Starting Your Own Online Thrifting Business

There has never been a better time to start your own thrifting business, the market is open and the culture is thriving. The only prerequisite before entering into the wonderful world of thrifting is that you need to have a genuine passion for used clothes. In this three-part mini-series, I will help you start your own Instagram thrifting business from scratch. Let’s get straight into it.

1. Identify your niche.

The key to quickly grow your business is to identify a niche which you can target, for example, students at your local university and scholars who go to schools around your area. Starting closer to home is always the best choice because your first customers are typically going to be people you know. Start telling people about your page and get them to follow you, as you begin building a base of followers the word will begin to spread itself. However, you need to be actively marketing your business across all your social networks in order to get more visits to your page. Find someone within your niche and ask them for collaboration in the form of a photoshoot, style them with some of your clothes and share the pictures across your accounts. This will help you generate more visits to your page. 

2. Find a reliable supplier.

A good supplier is a thrifter’s best secret, they are crucial to the success of the business.  A good supplier will give you a competitive advantage over your competition and will help you be more consistent. I recommend that you find multiple suppliers, a few local thrift shops, a Hospice and some street merchants, this will give you a diverse selection of stock to pick from. Often times price is subjective, some suppliers are aware of thrifters who buy to resell and might be happy to supply you with the stock at cost price, however, if you want to focus on selling branded items you will have to be prepared to pay a premium price because they are aware of the resell value. 

Here are some tips:

  • Always introduce yourself and form a personal relationship with your supplier.
  • Exchange numbers so that you can communicate with them and find out when they are restocking.
  • Don’t try to con or deceive them because you might end up paying for it in the long run.
  • Let them know what exactly you are looking for so that they can help you look.
  • Quality control, check every single corner for defeats (tears, holes, stains and missing buttons etc.) It is seldom that you will get a refund or return so you should ensure that the quality is up to your standard.

3. Stocktaking and Posting. 

Presentation is everything since all your potential customers will be viewing your products on their phone it’s important to capture them in an eye-catching but realistic way.  Don’t over-edit your images, don’t saturate the colour of the product if it is faded and don’t withhold important information such as tears, holes, missing buttons, stains and any other defects. You want your customers to form a trusting relationship with your business.

When your business grows and you will begin to buy and sell more stock, you are likely to lose your level of quality control and that is when you will be tested as a business owner. If a customer is unhappy about the quality of your product, will you refund or exchange their purchase or will you stick to the no refund policy? That’s up to you to decide. Some thrifters add a quality rating to describe the condition of the products, however, this is extremely subjective, one thrifter’s 4/5 might be a customers 3/5. You could choose to set yourself apart by listing your criteria for rating your products, a small addition that can convert more sales. 

Basically, you want to convince people that you are 100% legit and that they can trust you. One positive customer experience is good for business, but a single negative customer experience can impact the way other people perceive your brand. Follows these guides and you will be on your way to building a successful online thrifting business.

As a special thank you for reading the first part of this mini-series, “Starting Your Own Online Thrifting Business.” I’d like to give you 30% off your next shop purchase, simply add coupon code: “hello-retro when you checkout. 

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