In teaching Making Money from Thrifting this past year, Carrie and I have easily learned twice as much as we knew when we started. Each student gave us an insight, each new consignment store we visited taught us lessons in making money and we have now experienced the full cycles of styles and seasons.
Inside the cycles of styles and seasons there are the subtle changes of personnel and donations available in thrift stores and estate sales as well as the markets we use to take our recycled bounty. Understanding these underlying cycles and having a keen eye for the ever shifting markets will help insure that the hobby business or a home based business using the model of the reuse of resources is as successful as you want it to be.
Part of this appears to be an intuition about when it is time to change. If you are not pleased with the contract and profit split of a consignment store, explore ones you haven’t tried yet. Switch your focus to a different category as in moving from adult clothing to children’s…or pottery to glass…or high end to mass market.
We suggest that you shop the malls and furniture stores and catalogs to see what is offered for sell in the retail world. Going to any mall is now very depressing for me thinking about the huge prices people pay for goods not made by hand or not made by hand in a country they can make a decent wage. But, you must see what the “public” in your town or part of town is doing with their money. Ask the store owners what the most popular product or styles is, and then begin combing the thrift stores and get the product out as soon as you can to a secondary market. Track the money you have made from items and if there is a drop for a couple of months, take a step in a different direction. Even if you are making a bit of green, be ready! But, and this is the bottom line: Enjoy what you are doing or don’t do it!!
Joanna Hudson and Carrie Smart
Join Joanna & Carrie’s last class on January 25, 2014 and find out how you too can Make Money Thrifting!