don't talk to people in the parking lot. I find it best to shop these areas in the early morning when there is less activity. I never go shopping at night. In my 15 years, I've never had a problem shopping in these less desireable areas. I'm always friendly to the employees and get to know them. I'm hopeful that they'll have my back if there ever is a problem. At the worst, I've had folks ask me for money in the parking lot or ask me for a ride. I always look them in the eye and say assertively " I don't carry cash." or " I'm not comfortable giving rides to strangers."
Staying on task while thrifting is difficult even for the most seasoned shoppers. I can remember my very first days of thrifting with my friends. I came home with tons of worthless items. I was so excited by the low prices that couldn't resist. I was bringing home one bag of shoes to sell and one bag of dishes, baskets and other trinkets for myself. It is essential to stay on task and not get too emotionally attached to your purchases or you'll end up on the next season of Hoarders.
And lastly, the hardest part of the job... no it isn't scraping gum or poop off the bottom of shoes, it is the customer feedback. On selling forums such as Poshmark or Ebay, feedback is an integral part of your business. You are judged daily by each product you sell. Be prepared for unwarranted negative comments. You can sell the most well photographed and honestly described product and still get negative feedback. The first few blows will hurt you to the core. Your sensitive ego will want to lash out and defend your self. It will take a tremendous amount of self control to remove your ego from this process. The customer is always right. I say it again- "the customer is always right" - it is a mantra that must shine through with all your relations. You will never win if you need to have the last word with your customers.