Thrifting is awesome! But when you're thrifting to make money, here are some mistakes I first made (and what to do instead!) that I've learned along the way.
Mistake #1. Buying Something Cool, Even Thought It Was Broken.
Don't buy it if it's broken. This is an easy one. Sometimes you'll find something really cool!... and then there's a crack in it, or a small chip. Many times I have told myself, "But I can fix it!". But I didn't. And if you're selling online, you'll have to photograph and disclose any flaw driving the customers to find a more pristine piece. My advice? Unless it's super rare and you'll make over $50 profit even if it's broken condition, leave it. You'll thank yourself later.
Mistake #2. Buying Something Solely Because It Was Old
Just because it's old, doesn't mean someone wants to buy it. When I first started thrifting, I would scour the shelves looking for anything old. I ended up having to re-donate or sell things almost at a loss at the thrift store because I just didn't have the market for them. My Advice? Do yourself a favor and learn how to use eBay sold listings. It's super easy- you just go to the advanced settings on your mobile phone, or on the left-hand side on your desktop and check 'Sold Listings'. This can show what current things have sold for, and sometimes it's disappointing!
Mistake #3. Not Aiming To More Than Double Your Money
I've learned to set my sights on higher than just doubling my money. I won't buy a $5 item if I can only make $10 on it. Why? Because if I am paying rent in a booth (or giving up space in my house!) I can't afford not to maximize my profits. Have a limit for what you're willing to spend on things and stick to a profit margin. My advice? Try to aim for x4 (or higher!) on each thing you buy. It's not always do-able when you get to larger priced items, but if the item is $5, make sure you can get at least $20 and so on. Do not buy something just because it is old. See mistake #2.
Mistake #4. Not Having Your Niche
Referring to mistake #2 again, just buying something because it is old isn't good enough. I learned the hard way trying to keep up with everything I thought everyone else was selling, and I ended up with a really strange mix of items. My Advice? Stick to a decade range or pick a theme. My sweet-spot is 80's and 90's right now, but I do love classic MCM as well. By staying with your niche, you can keep your spending in check.
Mistake #5. Buying Something I Didn't Have The Space For
We've all been there. There's a huge couch at an estate sale. And it's the perfect shade of teal and it's $35......but you don't need a couch and you live in a studio apartment. With stairs. Don't do that to yourself by overcrowding your space by buying something too big. My advice? Unless you have a sale lined up to a fellow dealer or customer that same day, leave the big stuff alone and pass the tip on to another reseller. They will thank you and remember you the next time they see something YOU like!