Thursday, February 7, 2019

Tutorial: Let's Go Thrifting For Fun and Profit! (Part Three)

Hi all! This is the third in my three-part series about buying/selling on Poshmark. (Here are part one and two.) This third installment is specifically about sourcing to resell but also includes general tips about thrifting for fun (because I certainly don't sell everything I find. Nope.)

First, a general note on thrifting: Never go in looking for something specific, just go with a clear mind and get into that zen state as you work through the racks. It definitely helps if you like to dig and enjoy the "thrill of the hunt" aspect of shopping. If you don't, this might not be for you because it really takes time and patience.

Also, I am pretty new at this! I used to thrift a lot in college but only got back into it a year ago,  so I don't consider myself an expert by any means. Mostly I am just giving you a starter's guide based on what I've learned:

A decent haul.

Find Your Honey Hole
First, you gotta find your best sourcing spot. In my area we have Goodwill (too expensive), Salvation Army (cluttered but much less expensive) and a few locally-owned thrift stores that are popular with students and therefore get picked over. There is also a "Bins" (aka Goodwill outlet) near me but I've been too scared to try it. (Apparently things get...aggressive at the bins.) For reselling purposes,  I don't like spending more than $4 on any item unless it's higher-end and immaculate.

At my favorite thrift store they have one day a week where all clothes are 50% off. Check around and find out what kind of deals/discounts your local shops run and take advantage of it! On half price day I usually hit the tank top racks and really go through them - I've found Lululemon, Lucy, Athleta, etc. They're regularly priced at $1.99, so at half price my cost per item is super low. Even if that tank sells for $12-$15, I am making a fair profit!

I can't resist leopard print. 

Go Consistently
If you go often enough and really dig into the racks, you'll train yourself to spot the good quality items. My fingers usually know before my eyes have registered a good brand. Good quality feels like good quality, especially when it comes to knits, denim and athletic wear. I generally stick with the women's racks but have found some great men's stuff on the women's racks! Also, my best athletic finds are usually mixed in with regular clothes. Lululemon can be especially stealthy because the logo isn't always obvious. Once you know your store, you'll know it's strengths - spend the majority of your time on areas where you find the best stuff.

Men's jeans I found on the women's rack.

Find Your Best Sellers 
I love to sell casual current styles - jeans, athletic wear and cute tops do best for me. Skirts and dresses don't move and I rarely find shoes or bags worth selling. My best rule - buy what you like and sell what you like. I try to keep my closet "on brand" by only selling items or brands I'd wear (with a few exceptions.) Brands I will always pick up: Patagonia, The North Face, Madewell, Rothys, Tieks, Frye, Dankso, Birkenstock, RRL, J.Crew (mainly black label - if it's got two diamonds on the tag, it's Factory), Lululemon, and Athleta. To date I have not found Rothys, Tieks, Frye or Birkenstocks (edit: I have since found Rothys and Frye!), but I am always hopeful.

I love this cool blouse but the brand is a mystery.

Live Thrift!
Don't be afraid to stop what you're doing right in the aisle to look up a brand on Posh or eBay. Check the "sold" comps. I overlooked an RRL (Ralph Lauren black label) men's western shirt on three different trips before finally looking up the label and being like, Oh. I sold that puppy on eBay for $60! Anything that looks interesting or high quality? definitely look up sold comps and see if it's worth your time. I still make dumb mistakes (looking at you, mesh BR top) but I've definitely gotten better at buying things that sell. Also, there are some higher end brands that just don't do very well on Poshmark, so before you buy that $15 Joie top, check to see what similars are selling for. It might do better on eBay or it might just not be worth the effort.

This blouse was riddled with moth holes...I discovered after purchase.

Check and Check and Check Again.
I can't state this enough: before you get in line to purchase your great finds go find a well-lit corner of the thrift store and really look your stuff over, inside and out. For jeans - check the crotch, the back pockets, the hems, the waistband, and, very important, check the front for the dreaded elastic puckering:

This is bad.
If you're sourcing high end jeans, look for any signs that they're fake (sloppy stitching, spelling mistakes on the tags, etc.) For knits: look for holes and stretching. For tops: check the pits. For buttoned tops: check for missing buttons! I can't tell you how many times I've overlooked a missing button. For everything: check for stains and damage. Occasionally I've bought something with a stain that I was able to get out, but mostly I throw it back because it's not worth my time. I really can't stress how important this step is because I STILL miss stuff and it's incredibly frustrating.

That's it for now! Next week I'm going to do a post about your reseller toolkit - the items you should have on hand always. Whee. So fun.

Now, any questions?


  1. Your Goodwill sells Lululemon tanks for $2??? The Goodwills in my area are too savvy now. Anything Lululemon, or other top brands, gets pulled out and put in a separate section in the store which they call "fashion focus" but is essentially just 10x markup. Everything Lulu is like $15 or above :( :(

    1. Nope, I don't go to Goodwill, they're too expensive! My Salvation Army prices all things the same, no matter what the brand.

  2. Oh sorry, I misread your post! Thanks for the tip re Salvation Army - I haven't been to one in ages, I will have to check it out and see if that's where all the affordable Lulu is hiding :)


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