Those TV stars and YouTube influencers make it look so easy. They spend a few hours rummaging through thrift stores and flea markets, come away with a good haul, and then make a ton of money selling everything they purchased at much higher prices. Watching their videos makes it seem like anybody can make money on thrifting.
So, can you turn your weekly thrift hauls into an actual business? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that you can make just about anything into a business in this country. Let’s face it, we buy cheese forced into an aerosol can and bottled water that comes from the same city supply as the water from our own taps. So yes, you can make a business out of thrifting.
The ‘no’ portion of the answer relates strictly to your ability and willingness. Running a business – any kind of business – is not easy. Any successful business owner will tell you that making money takes a lot of time, effort, and sweat. Very few business owners make money without putting in a lot of effort. Needless to say, turning thrift hauls into cash requires work, too.
Deciding What to Sell
Your first challenge is deciding what you are going to sell. You have lots of choices. Some thrifters focus on clothing. They scour garage and estate sales. They spend a lot of time at local thrift stores. They go wherever they have to go to find clothes they can sell.
Another option is to sell home furnishings and decorative items. You can source your items and sell them as-is. Alternatively, you could follow the example of Jami Ray Vintage out in Lehi, Utah. Their store features furniture and decorative items that have been refurbished, restored, or aesthetically enhanced.
The list goes on. You could concentrate on consumer electronics, books and videos, furniture, tools, or whatever strikes your fancy. The key is finding something that both interests you and has a decent resale market.
Deciding Where to Sell It
Deciding what to sell is the starting point. Next, you have to decide where to sell it. You might opt for an online business model that involves selling your pieces on sites like Amazon and eBay. Etsy and Poshmark are also on the table. There certainly is no shortage of online platforms through which you could sell your inventory.
If you would rather sell in person, think about local co-ops and flea markets. A brick-and-mortar retail store is another option, but it is an expensive one. You will need quite a bit of upfront capital and a business license to get into a storefront.
Finding a Way to Market
Having inventory and a place from which to sell it leads to marketing. Every successful business is marketed to one extent or another. Yours will be no different. If you expect to sell your thrift haul finds, people need to know that you’re selling them. You are going to have to get the word out.
Social media is a great platform for getting the marketing ball rolling. You can also place online classifieds. You will probably want a website along with the help of an SEO and digital marketing firm. Just remember the fundamental rule of business: you have to spend money to make money. Marketing costs money that might take time for you to recover.
Your thrift hauls provide you endless hours of enjoyment. But now you’re looking to turn your hobby into a legitimate business. Is it possible? Yes. Are you guaranteed success? No. Take your chances and see what happens.