So, you want to start thrifting but don’t know where to begin? What types of things should you be looking for? Do you want to thrift for personal use or for reselling? Can I start a thrifting Vlog? These are some of the questions we’re going to try to answer for you in today’s article….”How to Get Started as a Thrifter!”
Side note: there are a lot of details involved with professional thrifting we may go over in later articles. In this one we are going to focus primarily on how to get started thrifting.
What Is Thrifting?
You keep hearing this term “thrifting,” but you’ve been living under a rock since 2010. That’s alright, we can explain. According to an upload on Wiktionary, thrifting may be described as, “The act of shopping for cheap items, as for example at a garage sale or flea market.” We, at Diversity Consignment, are going to define the term as, “The act of shopping at a second-hand store with the intentions of using your purchases for personal use, upcycling, content creation, or reselling.”
Thrifting is what we frugal shoppers enjoy doing in our free time. It is 1, good for the environment 2, fun to do and 3, can return you a profit if done correctly. I, personally, began my career in 2014, thrifting with the intention to resell for a profit. At that time, I had very little money to start up a business and enjoyed finding treasures at my local thrift stores. Little did I know that my frugal nature would lead me in the direction that it did! Back then, it was quite uncommon for younger people to be flooding the thrift stores and flea markets like they are today (I know, hard to imagine!). But I digress…
Thrifting is a huge step in the right direction for eliminating some of the textile waste we see negatively affecting our planet. It’s a practice that has been around for over 100 years but I can honestly say it’s great to hear that you’re finally taking on an interest!
Why Do You Want To Thrift?
In order to know what to look for, you’re first going to have to understand why you want to thrift. Is it because you understand the negative economic impacts wasteful companies such as the fashion industries progress? Is it because you want to stay stylish while saving money? Or is it because you’re looking to start a side hustle you can work on to call your own? It could even be a combination of all three! If your intentions are to become a thrifter who buys for reselling or Vlogging, we’re going to try to help you with today’s article.
What To Look For
Reasonably speaking, one can find all kinds of things at the thrift stores. Most places carry a wide range of second-hand products from clothing, accessories, CDs, stereo equipment, to artwork and much, much more.
If you want to start thrifting to resell, I recommend focusing on a particular category that you find especially interesting. That way when you find something unique or valuable, you will always get the same rush of excitement. Having a niche category that you look for can also save you a whole lot of wasted time and energy!
I would also recommend starting in a category that isn’t too overcrowded but also retains interest. Take some time to research on major ecommerce websites like eBay and video platforms like YouTube for some categories that don’t seem too competitive. By competitive what I mean is a particular category that has an overwhelming number of listings or videos already made or uploaded. For example, starting to thrift for vintage clothing may be great for personal use, but when it comes to resale it will be difficult to find the “grail” pieces first of all, and secondly, it would be challenging to make a footprint in the vintage market. If you were to get into vintage clothing, I would start with a more niche category such as “vintage travel t-shirts.” (I will go into further detail in a separate article on what constitutes an article of clothing as “vintage“).
You want to be able to get your content out there to people who are actually going to see it! The easiest way to get lost in the search results is to pick a broad category that already has a lot of coverage. Due to the algorithms set in place, in order to reach the top search results in ecommerce sites like eBay or video platforms like YouTube, you’re going to need a lot of listings and content with a proven track record. Of course, none of this you will have when you’re first starting out. The fastest way to be able to stand out is to choose something specific that shows interest but doesn’t have a lot of coverage.
Where To Start Sourcing
What you look for will also be important for where you go to source. For instance, if you’re intending on starting a Vlog about tractor equipment, going to the local Goodwill might not be the best place to start sourcing. Instead, research some barn sales going on in the nearby area (yes they do have barn sales) or yard sales in a more rural area if you live in the city.
This may sound silly but I’m being serious! Where you go to source will have a huge impact on preventing burnout. There are certain places that are honey-holes for specific things. You’re going to have to do some research to figure out where it is that may have what you’re looking for. You can find information online, through reddit discussions, or even in specific Facebook groups. Ask around! some people are more than happy to share where they go to treasure hunt.
Don’t be discouraged if other thrifters don’t share the information though! Thrifters can be notoriously territorial over their favorite spots!
How Much Should I Be Spending?
Now this is when things can get a little tricky. It depends. It depends on what your budget is for exactly what you want to do. I know this sounds ambiguous but bear with me.
Of course we all want to spend as little as possible when it comes to thrifting but you don’t want to give up quality for frugality. Some things you find might warrant a higher price! Don’t shy away from spending a little more to get something that you can flip for A LOT more. There have been plenty of times that I have wound up kicking myself because I left a store empty handed simply because I wasn’t willing to spend the extra $5-10.
Do a little research to find out what the market value is for what you’re sourcing. Have your smartphone with you the whole time you’re out there so you can quickly look up comps (completed sales) to see what the true value of what you’re finding is worth. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT think that asking prices are what things are worth. Anyone can ask any price for any thing! Figure out what it is actually selling for.
If you are creating a Vlog on a certain niche, the budget may be a little different. You may be willing to spend a little more for something special because you know it’s going to result in higher viewership or you have no idea when you’re going to find it again.
Find a category that interests you (tools, records, shoes) and narrow it down to a less competitive market that still has interest. Instead of “boots” narrow it further down to “cowboy boots.” Do your research. You may be saying WTF I came here as research! Trust me when I say that this is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s way too much detail that follows to include in this basic tutorial. If you want to be successful in Vlogging or Thrifting to resell you’re going to need to dedicate a lot of time to the craft.
That’s not to say that it isn’t worth it though! Thrifting feels amazing. It’s one of those activities that truly makes an impact beyond your personal achievements. So, I say, thrift on! Buy used shit!
If you found this article helpful, please feel free to comment your thoughts and ideas below in the comments section. Don’t forget to subscribe to get notified when new articles are being released!
-Ian Drake, Diversity Consignment