Pearl Snaps – eBay Clothing Series #7

Final day of my clothing series and the #YourTurnChallenge! It’s been rough getting these last two posts out. I wasn’t as proactive as I would have liked either. Don’t mind any rambling or me getting sidetracked. At this point, I’m just glad that I was able to push this out!

We’re going to wrap up the series with a western theme. Pearl snap shirts!

 

Pearl snap shirts are similar to normal button down shirts, but they have little snaps instead of buttons. The snaps are shiny and have a pearl-like quality. I don’t think I could pull off this shirt at all.

Pearl Snap Brands to Look for

Wrangler and Levis

I’ll try to buy either one of these brands as long as it’s vintage. They usually sell for $30+. Just be wary about condition due to their age. I’ve gotten too many shirts home and only noticed a small hole or stain after the fact.

Wrangler Pearl Snap eBay

This shirt had fancy blue snaps to go with it.

Levis Vintage Pearl Snap

Notice the “Made in USA”. This lets me know that the shirt is true vintage.

Carrhartt

Carhartt clothing is usually well made and sturdy, so people are willing to pay a premium for it. I’ll pick up pants or heavy shirts with this brand at any time, even if it’s not a pearl snap. The regular button front shirts aren’t the best though. As usual, this shirt was an XXL and moved pretty quickly.

Carharttl Pearl Snap eBay

Sold for $30. Right on point for me.

Rockmount and H Bar C

These brands are my white whales for pearl snaps. Rockmount is still open today, but H Bar C doesn’t seem to be around since the 1970s.

You can buy true vintage Rockmount directly from their own website, and they’ll run for $100. The going price on eBay is about $30 for plain shirts and $50+ for their crazier styles. Definitely add it to your BOLO List!

Both brands will jump out at you with their ornate designs and are reminiscent of the singing cowboy outfits. I think that they are worn at western horse riding shows or when they go out line dancing.

H Bar C Pearl Snap eBay

A lot of western shirts have the long tails. I’m not sure why.

Rockmount Ranch Wear eBay

Rockmount tags are just as ridiculous as their shirts!

Pearl Snap Duds

Whenever I see a pearl snap, I get a little excited. They sell well and pretty quickly. The issue is that more modern brands (think Urban Outfitters) have put out their own. I would stay away unless you can lot them together or if they were really ornate. They just don’t meet my $20 margin.

Ruddock
ruddock pearl snap usa

“Tall” should set off your profit sensors!

This Ruddock pearl snap sold for $25 with free shipping, but it’s because it was a Tall size. If it were regular, it probably wouldn’t have sold for more than $20. I had originally grabbed it because of the size and the “Made in USA” mark.

Taos
Taos Western Pearl Snap

I should have known when I saw the “Made in China.” It generally means it’s newer and not worth a lot.

Some other brands to avoid are Roper, Lucky Brand, and Plains. These are mostly made overseas and are usually thinner too. If you can grab a bunch for cheap, you can sell a big lot. I just pass over them though.

Well, there you go! I’m done with this 7 day challenge and the clothing series (for now). I’ll probably add a post to the series every few months as it seems like people were pretty interested in the topic. Thrift stores are normally >50% clothing, so it’s a good target market.

I’ll follow up with a post next Monday (in February). We’ll see how I did for the month of January and how it’s looking for my goal of $10,000 in profits for 2015.

If you missed any of my previous posts on clothing, you can find it here:

Day #1 – Concert Merchandise

Day #2 – Polo Ralph Lauren

Day #3 – Tommy Hilfiger

Day #4 – L.L. Bean

Day #5 – Pendleton

Day #6 – Woolrich

Woolrich – eBay Clothing Series #6

Day # 6 of my eBay Clothing Series and the #YourTurnChallenge. Almost. There.

Today’s didn’t come out at 6AM and there’s no way tomorrows is either. Deal with it.

Monopoly Deal Wikipedia eBay

Don’t worry, I scanned this already, and it doesn’t sell for much on Amazon.

We’ll finish off with the last brand theme (spoiler alert: tomorrow is a style, not one brand) with an even older American brand, Woolrich!

Woolrich – It can be pretty old

Pendleton and L.L. Bean were started in the early 1900s. Woolrich puts them to shame! They were started in Woolrich, Pennsylvania in 1830 and are the oldest manufacturer of outerwear in the United Sates!

A lot of the information from previous brands applies to Woolrich too. This makes things a little easier for resellers.

Made in USA
Woolrich Made in USA eBay

I always look at the 1 auction that only completed for 14.99 and think “Why didn’t they just do a Buy It Now? They could have sold it for $30+!”

Since Woolrich has such a rich American heritage, it’s not surprising that the items that are made in the USA sell better. Ones made overseas will sell, but you need to be a little more selective.

Wool… again

Anyone else find it ironic that I love to sell wool Woolrich clothing? As I talked about with Pendleton and L.L. Bean, wool is just a very popular material. 100% wool or wool blends that don’t just have a synthetic like nylon are your best bet. These sell in the $30+ range easily!

Woolrich Wool Moose Noridc Sweater

This sweater was actually a wool blend, but it also had 17% Angora Rabbit Hair and 9% Nylon. Sold for $39.99!

Flannels – Be selective

You’ll notice that this flannel isn’t made in the US. I did sell it for $25 with free shipping though. Similar to the L.L. Bean flannels, the heavier ones that are US made just sell for more.

Woolrich Plaid Flannel eBay

I’m running out of witty things to say. Let’s be honest, I probably ran out after my first post.

Vintage = Cash Money

Here’s a Vintage “Woolrich” Jacket. The thing is, I’m still not sure if this coat was technically a Woolrich brand coat. It had a detachable hood and was filled with goose down.

Vintage Woolrich Teton Puffer Jacket eBay

Vintage puffer jackets are really hot now! ESPECIALLY ones that have goose down.

The tag said “The Teton Mountain Coat” and mentioned that it was made in Woolrich, PA. Because of this, I ended up using Woolrich in my title. I sold coat for $150 – a great ROI on a $10 buy!

The buyer was a huge hunting fan and gave the feedback “just what ive always wanted.” This is the kind of feedback eBay resellers love! Although I will also take the “good” one I got the other day as long as it’s still a positive feedback.

Teton Mountain Coat Woolrich eBay

See, it does say “Woolrich”!

Ridiculous Themes (It’s a theme in this clothing series)

Ridiculous stuff sells well all the time. I always try to grab crazy shirts since ugly sells. This shirt jumped right out of the water and into my shopping cart (boat)!

Woolrich Trout Shirt eBay

Some dude loves fishing if they’re wearing this. Edit: How the hell did I not notice the misspelling of “Unlimited”?

I can only imagine going out into public wearing this shirt with a trout on it. Maybe he was going on a fishing weekend?

I have to remember one of the mantras of the guys over at the Scavenger Life: “I am not my target buyer.” couldn’t have said it better!

Tomorrow will be the last day in my 7 day clothing series and the #YourTurnChallenge. I’m excited for the finish so I can take a bit of a break!

Here’s the other posts in the series:

Day #1 – Concert Merchandise

Day #2 – Polo Ralph Lauren

Day #3 – Tommy Hilfiger

Day #4 – L.L. Bean

Day #5 – Pendleton

 

Image Credit: Blackmissionary

Pendleton – eBay Clothing Series # 5

Day #5 in my Clothing series and the #YourTurnChallenge. Home stretch now. Expect more pictures and less words. Who knows, maybe that’ll make my posts better!

Today we’re going to talk about another tried and true American brand – Pendleton.

 

Pendleton isn’t a brand you see every day, but I do frequent one thrift store which seems to have at least one every time I show up. Call me lucky if you want.

I’d put Pendleton above regular “bread and butter” clothes. There’s just not enough of it out there. Maybe this is like the “grilled cheese” of clothes. Really satisfying but still not super expensive. Sure, you’d love to have grilled cheese every day, but some days you just want that simple bread/butter without all the pan frying.

That sentence makes me think that I may be losing it…

Pendleton Tips

Pendleton shirts jump out at me. I’m not sure if I’ve trained myself or if the label is easy to catch. It may be a Pavlovian response at this point. I see Pendleton and I begin drooling dreaming of profits.

Pendleton Label eBay

That bright blue with the yellow stitching is a sight for sore reseller eyes. It’s those damned thrifter’s goggles!

100% Wool Sweaters and Shirts

The majority of Pendleton clothing is going to be 100% wool. The company’s actual name is “Pendleton Woolen Mills,” so this kind of makes sense. Plaid is a very common style, but I’ve found that the material is more important than the actual patterns on the clothing when it comes to the profits (exception below, but don’t worry it’ll just make you more money).

100% wool will always sell for $30+, so they’re in my “automatic” buy category. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

Heavy and Big and Tall Clothing

Again, beating the dead horse here, but the heavier the item (think heavy sweaters, flannel jackets, etc.), the more it’s worth. I list the heavy flannel jackets for ~$75, and they still sell quickly.

Just be careful. A lot of times, I’m not sure if a flannel is supposed to be a jacket or a heavy shirt. If it’s borderline, I’ll err on the side of “shirt” just so someone who buys it isn’t disappointed if they were expecting an actual jacket.

And as usual again, the bigger sizes sell better! XXL and bigger is something you will want to look out for!

Blankets and Aztec pattern Shirts
Pendleton Native American Aztec eBay

white whale

Although the plaids are the most common, the Native American themed blankets and Aztec style sweaters/jackets are the most expensive items. These styles are reminiscent of the original clothing made in the early 1900s by the Pendleton Company Founders, the three Bishop brothers.

I’ve already talked about how Aztec themed items sell well, but these Pendletons are also on my “white whale” list along with the Double RL and the Purple label of Ralph Lauren. I wonder how an eBay store named “Call Me Ishmael’s Discount Clothing” would do?

Pendleton Tricks (or what to watch out for)

Moth holes

Be careful! I’ve gotten a few Pendleton wool shirts that had moth holes that I didn’t notice until I got home and examined the shirt. A way to recoup some of this is to sell the shirts as a lot for fabric. Craftier people than me will re-use the good parts of the material for blankets or pillows or some other awesome thing that I can’t even imagine.

100% Cotton
100% Cotton Pendleton Plaid Shirt eBay

Who knows, maybe it stagnated because of my thumb. I’ve moved to using a clickable pen with the point retracted to hold down any collars/tags in pictures.

In my earlier thrifting days, I bought a 100% Cotton Pendleton shirt. I don’t think I spent a ton of money on it (under $5), but it sat. And sat. And sat. I had it for well over a year! It still ended up selling, but I accepted an offer for $20 (free shipping). I know, it’s still a profit, but I won’t be will try to avoid buying anything with such a low margin anymore!

The fact that this shirt isn’t made in the USA probably doesn’t help, but I’ve sold plenty of the woolen Pendletons for $30+ even if it was made in another country.

Pendleton Wrap Up

So there you have it. Pendletons are a great buy in most cases. They’re one of my top buys and I always try to list them as quickly as possible. The sales will probably slow down as it gets warmer up, but it’s worth it to have the item listed and forgotten (LIFI) so you can go buy more awesome stuff instead of worrying about timing. That’s for those weird eBay auction guys.

Finally, if you do have some Pendletons with some flaws, keep the damn shirt for yourself! They’re great work shirts, and the holes generally don’t go all the way through. Just make sure to give the shirt a good cleaning.

If you missed any of my previous posts in this clothing series and the (stupid) #YourTurnChallenge, make sure to get in the know!

Day #1 – Concert Merchandise

Day #2 – Polo Ralph Lauren

Day #3 – Tommy Hilfiger

Day #4 – L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean – eBay Clothing Series #4

Day #4 of my clothing series and the #YourTurnChallenge. I’m beginning to regret this because of the stuff going on this week. If I keep going down this road, I’ll break my no whining policy on the blog.

I’m going stick with it. Just be prepared for my quality to take a hit – this is quantity over quality week at Flipping a Dollar! Here are links to the previous posts in the series so far: #1, #2, and #3.

With post #4 in this series, we’re going to discuss an American classic brand, L.L. Bean.

 

L.L. Bean is a northeast American company started by Leon Leonwood Bean (that poor kid overcame some name adversity) in 1912. It’s known for it’s rugged outdoor wear. This stuff is made to last.

For example, here’s an article about how the L.L. Bean factories can’t keep up with the demand on their duck boots.

Be wary though, you won’t want to go out and buy anything with the L.L Bean name on it.

It’s not all good!

For a change, we’ll start with what to avoid:

Flannels

I made a mistake early on by grabbing a bunch of St. John’s Bay and L.L Bean flannels in a fill a bag sale. I still made a profit that day, but it was when I was just starting out with clothes and didn’t know any better. Now, I’d be able to parse through them a lot quicker without the lesson of low profits!

L.L. Bean Flannel eBay

If it were a large, I would have at least kept it for myself.

There’s just not a lot of profit in them. I might get them if I could get ~5 in a lot for really cheap.

Caveat:

Heavy/fleece lined flannels will sell for $30+. Pick those up!

Exercise gear

I sold a ladies shirt for $20. I don’t think I paid more than $1 for it from a garage sale, but again, it’s not in my target margin area. Again, it might be worth your while if you could get a lot of 3 or 4 workout shirts to lot together.

L.L. Bean – The items to look for

Boots

I already talked about how the new duck boots are backlogged, but this provides a market opportunity for eBay resellers. Some college student can settle for a used pair to fit in with the hip crowd. I won’t lose sleep over helping someone be cool!

These vintage boots sell for $40 plus S/H on a regular basis. Just make sure to check the sole and interior for any signs of major wear.

100% Wool Sweaters

I will sell these all day. Assuming they’re in good condition, they’re basically a $30 sweater at a minimum.

This is a sweater I currently have listed for $39.99 and will accept a B/O automatically at $35 (3 watchers after having listed it this week). I bought it for $2.50!

L.L. Bean Sweater Made in Scotland eBay

The tag actually says made in Scotland. Who took this crappy picture which cuts off the country anyways?

“Cool” Patterns

I think I’m beginning to repeat myself here with each post, but this Aztec pattern sweater sold for $40! We all know that I love my Aztec sweaters!

L.L. Bean Aztec Wool Sweater

It looks like something Bill Cosby would wear in Arizona…

Big and Tall Sizes

Anything above an XL will sell at a premium. This fleece wasn’t only XXL, it was also Tall! The bigger the better! Plus it was made in the USA! Win-win-win!

XXLT LL Bean Fleece eBay

Clothing resellers on eBay are directly benefiting from the obesity epidemic. But hey, at least the buyers are getting clothes that fit and is better made than the Walmart crap!

So, there you have it. I try to stick to the vintage L.L Bean items as a really lose rule of thumb, and I find the brand more in the sweater section.

As warmer weather is around the corner, you may be able to grab some great sales on the winter stuff at your local thrift stores! Take advantage of it if you can.

Final tip

When listing L.L. Bean, I don’t include the “.” after either L unless I don’t have any extra keywords. It just looks like LL Bean. This gives me 2 additional characters in my listing, and the eBay search algorithm (mostly) ignores the periods anyways. If you try it out and search for both, you’ll find a few thousand more results when the periods are included, but when you’re looking at ~30,000 results, the few thousand probably doesn’t really matter.

Tomorrow we’ll have post #5 in my 7 day clothing series. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Tommy Hilfiger – eBay Clothing Series #3

Still churning along with my clothing series and the Your Turn Challenge. You can check out posts #1 and #2 here and here!

 

The brand for Day #3 is Tommy Hilfiger.

Tommy Hilfiger Vector Logo

The little flag will start to jump right out at you!

The Tommy line is a slightly more casual/middle of the line version of Ralph Lauren, but I don’t think there’s as much confusion with all the varying levels of quality. Tommy doesn’t have a high end like RL, so the shirts and sweaters are in the $75-$200 range new. I’m still shocked that people would even pay these prices for a shirt!

Because Tommy has a lower ceiling than Ralph Lauren, you have to be more selective. I have very specific types of Tommy Hilfiger clothing that I will buy. If I find a plain shirt that is a Tommy Hilfiger but doesn’t sport the logo or name on the outside, it goes right back on the rack. The profits just aren’t in the regular old shirts.

Remember, you’ll have less margin for error buying a TH shirt, but it can be good pick up if you stick to your guns. Here’s how I keep my profits in the green.

Tommy Hilfiger Tips

Heavy Flannels
Flannel Tommy Hilfiger Shirt eBay

This was a very heavy, warm shirt. Sold for $30.

Heavier just seems to sell better. This may be similar to my comment in the Ralph Lauren post yesterday, but I’m sure these flannels are a little more expensive than your regular long sleeve button front shirts when purchasing new.

Here’s a zoomed in version of the tag from above. It’s different than traditional red, white, and blue logo Tommy Hilfiger logo which you’ll find below. I’m guessing that this flannel si from a different clothing line in the Tommy family, but I haven’t been able to identify it. Because I can’t seem to find it now, I think it’s early 2000’s. I may be way off-target though, so don’t quote me!

Tommy Hilfiger Embroidered Logo

Notice this shirt has a different font and different design.

Awesome Designs

I talked about this yesterday, but it’s always a reminder that I want to hammer home. Ugly sells, and you can’t get much uglier than this paisley shirt:

Tommy Hilfiger Paisley Shirt eBay

Remember, no judging though. Whoever bought this has game if he can pull it off!

The paisley shirt sold for $40 in about a week after listing! I was glad to have it out of my house.

Embroidered Tommy Hilfiger Shirts

Some of the shirts have an embroidered TH or the lion seen below. I think the buyer wants to let everyone else know that they’re wearing Tommy Hilfiger. Just like the Ralph Lauren Pony.

Plaid Tommy Hilfiger Shirt eBay

Plaid + Bragging that you can afford Tommy Hilfiger = Profits

Vintage Tommy Hilfiger Sweatshirts, Hoodies, or Jackets

Here’s a sailing jacket that I sold for $75 plus S/H. Bought at a neighborhood garage sale. Didn’t even have to drive there!

Vintage 90s Tommy Hilfiger Windbreaker

The lady wouldn’t give me a neighborhood discount and was firm on her $4 price. Still made a $60+ profit!

Bonus Tip: I used the key word “Hip Hop” in my title.

Reasoning? Several other jackets sold with the same key word. I don’t know if that’s a gray area of the eBay rules, but I figured it was worth a shot. I shipped it to France with no problems! Lesson is to do your research using completed listings. You can find some key words that you wouldn’t have thought to use.

I also figured out why “Hip Hop” is a such great key word for vintage Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Jeans, and the now defunct Tommy Sport from the 1990s. The brand was reallly popular with the hip hop scene at the time. Here’s a blog post that features pictures of Snoop Dogg (he wasn’t a lion yet), Vanilla Ice, Aaliyah, and Destiny’s Child all decked out in the Tommy gear. It’s still popular today, and eBay’s the only place you can get it!

Keep an eye out for any vintage Tommy clothing that says Made in USA or Made in Hong Kong. Both of these denote that the item is older and are a dead giveaway that you can have a real gem since they aren’t made in those countries anymore.

Vintage Tommy Completed Listings eBay

These prices are making me second guess the jacket I sold! Granted, mine was a small, so it probably wasn’t worth as much.

Remember to stay tuned for the rest of the week for some more brands/styles to be on the look out for!

Now I don’t know if I want to go sailing or listen to some rap music!

Ralph Lauren Polo – eBay Clothing Series #2

OK, day #2 of my clothing series and the #YourTurnChallenge. Day #1 was all about concert merchandise. Day #2 is something a little more common. It’s definitely in my bread and butter category.

Let’s start with the simple ones.

Regular old Ralph Lauren Polo pony shirts.
Polo Ralph Lauren Sweater Vest eBay

Does anyone even play polo anymore? I’m betting if they do, they don’t wear Ralph Lauren…

These shirt are all over. The picture above is of a 100% cotton sweater vest. I can sell these for $25-$30 all day. If they’re under $5 and in great condition, I’ll pick them up.

The button-front shirts also sell in this range, but they take longer to sell. You’ll list 20 of them and will sell 1 every few weeks. Not an instant sale, but they’re a nice buy for the slow and steady group. I can’t stress this enough – be meticulous. It’s not worth it if there’s stains on the collar or the cuffs.

Sweaters seem to move faster (maybe it’s the season?). Here’s a 100% silk sweater I sold for $35. There was a pony on the front!

Silk Polo Ralph Lauren eBay

Silk and cashmere feel way softer than regular old cotton. They’re also less durable so be more selective!

Ralph Lauren Polo Tips:

Here’s the Ralph Lauren clothing line in order of profit:

RL Purple Label~Double RL>PRL>LRL>CRL.

The first letter is in reverse alphabetical order! Simple, right? NOT.

Ralph Lauren Purple Label
Ralph Lauren Purple Label eBay

If you’re crosseyed with the options in the Ralph Lauren line of clothing, it gets worse!

These suckers are HIGH END. $500-$2000 for new SWEATERS. Sorry for the caps, but c’mon. I’m flabbergasted. Now, you most likely won’t get anywhere near these numbers, but $50+ is very easy to achieve.

Double RL
Double RL Polo Shirt eBay

I couldn’t find the backwards R/L key on my keyboard.

This line is supposed to be more useful than the purple label. It’s really high end work wear. Their boots are really expensive and would be a great find. I still haven’t found either the Double RL or the purple labels in the wild yet. These sweaters are more reasonable compared to the purple label, coming in between $400 and $900. Yikes.

Lauren Ralph Lauren (LRL)

This is the medium range in the Ralph Lauren clothing line (a step below the regular Ralph Lauren Polo). They make men and women’s clothing, but I’ve mostly seen it as women’s. The green tag really jumps out at you.

Lauren Ralph Lauren Green Tag eBay

So, there’s Polo by Ralph Lauren, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Chaps Ralph Lauren, and Double RL (RRL). Not confusing at all! This Ralph guy is pretty full of himself…

Chaps Ralph Lauren (CRL)
Chaps Ralph Lauren CRL Shirt eBay

I will only pick up the crazy Chaps Ralph Lauren designs like this boating themed one.

This is vintage (1990s era). Ralph Lauren doesn’t put their name on the Chaps brand anymore, so if you see the two together, it can sell well. If it’s only Chaps without the Ralph Lauren, stay away!

Ralph Lauren Polo tag on sweatshirts and T-shirts

Lots of USA, American flags, the word POLO spelled out on the front, or strangely enough, teddy bear themed sweatshirts  – basically the 90s summed up in clothing.

These items have been popular in the rap community which means that they’ll sell well on eBay. Agora Clothing has a short history on the Ralph Lauren Teddy Bear which has some pictures of Kanye and Just Blaze wearing them. Apparently it’s a thing. I think this is one of those ironically cool things, but I’m definitely willing to profit on it!

Ralph Lauren Polo Teddy Bear eBay

Did the chicken or the Kanye wearing a teddy bear sweatshirt come first?

Next time you see the Teddy Bear on any t-shirts or sweatshirts, grab it up!

Anecdote: I actually saw a guy at work wearing one of the t-shirts. I did not have the gall to ask him if he’d sell it to me. I was still new. If I saw him now, would I do it? On the fence…

So there you have it. Make sure to be selective when you see the Ralph Lauren Polo tag, but there are some real winners if you find the right ones! Don’t forget to check in tomorrow for Day #3 in my clothing series!

 

 

Concert Merchandise – eBay Clothing Series #1

This post marks the kickoff to a 7 day blogging challenge given by Winnie Kao, an employee of marketing guru Seth Godin.

When I read about the challenge, I  said “why the hell not?” I’ve been meaning to do a series anyways.

I’ll talk about 7 different types of clothing to look out for (brands, themes, etc.), one for each day!

Instead of just saying what brands to look out for, I’ll explain my methodology that I work through when I pick up a piece of clothing and decide whether or not I’ll make a profit. Hopefully anyone from the novice to the expert reseller will find some value in this series!

Remember, even within one brand, there can be a range of prices. I’ll give a few tips on the diamonds in the rough, but resellers, like my golf game, mostly deal with the rough. Because of this, my goal is to help you weed out the bottom of the barrel clothing, and key in on the items that will become your bread and butter that sell in the $30+ range.

Disclaimer: Most of these won’t be $100 items, but a few might sneak in…

Like, for example, this original Slipknot hoodie! I have to start with a bang

Concert Merchandise – Add it to your BOLO list!

Original Slipknot Iowa Hoodie

Yeah, that’s a goat’s head.

For anyone who isn’t a maggot (it’s what Slipknot calls their fans… don’t ask), Slipknot is a heavy rock band who started in the late 90s. For being 15 years old, this hoodie was near-flawless! Timing definitely helped as Slipknot released a new album and went on tour in late 2014.

Here’s the numbers for my Slipknot hoodie:

  • Purchase price – $5
  • End Selling Price – $220
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $45.64

Total Profit:  $169.36

I started this sale at $250 with a best offer option, and it paid off! I think this is one of my highest sales to date.

Concert Merchandise Tips

#1 – Rock bands’ merchandise seems to sell better. We won’t argue if they’re actually better music-wise because c’mon, they are.

Here’s a bunch of listings for current concert t-shirts that are listed for over $30 but under $100 (just so we don’t get our hopes up too much). Again, rock is king in the concert t-shirt merchandise arena!

#2 – For some numbers, t-shirts are generally $3 and under at my local thrift stores. They sell for $30+, so that’s a minimum of $20 profit, which meets my 2015 target profit per item!

Because the t-shirts are so cheap, there are going  to be a ton to sort through, and when looking at them on the rack, they all look the same.

And if you’re wondering, no, that Planet Fitness t-shirt isn’t worth anything.

#3 – Brands on the shirt don’t really matter. A lot of these shirts were printed on generic brand t-shirts. Just be sure to corroborate any tour dates on the shirt with actual tours! Google is your friend.

#4 – Jackets and hoodies cost more when they were originally sold, so it’s understandable that they’ll still sell for more. Grab these if you can!

#5 – Condition is key. As I noted earlier, the better the condition, the more it will be worth. The only way you’re going to get around this is if you are reselling some true vintage 70s concert t-shirts. Then, there will be some wear, and it will be acceptable.

Be ready for post # 2 in my clothing series tomorrow and be sure to check out all the other bloggers over at the Your Turn Challenge Blog.

Rock on!

Chris Dreams of eBay

This blog post is based on real dreams that I’ve had. It may be a little off the wall and full of rambling, but bear with me. I’ll get to the a point that actually has something to do with eBay reselling. Guaranteed or your money back!

Warning: There are some referral links below. These books are DEFINITELY available at your public libraries, so use them as your first resource!

Rambling Background

The inspiration (other than the dreams) for this post was one of Tim Ferriss’s free podcasts with Ramit Sethi. He’s the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, a book that is supposed to help you cut a 40 hour work week down to 4 hours. Instead, it mostly reminds me of how much time I waste.

I’ve read the 4-Hour Work Week twice now (gearing up for a 3rd after finishing The Serial Podcast), and I always go through a huge boom of work right after finishing it. After a month or so, I come back down to earth and muck around for a while until my poor performance and feelings of distraction start giving me an itch again.

At this point, two other similar books enter the rotation: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by the late and great Stephen R. Covey and Getting Things Done by David Allen. I  use most of the tips/strategies at my real job, but the tactics seep into my eBay reselling too!

Pro Tip: These books only work if you actually use the material. I haven’t found a way to sustain each books’ entire plan for a long time, but each read through gives me a few small returns that are definitely building on each other. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to get everything done effectively in a 4-hour work week someday!

Back to the topic at hand though, Tim Ferriss’s guest mentions a documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi (available on Netflix and Amazon).

Here’s the blurb from IMDB:

A documentary on 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his renowned Tokyo restaurant, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu.

Ramblings on eBay Dreams

The tie in for this blog post and the documentary is that Jiro had dreams about the sushi he could make. Similarly, I’ve had dreams of finding awesome items at garage sales. Imagine finding five Super Nintendo systems with TONS of games and oh, only 50 bucks for everything.

*Wakes up and wipes drool away*

It’s always disappointing when I wake up from that dream! The saving grace is that I’ve experienced similar situations in real life already, and I think that’s why the hunt and this hobby are so addictive.

Barack_Obama_and_Shinzo_Abe_at_Sukyabashi_Jiro_April_2014

Even Obama’s dreaming of Jiro’s sushi!

Getting past my goofy title, Jiro’s questionable fathering attitude (which I hope to avoid), and Jiro’s amazing work ethic (that I’m sure I’ll never be able compare to), I still found a valuable idea from this quote of Jiro’s:

I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.

I don’t think that I’ll be selling on eBay as long as Jiro has made sushi (over 75 years!), but this idea of constant improvement resonates with me and my eBay side business.

I missed my goal of $5,500 profit last year by ~$5-700 (I had some more sales before the end of the year, but they wouldn’t have pushed me over the goal). The single, most important factor in me coming short was not listing enough. I list more. I sell more. If I have around 200 items in my store, I sell ~1 a day.

I rationalize sourcing as the most important part of the process (it’s definitely the most fun), but I don’t remember the last time I went out shopping at garage sales or thrift stores and came home empty handed. Few and far between.

So, to improve my business, I’m going to focus on improving my listing process bit by bit since this is the biggest hurdle in meeting my goals for this year.

Ramblings on my listing process (after buying awesome things of course)

1 – Prepare clothes/items and add to my spreadsheet. I’ll remove any tags or stickers, write down the information about the item (condition, size, where it’s made, etc.), but NOT measure or photograph the item. I do this with a bunch of items at once to move them out of my garage.

2 – Measure/photograph. When I have ~3 shelves of my bookcase filled up with clothes or other doodads (about 30 items normally), I’ll switch over to taking pictures of the items. I’ll also take any measurements and note any extra notes about condition.

Am I the only one who finds more flaws the 4th time I’m looking at something than the first? It must be the thrifter’s goggles wearing off…

After I’ve measured the item, I’ll get it ready for storage (placing it in a clear plastic 12″x15″ bag and sealing it with a fancy “thank you please give me good feedback if I didn’t screw up” sticker. Then I mark it with an item ID (this will be in the listing too) and throw it in a storage tub until it gets listed and sells.

2.5 – Crop/touch up pictures. I go through all of my pictures using Google’s free picture editor Picasa to crop and clean up the photos. This only takes ~10-15 minutes to get through 100 photos, so it’s not a full step.

3 – Finally, I actually list my items. When I finish listing a batch, I’ll mark their Excel rows as yellow and will fill in the date. This is the only step of the process that will actually lead to more money, so that’s why I included it as the trigger for my Beeminder goal. Check out the fancy graph on the righthand sidebar tracking my monthly progress.

Ramblings on Improvements

Wow, that’s actually not a quick process at all, especially when you type it all out. To paraphrase Jiro, 95% of the preparation happens in the kitchen before he even touches the sushi. 95% of my work is already complete before I go to list it at this point.

I like the fact that I make the last, most important part as simple and easy as possible. Just start listing, upload pictures, and complete. I have some templates to help with this part too (just a .txt file at the moment).

Ignoring how cumbersome my listing process is, I’ve focused on having enough time to actually work on listing items. In that vein, I’ve started to wake up a half hour earlier – now 5:30 AM. This lets me get some time to list a few items in the morning (goal of 5).

Another habit that I’ve added is doing my morning chores the night before (set up coffee, make lunch for work, etc.). Again, this lets me focus on cooking my morning eggs and listing items until my daughter wakes up!

Future state, I’d love it if I had 30 items ready to list like this for every morning of the work week. I’m sure that won’t be possible to maintain every day since it takes a lot of weekend work to get 30 items ready, but imagine listing 1560 items in one year! Holy moly!

So that’s the end of my eBay dreams and today’s ramblings.

Am I the only one out there that dreams about what they love (I’ve also dreamt of volleyball and swung my arm in the middle of the night much to my wife’s chagrin)?

Any glaring holes in my process?

Best changes that you made to bring you over an eBay hump?

 

Image credit: “Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe at Sukyabashi Jiro April 2014” by The White House from Washington, DC – P042314PS-0082. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

German Cuckoo Clock Pine Cone Weight

Since we’re off to the races in 2015, it’s a good time to reflect on a mistake from 2014. Scrutinizing every dollar that I misspent will help me reach the lofty goal of $10,000 profits that I’m targeting this year.

Trimming the weight for the new year

I turned a profit on this cuckoo clock weight, but the return on investment was low. I’ll walk you through my thought process, and feel free to smack me upside the head for each mistake along the way. The goal here is for you to not make the same mistake that I did (and for me to not make these mistakes again)!

I’d love to think that I should have known better, but my 20-20 hindsight is clouding my vision. It’s a lot harder in the moment. Sometimes re-sellers get the equivalent of “beer goggles” when you’re out shopping.

I’d like to coin the term “thrifter’s goggles.

dollar sign sunglasses thrifters goggles

Every re-seller has worn Thrifter’s Goggles at some point.

The “beer goggles” “thrifter’s goggles” are considered to have distorted the “wearer’s” vision, making unattractive people items with low return on investment appear to be worth a lot of money, or at least passably attractive re-sellable.

Onto the actual cuckoo weight and why I bought it.

I love to grab items when they catch my eye, but I guess this does not always pan out. I put the weight in the cart without researching it, and I didn’t even know it was a weight for a cuckoo clock!

I was at one of my local Goodwill stores where you can only get cell phone reception at the FRONT of the store. This weight was with other knickknacks in the back of the store – a literal cell phone dead zone. If I’m unsure about an item, I have to haul it to the front of the store before being able to look up more information about it.

German Cuckoo Clock Weight Pine Cone eBay 1

Sometimes it helps to add in a ruler to the picture to give the buyer a perspective on size.

This thing is HEAVY. You can see on the side that it says 1500 BU. I’m not sure what “BU” means, but the 1500 is grams. This is equal to 3 lb 5 oz. If you have a cuckoo clock, you’ll want to make sure all of the weights that are being used weigh the same. I’d like to think that someone bought a cuckoo clock at a garage sale that was missing a weight, and bought mine to get the clock working correctly.

The nice thing about the weight was that it was very durable. I ended up wrapping it in a bunch of bubble wrap and fitting it into a padded flat rate mailer.

Here’s the details  from the actual eBay sale:

  • Purchase price – $5
  • End Selling Price – $19.99
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $8.23

Total Profit:  $6.76

Mistakes will make you cuckoo

The reason I started off with this post for 2015 is because these are the type of items I DO NOT WANT to sell anymore.

  • The weight wasn’t cheap.
  • It weighs a lot.
  • I had to research it a good deal before listing it.
  • It doesn’t sell for a lot.

As I said in my 2015 goal post and have updated in my new eBay seller FAQ, I am trying to increase my average sale price. I can only control this while listing new items. In the mean time, I’m going to have sales like this where I listed the item months ago, and it may not be up to snuff. This is part of the game though, and at least I know that I’m not spending my current energy on listing low profit items.

In the end, I still turned a profit on this mistake. As someone who ended up re-donating clothes that I bought from thrift stores because of small holes or stains that I missed because of I was wearing my thrifter’s goggles, this sale feels better!

Image Credit: PartyNet.co.za

Work From Home? Part-time eBay Profits

I have a lofty, forward-looking goal – work from home by re-selling on eBay (and a little on Amazon). I would go to thrift stores, garage sales, be the cool kid at the auction, and party it up with people at flea markets (just kidding, they’re a different bunch).

So the big question is:

Can I work from home by just selling on eBay?

Work From Home Computer eBay

Why are all my eBay pictures turning out green on the monitor?

 

Answer: Not yet!

 

2014 Re-Cap

In 2013, I had just over $1,500 in profits from re-selling on eBay and Amazon. I set a lofty goal of $5,500 in profits for 2014 - a ~350% increase!

Here’s the breakdown of my 2014 eBay/Amazon results:

Total Sales (Sales + Shipping – Returns) $12,810.76
Purchase Money $3,506.93
Shipping Fees $1,653.58
Amazon Fees $868.29
Office Supplies/Expenses $708.92
Paypal Fees $423.36
Ebay Fees $380.75
Utilities $342.74
Mileage (just started tracking this) $39.20
TOTAL PROFIT $4,886.99
2014 eBay Profits Update

This will be bursting next year!

89% of my target of $5,500 - short by just $613.01. Damn, that’s pretty close! But this isn’t horse-shoes or hand grenades. So should close even count?

HELL YES!

This is cash in my pocket that helps me sleep at night. My family is saving for our hot water heater, furnace, and HVAC replacements using only money from online re-selling. I believe the profits could be even higher if this type of work was my full-time job!

Where did I go wrong?

The biggest expense for me was new inventory. The “issue” is I have almost two 8′ x 3′ shelves full of inventory still waiting to be listed. That’s a huge amount of material that’s not listed, and as we all know if it’s not listed then it’s not making you money. There’s a gray area between hoarder and eBay re-seller. I’m worried that I’m a little too close to the hoarder side of things.

Most of the other categories are going to increase with sales, so they’re something that’s unavoidable. If I grew my store enough, I would also upgrade to the next level eBay store, incurring higher fees, but paying less overall per listing.

Plan of Action for 2015

I’m going to kill two birds (goals) with one stone.

Bird # 1: Make $10,000 in profits in 2015.

Bird # 2: Get to 500 readers on my blog (e-mail subscriptions and Facebook/Twitter followers combined).

Let’s hit Bird # 1 with some back of the envelope calculations using my 2014 numbers.

Gross sales – $12,810.76

Net Profit – $4,886.99

Number Items Sold – 416

Profit per sale – $11.75

Required sales assuming similar profit/sale – 851

That’s ~3x more in sales compared to 2014. I don’t think that’s going to happen. The way I’m going to hit this sale target is again twofold (I’m still not at Bird # 2 from above, but we’ll get there, I promise).

- Profit per sale – increase my average sold price. Only making $10 an item is great for a few items, but it’s not scalable. I’d love it to be over $20 per item. As a point of reference, I’d only need to sell 500 items to make $10,000 in profits if my margin was still $20. That’s only slightly higher than 2014’s items’ sold. This makes my goal more manageable.

As 2014 has progressed, I’ve been more selective (edit in Rule one of my eBay FAQ) in what I’ve been buying. I have strict rules that I will only accept a lower margin if it will sell on Amazon (due to ease of listing), but otherwise, I want $20 to be the minimum. One more caveat is where I can make one listing for a large quantity. If I’m making $10+, then I’d be OK with that.

B – LIST MORE OFTEN. I’ve been targeting 5 listings a week in 2014. This is not enough. To get to 851, I’d have to list almost 17 items a week. I’m going to start off with 15 as a nice target, and we’ll see how that goes. I’d rather list less but have higher profits.

Note: I am talking about listings. If I have an item that has multiple quantities, I’ll still only count it as one listing. This way I’ll hopefully be higher than my target of 15 items per week in reality.

Now, onto Bird # 2 – Blog readership. I’m not going to go crazy aiming for viral marketing campaigns or anything like that. Right now, if I sustain my current pace, I’ll make enough money from the blog to cover costs, and I’m OK with that. I’m not utilizing the most important part of this blog. I’m talking about something that will allow me to grow my business to the next level, and that is

Public Shaming

If it’s not measured, you’re going to be a big fat loser. -Someone

I’m going to use you guys, my readers, to hold myself accountable! I’ve already created a weekly blog post topic list, and I’m out through March. I’m going to have 1 post a month where I will update on my profits with the same table as above. I’m going to really scrutinize the data instead of randomly posting it every few months.

Governement Accountability Office eBay

Why do I love these government sign pictures?

The other tool which I’ll be using is a goal tracking software… with teeth (stingers?)

Beeminder!

The idea behind Beeminder is that you set goals and then track their completion. Sounds simple, right?

The kicker: If you don’t keep up the rate that’s needed to hit your end goal, then you get whacked. First time, there’s no impact. Next time though, you have to pay them $5. You slip off the road again? BAM Now you pay $10, then $30, then $90, etc. This goes up on an exponential curve. It really makes you want to complete your tasks though. Of course you can lie, but then, what’s the point? I want this goal, and hopefully Beeminder will help keep me on track when I’m not really feeling it. It will even let me plan ahead when I have a vacation coming up. I’ll start using this rate in the new year and will hopefully have a nice little tracker in the side-bar.

The neatest part about Beeminder is the automation process. It takes a bit of work, but I automated Beeminder to count my new listings through Gmail and Zapier (a program that gets web apps to talk to other web apps). When I have a new listing, I receive my confirmation e-mail from eBay/Amazon. This triggers Zapier to add a listing towards my Beeminder Goal. Next step will be to automate my weekly blog post goal too!

So there you have it. I’ve set my goal of $10,000 in profits for 2015! Let’s do this! Who knows, maybe I’ll work from home in a few years if this takes off. If not, then I’m still in better shape financially than just sitting on my butt and watching TV!

 

Image Credit: CarbonCaribou, kafka4prez

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