#1 Start with What You Have
How can you start an online thrift store with no money? Easily! Step one, go through your home and collect anything that's in good condition and no longer used or needed. If you're like the average person, you probably have a ton of stuff at home that's just sitting there collecting dust. If you're like the average American woman, you can multiple that stuff by a million! We are notorious for buying things that we just "had to have", and then using those things once before they get pushed to the backs of our minds. The very first item that I sold on Ebay came straight out of my closet. It was a jacket that I couldn't fit, but it was also my way of testing the waters. What do you have just lying around?Photo Credit: Shanna Camilleri
Right now, I'm on a no-thrift challenge. I have too many things in my garage that haven't been listed to sell yet on my online thrift store, and too much stuff around my house that I need to get rid of. I cleaned out my kids' closets, and collected a pile of clothes and shoes to sell on my online thrift store. You can do the same.
#2 Order Your Free Supplies
Did you know that the United States Postal Service (USPS) will ship free mailing supplies right to your door? Yep! All you have to do is go online and order the type and quantity needed. The only catch is that the supplies can only be used to ship priority mail or priority express mail. As an online thrift reseller of mostly clothes and shoes, I primarily ship using first class and priority mail.
If I ship priority, then I use the free priority mailers or boxes pictured above. There is an assortment of free mailers to choose from. It just depends on your shipping needs. Sometimes I will have an item that qualifies for priority mail but is too big to fit in the padded flat rate envelope, or the shipping is too expensive to ship using the priority box. In those cases I use a poly mailer. Poly mailers come in all sizes, designs, and qualities. I purchase the poly mailers sold by this particular Ebay vendor, because they are of good quality and are reasonably priced.
Classes of Mail
How do you know when to use priority vs first class?
- Priority mail- The item(s) weighs more than 16 oz (up to 70 lbs) and are small enough to fit in one of the priority mailers or boxes.
- First class mail- The item(s) weighs 16 oz. or less
- Media mail- The material sent must be educational media (books, dvd's, cd's, etc.) and weigh no more than 70 lbs.
- Priority mail flat rate- The item(s) weighs more than 16 oz (up to 70 lbs) and are small enough to fit in one of the padded priority mailers marked flat rate.
#3 Become an Ebay Seller
Create an Ebay account and start selling. Frequently Ebay will run a promotional offer that waives the fee to list an item. Keep in mind that you never have to pay anything up front to sell Ebay. They get their cut once a month when you make a sale.
Where there is a will, there is a way. When I'm really focused and listing like I should, I do $500 or more in sales. That money, minus my seller fees, is extra money that I use to re-invest in my online thrift store on supplies, equipment, and advertising. What could you do with a couple hundred extra dollars a month? Take a chance and see what happens!Photo Credit: Garrhet Sampson