The Thrifting Business is alive and well in our global shopping realm. This article will offer tips for resellers and insight into how thrifting is big business and how you can get your piece of the pie. Today’s shoppers are considering used items in great numbers. New stuff is fine, but used stuff is better. Thrifting has become so popular with younger and older shoppers alike, at both at brick-and-mortar shops and online, thrifting’s popularity has now positioned the thrifting industry to soar from a $35 Billion dollar industry to a $75 Billion dollar industry by 2025. It shows amazing growth in this sector and there is no end in sight.
I have been interviewed by media outlets like the New York Times and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine news about how the thrifting, online selling, and resale industry is affecting the economy. My YouTube channel shows people how to succeed in the thrifting realm by understanding what vintage and antiques objects to buy, how to negotiate, and how to resell items online. I show buyers what to buy for resale with my thrift store shopping lists videos and what works to drive sales when it comes to engagement on popular thrifting sites online. There are many popular thrifting sites like eBay, Etsy, Shopthrilling, Shopgoodwill, Depop, Poshmark, Threadup, Tradesy, Rubylane, Chairish, Therealreal, Replacements, and so many more. Some people have favorite online stores within a thrifting platform like Playclothes Vintage, Dainty Daisy Merchandise, Ephemera Vintage, Fashionphile, Vestiare Collective to name a few.
Why is thrifting so in vogue? Here are some reasons why everyone is excited about thrifting and the buying and selling of second-hand goods.
Green-conscious young shoppers are driving the thrifting market which is another aspect of the thrifting business & tips for resellers. Many are interested in the environmental benefit of buying and selling pre-owned goods. Re-commerce, a widely used term nowadays, decreases the carbon footprint because a new item doesn’t have to be manufactured which has material costs, labor, etc. In addition, today’s young adult shoppers are interested in pursuing an environmentally-friendly and socially-conscious lifestyle. Being devoted to such a lifestyle includes how and where to shop. What’s more is thrift shoppers like the idea that thrifting diverts pounds of reusable goods away from trash heaps and landfills.
In addition to green issues, thrifting offers a low-cost alternative for shoppers. Everyone knows that compared to traditional retail shopping in stores and online, thrifted items don’t cost nearly as much. Buyers don’t have to spend as much to purchase a pre-owned item versus the cost of a buying new item. Thrift stores, antique malls, flea markets, and the like offer options to purchase quality items at low prices.
In addition to what puts the thrift in thrifty, there is also an opportunity for some real bargains to be found at thrift stores. I feature many Real Bargains found by real people regularly on my YouTube channel videos and the appraised values of some of these finds in artwork, jewelry, clothing, and collectibles are astounding. I revealed how a couple paid pennies to bring home a $20,000 painting purchased on the cheap. And, at Goodwill stores in the US, one shopper purchased a donated watercolor by American Impressionist Frank Weston Benson that resold for $165,000. A donated factory sealed Nintendo game “The Legend of Zelda” from 1987 was purchased for pennies at Goodwill and resold for $411,278 in the open market. It’s like I always say, the Real Bargains are out there.
It is well known that many of the materials used in pre-owned, vintage, and antique items are of higher quality that new items, according to many shoppers. Clothing is one of the most popular thrifting items. Shoppers can tell the difference between a vintage t-shirt and a new one by type and quality of the fabric and details like double stitching. Shoppers hunt for thrifting treasure for themselves and many have made very successful businesses out of reselling the thrift store items that they find.
Always a major player in the world of art and antiques, condition is very important to the thrifting game. I am not only talking about good condition, but for some items, bad condition is desirable. You read that correctly, sometimes bad is good just like it was in the 1980s. If you were bad, that was good.
Good condition works like this when it comes to thrifting. For instance, it is Goodwill’s practice that any piece of donated clothing that comes into the store will only make it to the racks if it is in good condition. Worn, torn, stained, or otherwise damaged clothing either go to the outlets or to an industry relation where the textiles can be used for upholstery stuffing or other uses. Pottery, glass, lamps, bric-a-brac, and furniture must be in good condition to sell well in thrift stores and online.
Bad condition can attract sales too. It is also interesting to note that while most thrift shoppers look for good condition, there are some items that can bring sales even if they are not in the best of shape. For instance, damaged costume jewelry pieces that can be reused by jewelry designers or fabricators sell well even if the pieces are in bad condition. And, many re-purposers and DIYers are looking for the bargain that exists if they can purchase a damaged piece of furniture for pennies on the dollar and then use their creative talents and elbow grease to turn it into something special. Damaged or unfinished embroidery, crochet, or knit items and skeins of yarn are often desirable. Other items like unfinished quilts or empty picture frames are wanted by thrift store shoppers. Bad condition, like good, can be another popular aspect of the thrifting culture, too.
Social Kindness Sells
Another aspect of the thrifting business & tips for resellers is something that many people don’t know. Many thrifters and resellers in the industry are dedicated to something that is not the norm anymore… something called good old-fashioned manners. I don’t mean to imply that thrifters are not polite. In fact, they are just the opposite.
There is an active culture within the antique and vintage thrifting community that benefits from buyers and sellers treating each other well. And, in the online thrift shopping community, where people are using social media shopping apps and online platforms to buy and sell items, there is a whole lot of good happening. Good sales, good offerings, and good exchanges. Buyers and sellers are engaging on social media sites and are using their sales tactics kindly. These sellers relate to buyers via social connections and the sales are driven by kindness, that’s right kindness.
When thrift shopping online, buyers and sellers make the extra effort to be friendly, to communicate about an item with the buyer’s best interest in mind, and to consider the other person’s position. Sellers know this kind of interaction will result in return business and happy customers. Social shopping apps are full of nice language and positive emojis from both buyers and sellers. Replies to customer questions are polite, straightforward, honest.
Terms of endearment are often used showing how both parties are interested in making the extra effort to buy and sell aging and vintage items. Terms like “sweetheart”, “darling” and “honey” show up in online exchanges between buyers and sellers. Negotiation texts and comments between online buyers and sellers don’t shut the door on anything. Anything is possible within reason—bundling orders to cut down on shipping costs, complimentary gift wrap, etc. Sellers answer questions honesty, they realize that happy buyers will be devoted to their Etsy or eBay shop, website, or other online selling platform or app. It is confirmed by the sales numbers that buyers like the personal touch even when they shop virtually.
The Poshmark Example
Here is an example. Poshmark became a publicly traded company in 2021. It was doing so well that it expanded with its purchase of Depop for $1.6 Billion. Depop’s target audience is Gen Z shoppers, which are shoppers born between 1995 and 2010. This generation of shoppers came of age in the digital era. They are globally connected, aware of debt and serious about it and are not as interested or driven to brands as other generations of shoppers.
Unlike Baby Boomers (born 1945 to 1964) or Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1980), Gen Z shoppers are intrigued by innovation, global and social awareness, sustainability. To attract Gen Z shoppers, Poshmark uses social media to facilitate the resale of clothing and accessories. Millennials, also known as Gen Y (born 1980-1995), are tech savvy but limited and care more about brand names when shopping than Gen Z. While a platform like Poshmark appeals to them, it is the youngest adult shoppers, that is Gen Z, that the social media/online resale market approach is trying to attract. Poshmark is succeeding with its sweet and savvy online sales approach.
Today’s thrifting culture is based on the way people used to do business in the old days. It is based on building relationships and following through on the agreement between a buyer and seller. Someone’s word, even if it is communicated online and offered along with emojis, is more important than ever.
Watch my videos where I offer more information about the thrifting business & tips for resellers.