February 2015 Profits – Good not Great

2 months in the book, and February was an improvement over January! We’re headed in the right direction, but we’ve still got a ways to go.

February by the Numbers

Jan-15 Feb-15 Total
Income
Sales 975.61 928.27 1903.88
Shipping Income 24.73 38.12 62.85
Returns 0.00 -85.99 -85.99
Expense
eBay Fees 105.98 98.33 204.31
PayPal Fees 38.90 30.14 69.04
Shipping Costs 150.29 121.96 272.25
Cost of Goods Sold 170.5 14.12 184.62
Mileage 19.20 4.02 23.22
Utilities 25.35 0.00 25.35
Amazon Fees 8.41 15.43 23.84
Office Supplies 20.65 0.00 20.65
Office Expense 374.94 0.00 374.94
Advertising 37.00 0.00 37.00
Other Expenses 0.00 23.75 23.75
Profit / Loss 49.12 572.65 621.77
OK-button_-_Macro_photography_of_a_remote_control eBay February

I can’t wait for the “KICK ASS!” button to make an appearance.

Seeing numbers below my goal ($833 profit per month) makes me worried that I won’t make it. I know that there’s not any real world consequence, especially since I kind of pulled the the $10,000 number out of my butt a hat. The issue is that I’ve put myself out there, and now I want to hit my milestone! Plus, that cash will cover some major HVAC upgrades.

Last year, I was short by a small amount. Talking about it doesn’t make me feel that excited. Hopefully tracking my profits monthly (and regularly) will let me push through the barriers here and really get some traction.

The more I look back though, I have improved over last year, and it’s all about that purchase money.

I spent $3,500 on new inventory last year! That’s a TON! And it was about $500 in January/February 2014 alone.

In 2015, I’ve been going through a lot of inventory that I bought last year while limiting my purchases. It’s really paying off. Almost all of my sales go right to profits.

I did have 1 small trip to Goodwill last week, but it wasn’t planned1. The items are prepped and will be photographed once I get through my next batch of items to be listed.

So, to recap:

Goal is $10,000 in profits for 2015. So far, I’m at $621.77 for two months.

If we assume that I make the same profits for the rest of 2015 as I did in February, that gives me a total of ~$6,000+. That’s a big deficit!

Insert U.S. national debt joke here.

So this monthly check helps me out in two ways.

First, I get a needed swift kick in the butt. It will be a lot easier for me to course correct now in February March than in the fall. So there’s that.

Second, I now have my priorities. I haven’t been focusing enough on the thing I promised to. The listing!

I feel like this is similar to weight loss where everyone focuses on the workout when the diet is 80% of the issue.

Now, I set myself up with a little bit of wiggle room when I included my tracking mechanism on Beeminder. So let’s check out the graph.

So does that mean that my goal (15 listings per week) isn’t aggressive enough?

I still feel like part of the issue is that I’m transitioning more and more to clothing. I love it because of the ease of shipping and my knowledge in it, but it’s definitely seasonal (who wants to buy shorts when they’re getting hit with snow???).

On top of that, they’re more of a long tail item. I think this is just inherent in the clothing category, and as such, I need to build up my inventory quickly.

15 items a week just doesn’t seem to be enough. If I’m still behind the 8 ball in March, then I’ll look at increasing my goal or maybe going through a maniac day. Something ridiculous like “list 50 items in a day!”

So, once again, I’m not on top of my goal. The important thing is that I’ve realized this, and I’m making some corrections. No more tablet purchases.

In the end, I’m still making money on a hobby and I’m having a lot of fun doing it, even if I have room for improvement. Right now I’ll focus on getting through my unlisted piles, and really pushing to clear out as much stuff before garage sale season starts up in about a month!

I get spring fever, but mostly it’s just garage sale fever! It’s not just the eBay dreams

Image Credit: Maximilian Schönherr,


  1. The only reason I was there was due to a car not/barely starting. The mechanic we go to was right around the corner from the Goodwill. I spent $14.12 which I think will sell for a minimum of $150. Right in the $20+ profit per item range.  I was lucky that I was able to start the car and didn’t have to get it towed! I didn’t think it was just the battery since I didn’t hear that terrible clicking sound. It seemed like more of a starter issue if I’d have guessed. Thankfully, we’ve been putting away money each month for auto related maintenance expenses (gotta love YNAB) so we were totally prepared. 

USPS Boxes for Free!

The bottom line in this hobby is very important. You try to squeeze out every dollar you can. The hard part is that when you start out, you don’t have the ability to scale. As your eBay hobby (business?) grows, you can start to buy larger quantities of routine shipping materials – think mailers, bags, and tape. When you buy more, the price gets closer to $0. But this requires a larger initial investment which most new sellers don’t have! It’s definitely a catch 22.

To help you get out of this space, I recommend two things.

First, get free boxes anyway you can. Amazon shipment came? FREE BOX! Talk to the secretary at work, and let them know that you’re on the lookout. FREE BOXES. Set up an RSS feed on Craigslist for boxes in the free section. Tell your friends and family that you want any bubble wrap they get their hands on! I’m telling you, sometimes you get that Christmas morning feeling when you get a free box!

The second thing you can do to minimize your costs is to check in with the USPS!

USPS – You are AWESOME

I’m not going to talk about how great the USPS is here. It really blows my mind how they can re-locate items from my blue box to wherever I tell them to. They do this within a week in most cases. It’s just ridiculous.

On top of the USPS quickly shipping huge amounts of items all over the US, they also offer a service which I use all the time.

The USPS literally gives boxes away. Delivered right to your door FOR FREE.

There’s a caveat here: all the boxes are either Priority or Priority Express. If you’re shipping light things like t-shirts or video games, you’ll be overpaying for shipping by using these boxes. But, if you were like me when I started out and just needed ANYTHING to put an item in, these can be a life saver!

Here’s the link to the USPS store with all of the free office supplies.

My go to is the Padded Flat Rate Mailer. This thing lets me stuff in almost any piece of clothing and ship it coast to coast for $5.35 ($5.70 if you don’t have TRS).

The other ones that I like are the Regional A and B boxes. There’s two sizes of each, but they give you a cheaper rate than just straight Priority.

Finally, there’s the Priority Shoebox. This is NOT A FLAT RATE BOX! You pay regular Priority prices, but a free box is still really nice!

Pro-Tip: I ship most shoes without a box, even if they’re NWT. I make this clear in the listing, and it cuts down on the weight. The only exception or this would be a collector’s pair (think vintage Air Jordans).

Vintage Air Jordan Free USPS

Two Words – SPACE JAM.

So, for any of you readers who are getting started and trying to pinch pennies, try out the USPS website, and order some free boxes to help alleviate any start up costs! They usually come in about 1-2 weeks.

And remember, if it doesn’t fit in that flat rate mailer, you’re just not trying hard enough! Seriously though, sometimes all it takes is an extra set of hands from an annoyed spouse to get a bulky sweater squished into one of these babies.

eBay is my RPG

My last post included some startling information about me. I wasn’t one of the cool kids in school. There, I said it. It’s out in the open. Wait, you’re surprised that all the cool kids don’t go out every Saturday in the summer and buy things at garage sales to re-sell on eBay?

I used to play a lot of video games and computer games, including RPGs and MMORPGs. Think Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft (before it got really popular and mainstream – we paved the way for that dumb Mr. T commercial).

Pick your own Caption! A - I think I saw that goat guy at the last flea market I went to. B - One feather in my cap is that I've never done Live Action Roleplaying. That's where you beat each other up with Styrofoam weapons.

Pick your own Caption!
A - I think I saw that goat guy at the last flea market I went to.
B - One feather in my cap is that I’ve never done Live Action Roleplaying. That’s where you beat each other up with Styrofoam weapons.

My wife (girlfriend at the time), several other friends, and I would all set up our desktop computers (no one had laptops), and play till all hours of the night. We had a blast. Killing monsters, leveling up, researching the best ways and equipment to improve our characters, and the loot. Oh the loot. In the end, we’d end up either selling our loot to other people or equip it and kill more monsters to get more loot.

People spend a lot of time playing these games, but I’ve gotten out of the habit. I’m recovered. And who needs it? I have something else that gives me a lot of the same feelings that I chased while playing video games. Instead of paying to play a game, I have an eBay side hustle where I actually make money!

eBay as an RPG

Since I’ve been selling on eBay for a few years now, I’ve come to realize that it has a lot of similarities to the RPGs.

Leveling

You start out at level 1 with an RPG. As you progress through the story and kill more monsters, you gain more experience and levels.

In eBay, you start out with 0 feedback, and it increases as you get more sales and buyers leave you feedback.

Quests

Characters in RPGs have you go out and walk around, finding items or killing monsters. When you do this, you either get experience or you get or new items (loot). You need to search every corner to make sure that you didn’t miss any extra goodies.

I like to think of my garage sale and thrift hunting as my questing. I’ll even stop at a non-advertised garage sale (like a side quest!) if I see one. I also make sure to check every area of the thrift store so I don’t miss anything.

Combat

You fight monsters or other characters to either get loot and experience.

Let me talk to you about this one buyer I had. I felt like I needed to be ready for combat! Instead, I offered a full refund on return, and then I stayed away from the eBay forums and eCommerce Bytes. Those are dark places, and we don’t even link to them for fear of getting lost. Action beats whining around here.

The Psychology of eBay

Sigmund_Freud_Bobble_Head_Wackelkopf eBay

I’m sure Freud would love the fact that I got started selling on eBay because my Dad was having a lot of success with his store!

So eBay and RPGs are similar, but there’s some even creepier reasons why selling on eBay is borderline addictive. Cracked.com had a great article (NSFW) that compared RPGs to Skinner Boxes and breaks down these methods. When I read that article, I see a few of these methods in the eBay system.

Variable Ratio Rewards

It’s been shown that if you want someone to keep coming back, that they need to have random rewards that are tied to how many times you play. Think lottery tickets and slot machines. Or RPGs and eBay.

You actually get hit twice in this eBay “game” – sourcing and selling!

The more garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets you go to, the more goodies you can find. Has anyone else felt compelled to stop at that one garage sale on the way home even though your car is already filled? “Think of all the goodies I might find to re-sell!” or “I feel good about this next garage sale.” I sound like one of those slot junkies at the casino. “Just one more pull, and Grandma’s gonna be rich!”

Note: I do not actually call myself Grandma.

Then there’s the selling. The more items I list, the more sales I have. We all know how awesome that “cha-ching” sound is. The thing is, you can’t force it to happen more often. You can increase your average rate though. And how do we do that? By going out to garage sales, buying more stuff, and listing more! Rinse and repeat and try not to become a hoarder.

Avoidance

Avoidance is giving you a negative action when you stop doing things. The example in the article is that your Farmville crops die if you stop taking care of them. Now, is this true for eBay?

Caveat: I haven’t seen any proof of this, but damn it, it really feels true when you’re having a slow week like the one I just had.

There are rumors that if you aren’t listing consistently, your sales dip (or your listings get buried). Now, we know that if we list more, we will increase our sales (assuming we’re not buying useless junk). We can’t force it. There may be a lot going on here.

Is this just you noticing your sales rate decrease, or are your listings getting bumped down in best match result? Are you actually just ending up with your “worse” stuff in the store since all the good stuff sold? Are you wasting time worrying and complaining on the internet when you could be photographing or listing? WHO THE HELL KNOWS!

In the end, we can’t control anything but the number of items in our stores, the quality of those items, and the quality of our descriptions and pictures. That’s it. So if we want our eBay stores to sell more items. We need to keep listing. And list more. And list after that too.

The best part about this? It will lead to some more of those nice little random “cha-ching” sounds. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re all living for. The money’s  nice, but it’s also pretty cool to realize someone else saw the value in that old pair of boots that you just sold. Take that judgy thrift store clerk.

 

Image Credit: RalfHuels, Gizlog

Vintage Mille Bornes Card Game

The toy and game area of the thrift store is normally jam packed with stuff. You’ll find tons of cool things you can flip. I’ve discussed a lot of these previously “fun” flips already:

If it’s not obvious yet, I’m not, haven’t ever been, and don’t plan on being one of the cool kids. Because of this, I feel at home in the toy and electronics section. And by “electronics” I mean video games - no use lying here.. I’ve come to terms with this, and I figure that I can use my love and knowledge to my advantage!

1971 Parker Brothers Mille Bornes Card Game

That green thing is a card tray. More card games need to use these to help keep game-play organized!

A French Card Game?

The Mille Bornes card game was a French car-themed game that was made in 1954. The idea behind the game is that you’re doing a touring race with the other players. The objective is to be the first to get to 1000 km while avoiding hazards such as flat tires. It sounds fun, and I wish I got to play it before I sold it! Maybe I’ll see it again?

Pro Tip – You can use eBay as your own Rent-A-Center. You can buy video and board games, and  re-sell them once you’re done playing them! I’ve done this with a few video games where I only ended up paying the eBay fees on my sale.

Here’s the details of the flip.

  • Purchase price – $2.14
  • End Selling Price – $26.99 + 5.60 S/H
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $7.73

Total Profit:  $22.72 This flip is right in my target range. The thing is, if I had seen it on the shelf now and checked completed listings, I’d probably not even buy it!

Timing a Flip

I’ve talked about this before when I flipped my huge RC plane, but timing is everything on a lot of items. In that situation, I flipped the plane for a cool $140 profit (sold for $189.99 including S&H). By the time I got around to writing a blog post about it ~5 months later, they were selling for $36 including S&H. The sucker cost me over $25 to ship it, so I’m not sure how the seller even made a profit!

The Mille Bornes card game lesson isn’t as drastic, but it still points to the same result. I sold this about 6 months ago for a $32.59. Here are completed listings that I just found.

Mille Bornes 1971 Completed Listings eBay

There were a few that were closer to the $30 mark, but a lot were lower.

This just re-inforces the List it and Forget it (LIFI) idea to me. I’m not in this game for a quick nickel. Let’s take that slow quarter and list it high. The right buyer will come!

Box condition

Have you ever seen one of those game boxes with tape all along the corners to hold it together?

Peck's Bad Boy Board Game eBay Taped Corners

I think every version of Mouse Trap looks like this after the first time it’s been played!

Depending on the age, you can still sell games in this condition. Someone who’s going to use the game might grab a damaged box one on the cheap. They still get to enjoy the game at a fraction of full price. Collectors will most likely shy away though. A very old game can be the exception.

Is the game complete?

When you buy any board or card game, you need to check to see if all of the pieces are there. There are three resources I use for this.

The first is other eBay listings. Sometimes, another seller has already done all of the research for you and will include the game components in their listings! These listings usually have “complete” in the title, so you can use that as a key word when you’re doing your own research. I don’t trust this method on its own unless I have to, but it’s a great starting point.

The second resource is the instructions. Newer games explicitly list all of their pieces, but the older ones were a little more “loosey-goosey.” When I listed the Mill Borne card game, I wasn’t sure if all the cards were there just using eBay and the instructions.

Next, I go to the last (and probably best) resource for board games on the internet.

Board Game Geeks (BGG)

This site has reviews, tips, instructions, and general ratings of basically every board game ever made. It’s fantastic. We’re going to finish this blog post up on a tangent!

800px-Tangent-calculus_a eBay

I think I’m going to try to use this picture once per month.

My wife and I love playing board games. We used to play a lot more before our daughter was born, but that’s life I guess. And no, I’m not just talking about Monopoly. We’ve been playing board games since college when we got introduced to Settlers of Catan. This was before it was sold at Target too. So yeah, we’re board game hipsters. Back when we actually had this elusive “free time” and had “disposable income” that wasn’t being thrown at daycare and the mortgage, we were able to play a large variety of games.

The best resource to find a game, hands down, is BGG. The reason it’s so helpful is that you can add a lot of filters, like how many players you have, how long you want to play, the style of game (party, trivia, war, etc.). On top of all this, every game on the site has extensive reviews, comments from other players, and even some videos to help with instructions. It even has helpful links to eBay and Amazon if you want to purchase the game. If you’re looking for a new board game, this site is the place to go.

So there you have it. I’m not only becoming an clothing re-seller expert, but I’m also a gaming geek. Just don’t give me a swirly.

Image Credit: Wikimedia

January 2015 Profits – Need More Listings

Happy Groundhog Day! In line with David Seah’s Groundhog Day review, I’m going to look at how I’m doing and where I need to go if I want to hit my 10k in profits for 2015. I’ll break away from his methods and report profits the first of every month, but I figure it’s as good a day to start as any.

On a side note, am I the only one hoping for a huge snowstorm still? I’m sure any New England readers would slap me for saying that. We haven’t gotten anything significant down here, and it’s been pretty disappointing.

Huge Slim Profits

I was hoping to come out in January, guns blazing, and hitting goals left and right. Let’s just get this out of the way and pull off the band-aid.

I barely turned a profit!

Deflated Balloon Wikipedia eBay

This represents the sound of my ego deflating. You might not be able to hear it over the sound of Seattle Seahawks fans whining though…

Now, there’s some silver lining here so let’s start out with that. I’ve increased my eBay store size from 176 items on 1/5/2015 to 261 items as of 2/1/2015. That’s 118 items listed in the month of January! (I also sold 33 items). That’s a lot of listing! Prepping over the weekend and listing 5+ items every morning has really been working out. I could be over 500 listings in just a few months at this pace.

I’m also hitting my listing goal for Beeminder:

The auto-integration has really helped me keep on track listing at least 15 items per week. I’ll probably ratchet that up a little in the future. I’ve built up a great buffer just in case I slip up, but I do no plan on doing that!

I will be using GoDaddy Bookkeeping to keep track of these numbers so I don’t have to do any of the calculations. On top of that, it will force me to keep up on the data entry.

Jan-15 Total
Income Total
1,000.34 1,000.34
Sales 975.61 975.61
Shipping Income 24.73 24.73
Expense Total
952.21 952.21
eBay Fees 106.97 106.97
PayPal Fees 38.90 38.90
Shipping Costs 150.29 150.29
Cost of Goods Sold (New Inventory)* 170.50 170.50
Mileage 19.2 19.2
Utilities 25.35 25.35
Amazon Fees 8.41 8.41
Office Supplies 20.65 20.65
Office Expense** 374.94 374.94
Advertising*** 37.00 37.00
Profit / Loss 48.13 48.13

So yeah, that’s not too great. I mean, it’s still in the positive. So there’s that.

Where did all the profits go?

They all went to those pesky little asterisks. Let’s get through with my whining explanations as to what these were.

*First note is that I only count my new inventory as an expense when I buy it. I do not remove it from my sales as an average cost of goods sold. I’ll clarify how I’m tracking my COGS in a future tax update.

But onto how I actually spent the money… I swore up and down I was going to refrain from buying this January. But then there was an estate sale right in our development, and my wife wanted to go! So basically this is all her fault (not really).

I went, spent $20 on ~6 items, and we also bought a couch! It was a pull-out love seat in fantastic shape for only $50. But no, I couldn’t include it in my cost of goods.

So when I returned with my car to pick up the couch, I mentioned to the lady that I would love to take all of the clothing and shoes from her at the end of the day. She told me to return after 1.

There were 33 pairs of shoes (women’s size 5. Some generic brands and some nicer ones), a pair of cowboy boots, and a ton of leftover clothing. I got it for about $110, but the deal required that I take all of it. I was able to group a good amount together plus donate a bunch of it. As such, I’m going to sell a big chunk of these in lots, and probably, *gasp* at auctions no less! I just want to move these piles. They’re next on my list as it was 3+ garbage bags full of listable items!

** Sigh. I bought a tablet with a keyboard. It’s a Microsoft Surface 2 (RT), and it has let me gather listing information a lot easier. I’m using it to add all of my measurements, and it’s streamlining my listing process. The tablet came pre-loaded with the Microsoft Office suite too!

It’s not an entertainment tablet like all of the iPads and the Android tablets. Still, this is a lot of money to drop on a tool when I’m trying to hit a ridiculous goal. That hindsight isn’t making me feel great about the purchase, but when I’m using it, I’m really appreciating it.

***This is a blog plugin that let’s me easily add Amazon affiliate items to my posts (including pictures and buy buttons). They’re over on my Tools of the Trade page. I’m trying it out and figured that $37 was worth a shot. Theoretically it will pay for itself and help keep this blog in at least the black (break even would be perfect for now). I’ve made a few dollars from ads, but I don’t think I can count this blog as a side hustle!

These numbers aren’t going to cut it if I want to hit my $10,000 in profits. I’m already starting in the hole now, and I’m a month behind.

Remember, I’ll need to have $833 in profit each month. If we ignored the tablet purchase, I’d still only be at $423.07 in profits, or about 50% below my target. So while the tablet purchase wasn’t ideal, it still wasn’t the only thing that was holding me back.

I did sell some brands from my clothing series including an L.L. Bean fleece, 3 Pendleton Flannels, 3 Polo Ralph Lauren shirts, a Woolrich sweater, and pearl snap! Plus I sold another pair of my Fashion Bug plus sized pants too! There’s definitely profits in clothing!

Next steps – Always Be Listing

The point of these monthly breakdowns is twofold. First, I’m updating my readers on how I’m progressing using real numbers and not just looking at potential (looking at you haul video people). We all know that the buying is fun, but it doesn’t make you anything but a hoarder if you’re not listing.

The more important reason is to give myself a smack upside the head when I’m not hitting my goals.

Let’s just say this is a sobering wake-up. Here’s my plan to have higher profits in February

  • Keep on listing. This is a no-brainer. Listing more yields to more sales.
  • Don’t buy any expensive electronics. I’ve done it, it’s helping, but I don’t need more (even though I do want a few).
  • Don’t buy anymore inventory. If I were trying to do this full time, I couldn’t afford the luxury of just buying whenever I wanted to. To simulate this, I’ll refrain from buying in the month of February. OR ELSE.

So, with Groundhog Day upon us, I’m going to course correct and get to where I want to go!  Don’t want to be living the same month over and over again for the rest of the year.

groundhog-day-bill-murray-day-ebay'

Sometimes I feel this crazy.

Image Credit: Coyau, Doddle

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!

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