Tips for a New Reseller

I was intrigued about “picking” and reselling for years! I watched shows like Antiques Roadshow and American Pickers thinking to myself, “I can find that. I can do that.” It took a while for me to build up the nerve and break through my thrifty tendencies to risk buying things that may not have any value. I was also nervous about the investment side of the process.
Once I got out and gave it a try, I didn’t want to stop. I started going to yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores and charity shops searching for treasure. I learned so much in the first few months as I built up my inventory. I eventually rented a booth in an antique mall and created an online storefront. I began to learn what sells and what doesn’t.
Here are some tips that may help you whether you want to sell vintage and antique items like me, or clothes, albums or any previously-loved item!

Here are tips on how to build a successful business and also minding your bank account.


Do your research

I watched TV shows, searched online auctions and watched video tutorials to better understand the process of reselling and what works and what the pitfalls are. For auctions, pay attention to sold prices of goods vs. the original asking price. Now, I don’t know how many times I got excited about a $500 asking price that never had any sales over $15. The value of goods is what people are willing to pay, not the price someone wants.

Determine how much you can invest

Like most businesses or investments, it often takes money to make money and some of it you may lose. You have to think beyond how much will I make and consider, how much can I lose on this venture? Set boundaries for yourself so you don’t go beyond your means and put your finances and sanity at risk.

Be willing to find a few lemons to learn

I was so excited when I got started, that I bought some duds. At first, I would research every item I thought about buying and it took too much time, so I bought some things impulsively. I ended up with common, low value items that probably won’t ever sell in a retail environment or online. This is a skill-set that comes with experience. You make a mistake, learn from it and move on.


I have found trends are key in reselling. Going back to the value of goods, something may have been hot 15 years ago and desire and a competitive market at that time may have driven prices up. Something worth $100 15 years ago, may only have a realistic market price of $10. Something that sold for $10 15 years ago may now be worth $100 due to nostalgia or a re-emerging trend. Stay on top of trends and events relevant to what you are selling. Maybe that boy-band concert tee you found could be worth three times your purchase price because they are starting a come-back tour this Summer.

Have fun!

Yeah, this one is cliché, but it is true. If you enjoy the treasure hunt, it keeps you motivated to get out there and keep trying. Like any skill, it takes time to hone. No one wakes up knowing everything about their trade or industry. You learn from others, or though personal experience. If you have the fervor and energy to keep looking, you will find the reward because you enthusiastically pushed on and built your knowledge and skill set.

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