Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Is online consignment worth it?

My family is a little bit strapped for cash at the moment. Stuff happens. It would be more trouble than the money was worth for me to get a job outside of the home, so I'm investigating several avenues and testing a few to see how much income I can pull in on my own.

My latest experiment is online consignment - reselling items, in my case mostly clothing, from a variety of platforms. So far, I've stocked up on some nice clothes on clearance (paid ten to twenty percent of retail) and I'm attempting to flip them. I've also cleared a few items out of my own closet.

So far, I've used buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook, Poshmark, and EBay. My old clothes sold pretty quickly on FB, mostly because I was selling them extremely cheaply. I've sold one dress on Poshmark for just under a third of its retail value. Nothing from my recently purchased inventory has sold so far, but I'm hopeful since it's only been a couple of days.

Here's what I've observed so far, as a total newbie to the business.
  • It takes a lot of time. You have to put in the man-hours hunting for deals (if you're buying clothes to flip, that is). You need to get good pictures of every item, write a brief but thought-out description, and then jump through several hoops to get each item posted on every platform you're working with. Once it actually sells, you have to handle shipping if you're not selling locally.
  • Lowballer alert! People are going to ask for discounts. Some of them are going to be certifiably insane with the prices they expect. Oh, you have a $50 dress new with tags? Five bucks is totally reasonable!
  • Selling locally is kind of a pain. Sure, you'll have great people who will meet you anywhere anytime and actually show up. But there's also the folks who want you to deliver to their doorstep, or set a meetup time, change it six times, and then don't show up.
  • Some platforms will totally cash in at your expense. Poshmark takes a twenty percent cut of your sale price, for instance. That said, you're going to reach more people much faster through that kind of platform, as they make it really easy to promote your stuff. I still haven't decided if the exposure is worth the price you pay for it. EBay is easier on your wallet, but it's more complicated what with you being more involved in the shipping options, and it's also way less exposure.
Honestly, I could see myself making a lot of money this way. The catch is that you have to have time and seed money to invest in order to get to that point. So far, patience is the name of the game.

If any of you have experiences with online consignment, I'd love to hear from you! Drop me a comment or shoot me an email at jodi.gm.humes@gmail.com.