Tips when shopping at thrift stores

Happy 2018 folks!

So Q4 killed my reselling numbers and spirit, but I will be sharing more details about that in my next post. For now, I wanted to share 5 tips that I’ve adopted during my thrifting trips. Whether you’re doing this as a side hustle or as a pastime, here’s what works for me.

  1. Have no expectations- Unlike a clothing store, thrifting is a blessing and a curse. You might spend hours sifting through things, only to find a gem or nothing, but that’s the beauty of it. When I thrift, I don’t have any expectations but try to keep two things in mind- my current inventory and the items that don’t work for me. Other than that, anything is fair game. With an eye for detail that enables me to catch flaws and my e-bay app handy, I love going through racks of clothing and shoes. I fill my cart up with the items I like or I think will sell, BUT ALWAYS inspect them over and over again before I leave. The most disappointing thing is to buy a damaged item.
  2. Who cares about sizing-  This is something I’ve gotten used to, especially when I’ve scored designer items for less than a cup of Starbucks coffee. When I’m looking at items for myself or for my online store(s), I’m always thinking about the fit and quality. If the item doesn’t fit but can be tailored, is it worth it? (cue in Missy Elliott) If the answer is “yes,” get it and take it to your local tailor.
  3. Best times to shop- First thing in the morning or right before it closes- Some of my best finds have been when the store opens, before they close or when the weather was bad. Something about an empty thrift store keeps my mind at ease and focused on the important task. When shopping first thing in the AM, you get first access to their daily inventory; and before they close, the fresh inventory for the following day.
  4. Location and pricing are key- Living in NYC (The Fashion Mecca) of the world, thrift stores are a little higher than other parts of USA (comparable with Cali) however, you will find some of the best and most unique pieces while thrifting. For this reason, I’m very picky about my selection and try to be as knowledgeable about the reselling value.  When I first started thrifting to resell, the brand name and what other resellers were doing was my holy grail. If reseller so and so, sold 7 for all Mankind Dojo Jeans so could I. After a pile of used jeans sitting in my closet and having to discount designer items, I realized sourcing is not black and white.  However, my data and selling history is. If an item did well in the past, it will probably do well again. I also need to stay true to my style and customer type. For this reason, kids’ and women’s shoes will always be my bread and butter.
  5. Don’t thrift on an empty stomach- Thrifting is like a full-time job. Sometimes you can spend up to three-four hours in a store going through merchandise. If you do this on an empty stomach, you will start picking up things that don’t make sense or are damaged. For this, I always encourage people to go thrifting on a full stomach and have a bottle of water handy.

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Thanks for reading, next blog post will be about how I break down making $1,200 in 30 days!

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