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To the ebay sellers:

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello forum, I'm a 19-year-old guy trying to make a little more money. I work at a retail job, but obviously that doesn't pay well. Luckily, I have an entrepreneurial calling like you wouldn't believe. Ebay provides the means I need to do a little business on my own (it would be pretty hard to come up with $500,000 right now to start up a real retail store). I have five items listed right now, and it has motivated me to do more (I started them last night and within a few hours four of them got bids). The items I am selling are either items I had that no longer fit me or never fit in the first place (a few shirts and a pair of slacks) or some items I picked up at thrft stores for a few bucks (mainly sport coats and suits). I know that pretty soon I will run out of things to sell, and I would like to move on to selling new items with tags. Where do you guys get your merchandise from, if I may ask? I found one or something...but you need a pretty substantial minimum order. Would anyone be willing to share a source where I could purchase a smaller quantity of items? I appreciate the help. -Eric
post #2 of 14
I get most of my merchandise from January and July/August clearance sales at stores. I tend to focus on women's apparel though, because I have had better luck at selling that. I frequent many message boards and find out what is in demand and I try and grab it. For example, a few months ago, Uggs really became talked about after Jessica Simpson had them on her show and Pam Anderson and a few other celebs were spotted in them. I purchased approximately 12 pairs (at full retail) from a store here in NYC that often gets some in stock. I have sold all of them via EBAY or Craiglist for more than double (like 70-75%) my originial investment. Some Uggs are going for upwards of $400.. I think EBAY is a good place where people who do not have access to trendy items go. As for other places to pick up items to sell, try some consignment shops. I have found great things there and have made an OK amount back on EBAY. But watch for sales in department stores or boutiques when things get marked down 80% or so, and then you can sell it via EBAY for maybe 50% off. Everyone develops their own methods of what works for them, lots of trial and error also. Best of luck.
post #3 of 14
When I opened my ebay account today, there was a link to an 'ebay cafe' forum, where you might pick up some useful tips of the trade. two of my favorite ebay sellers are world class consignment and honest goods.
post #4 of 14
I buy most of my items for resale at Off 5th Avenue (Saks Fifth's outlet store) and Neiman-Marcus Last Call (NM's outlet store) here in Dallas. My best deal was a bulk buy from a guy on eBay of 25 Dunhill shirts. I asked if he had more and he said yes he had about 82 more assorted Dunhill clothing items. I negotiated a fixed price for each item, and bought them all. I easily doubled and tripled my money on those by selling half on eBay and half to an eBay buyer in California who inquired with me if *I* had more Dunhill, and he paid me three to four times what I paid for the items from the original guy. It was great fun and profit. I focus on NWT men's clothes that are only manufactured in European countries. That's my chosen niche. There may be better, more lucrative niches, but I'm happy with mine. By the way, always keep track of your returns on certain brands or specific types of items. Know what you can reasonably sell an item for BEFORE you buy it. For example, I'll go into Neiman-Marcus Last Call and see a Brioni dress shirt marked all the way down to $53. I *know* I can put that out on eBay and sell it for at least twice that much. And, in fact, that's what I just did this week -- the Brioni shirt sold for $123. Here's how I calculate my return: My Cost = $53 Sale Price = $123 ROI = 100 times (Sale Price - My Cost) divided by (My Cost) So, ROI = 100 * ($123 - $53) / $53 Or, ROI = 132% Of course, with fuel costs, eBay charges, PayPal charges, etc. my net ROI is less, but you get the general idea. But, note that I put $53 at risk and more than doubled my money. But, since I knew that I could reasonably get more than $53 for the particular Brioni shirt, it wasn't that much risk at all. Don't always believe that "to get a bigger reward, you have to take a greater risk". That's a bunch of bull, if you know what you are doing. In fact, I view risk as this: Risk = 1 / Knowledge The more you know about a particular investment or business, the less risk you are taking. It's when you don't know what you are doing that you are taking the biggest, most foolish risks and you will lose your shirt (no pun intended). When you start out, spend some time just watching auctions on eBay and noting on a pad of paper what brands and types of clothing are selling for. If you look closely on the search results pages, there is a "Completed Items" link that will show you what price similar items recently sold for. I watched NWT Zanella 100% wool slacks consistently selling for over $100. I made a note of that. When I stumbled across a whole rack of Zanellas for $49.95 each at Off Fifth Avenue, I bought them all, lock, stock and barrel, and gleefully more than doubled my money on all of them. Just watch the marketplace and see what it will bear for certain items. Make notes. Then, wait and watch for prices at your local outlet stores or consignment stores to fall to a very compelling level. Swoop in, buy 'em, and flip 'em. Then, do it again. Remember: if you double a $1 bill 20 times, you'll have more than $1 million. Try it. In my opinion, if you don't think you can at least double your money on a particular item, pass on that item. Your money is better invested elsewhere. After a while, you'll begin to see that, while doubling your money is nice, it all becomes a volume game to make it all worthwhile. Getting enough supply of good clothing at compellingly low prices becomes the biggest problem to solve. That's a problem I struggle with every week. Good luck to you. Logan.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that insightful response, Logan. And to Foxx, I checked the ebay clothing seller's forum, and it seems like mostly middle-aged women who are happy to make a $5 profit on an item. Right now I listed a few Zegna shirts, a pair of Zanella slacks, a Hugo Boss suit, and a Boss black label jacket. They seem to be doing well so far. I might try to sell a few more things. I think the niche that you found is one of the best on ebay. I'd like to focus on mainly European items, high-end 'trendy' designers (Diesel, Energie, etc), and luxury brands, because it seems like those items can be bought at a fairly low price if you look right and then resold for a lot higher. Many times I have come across nice items on clearance racks at Marshalls that just didn't fit me, but I thought I might be able to turn around and sell them for higher. I passed up a $125 pair of Replay jeans at Marshalls for $3 a few months ago, and I am still kicking myself for that one. They were new with tags, dark-washed worn denim and a boot-cut fit, 29x32...not the most common size but someone could wear them. Those are the sorts of items I am looking for to make a small profit. Any word on sites that offer 'ebay packages'; mixed lots of NWT designer clothing? There was one that had a package that went something like this: $599 for 12 items, one is guranteed to be a pair of top name shoes or a handbag (gucci, prada, fendi) valued at $500, one accessory valued at $300, and 10 other items. I just don't want to buy that and get stuck with a bunch of flourescent yellow and pink shirts and some skin-tight jeans.
post #6 of 14
Ya'll are braver than me. Where do I get my merchandise? If I told ya I'd have to kill ya.
post #7 of 14
Nah, I'd stay away from those packages. Become an "expert" on five to six brands. Learn the market for these brands. Figure out what people are willing to pay for those brands. Only buy those brands when you find a good deal. Buying a "package" and not knowing specifically what you will be getting sounds risky to me. I've had some good luck with the odd sizes. It's interesting -- the retailers cannot sell them so they mark them way down and, meanwhile, the 28 inch waist guys go to eBay looking for their size because the retailers don't carry much in their size. I have one guy who is a U.S. general based in Germany who is really a small guy who likes nice clothes, like Ralph Lauren Purple Label. He's often asking me if I have anything new in his size, long after I sold him the first pair of RLPL shorts. So, now when I go out looking for clothes, if I see something in his size that's marked way down, I'll pick it up and sell it directly to him. He's not necessarily looking for a great deal -- he's just trying to find nice clothes in his size, period. I'm happy to help him find his clothes and profit at the same time. So, after a while, you'll have a customer base that you can keep in mind while you shop. This definitely increases your odds of finding clothes you know you can flip and profit from. At the same time, you're adding value in people's lives by helping them solve their unique clothing challenges. Logan.
post #8 of 14
Mr. Harris and i shop at the same place evidently :-) You are hitting the right idea... when you are looking for bargains henceforth look for all ridiculous bargains - not just your size. Over time you'll figure it out. My humble advice is this - sell a couple things, then use the money from them to buy a couple more and a decent camera - if they can't SEE the item they will not bid on the item. Shoot me an email offline and I'll be happy to help you with a few layout/photography tips. best of luck and work yer tail off.
post #9 of 14
I share my insights because I believe it's not necessary to keep general "secrets" about this business -- there is enough opportunity and profit to go around for all participants. Negotiating directly with retailers and wholesalers in your local apparel industry is a natural source of items as well. Just start talking to people and asking around. Many people will show an interest in helping you find inventory that you can flip.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
 My humble advice is this - sell a couple things, then use the money from them to buy a couple more and a decent camera - if they can't SEE the item they will not bid on the item.  Shoot me an email offline and I'll be happy to help you with a few layout/photography tips.
Luckily for me I received a Minolta Dimage digital camera for christmas. 4 megapixels and 4x optical zoom get the job done okay. Plus, it has a pretty substantial 'manual' mode so I can control the aperature and shutter speed as well. The reason I asked for it is because I wanted to do more ebay selling, so hopefully I'll use it a LOT. My dad does and enormous amount of ebay selling and has a studio at home with all the correct lighting, but I've been photographing the items against a natural stone (light tan) wall in our living room that gets a lot of sunlight. The lighting always turns out well and the background is pleasing. We also have a darker slate floor near the fire place that makes a good background for doing close-ups and also receives a good amount of natural light.
post #11 of 14
Just wondering.... don't any of you Ebay sellers go to Europe during the sales to buy goods to resell? I mean, just last summer, in Italy I saw some Prada shoes for Euro 50, Lidfort wholecuts for Euro 100, Zegna suits for Euro 300, etc. I would think that such prices could justify a trip to harvest some goodies. Plus you get a beautiful trip to boot.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
I think it would be wonderful to take a trip to Europe, but I don't think it would pay to go for the purpose of strictly buying goods to resell. Figure $3,000 for airfare, dining, and a hotel for a week. From what I've heard, the strength of the Euro makes items pretty much comparable (sometimes even cheaper) than goods in the US market. I'm not sure if Italy or France would have deeper clearances on the merchandise, but this may be the case. Couple this with shipping to send the items back home (you'd have to buy a lot of items to make the trip worthwhile) and you may not make a whole lot of money. However, if you are planning a vacation anyway and happen to stumble across some fantastic items at bargain prices, then it would be very worth your while to bring them home to sell.
post #13 of 14
Italy does make sense depening on how you go about it - Milan's outdoor markets on Saturdays in the summer can be very good ($300 Euro for a NWT Luciano Babera suit). The after season clearance sales in Rome are good as well. Remember - you also get a tax rebate as a tourist. Shipping it back? Take 4 big empty suitcases and fill'm, even if they come in overweight that's $150 or so. For duties there is a pretty good per person exemption - of course those 6 suits in differnt sizes are all for you - right?
post #14 of 14
of course those 6 suits in differnt sizes are all for you - right?
Well, yes, sometimes I do get a little bloated...
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