How I Made $5,000 Reselling Clothes Online

Aaron Smet
3 min readJul 22, 2019

After college, I had to find a way to make some money while living at my parents’ house and sending out job applications. What I discovered was a lucrative side hustle. Here’s how I did it.

Margins

The key to becoming a successful online reseller was understanding margins — the cost at which I bought an item and the price at which I sold it. The greater the margins, the higher the profitability. I realized that lowering the cost of my inventory and business supplies could increase my margins. I found that sourcing all my clothing from the Goodwill Outlets and taking advantage of free post office supplies was the way to go!

Sourcing

The Goodwill Outlet offered a discount once I reached 25 pounds of clothing. To maximize my savings, I made sure to leave with 25 pounds every time. My strategy was to shop for clothing of all sizes so that I could reach 25 pounds within a reasonable amount of time. On average, it took me 3 to 4 hours. While most of the items I picked up were women’s clothing, I also made sure not to neglect men’s clothing because they shop online too!

Let’s do the Math

To qualify for the Goodwill discount, I needed 25 pounds of clothing. Assuming the average article of clothing weighed 10 ounces:

10 articles of clothing = 6.25 lb.

20 articles of clothing = 12.5 lb.

40 articles of clothing = 25 lb.

Brands

Fortunately, I didn’t have to market the products I was selling because brand recognition had already taken care of that. The better I became at identifying brands, the more cost-efficient my business was. I made sure to avoid buying fast fashion brands as they had a low resell value.

Platforms

eBay

  • I paid $7.99/month for 100 listings.
  • My audience was global.

Poshmark

  • I had a free subscription.
  • I didn’t have to pay for shipping.

ThredUp

  • There were no seller profiles.
  • They took care of everything.

Storage

Managing storage turned out to be less of a hassle than I initially thought. I could fold clothes and tightly pack them into a plastic bin. Based on my estimation, a 12-gallon bin could hold approximately 50 articles of clothing.

Pictures

When it came to taking photos, I followed one motto: “Give them no reason not to purchase.” I knew people needed to be convinced that they had seen everything. So, I made sure to include upwards of 6 photos to provide that reassurance. My recommendations were close-ups, front, back, and side views.

Equipment

  • Mannequin (optional): I was fortunate enough to acquire male and female mannequins from a store closing in the mall.
  • Lightbox (recommended): It removed all shadows and was excellent for close-ups.
  • Steamer (necessary): It not only removed wrinkles but also eliminated odor and bacteria.
  • Photography Lights (necessary): Natural lighting and room lighting were usually insufficient, so I invested in photography lights.
  • White Brick Wallpaper (recommended): It reflected light, eliminated shadows, and had an aesthetically pleasing effect.

Pricing

I always checked the comps (comparable prices) and priced my items accordingly. I was open to reasonable offers, as I understood that I wasn’t in the storage business.

Thank you for reading, and happy selling!

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