Buying Reseller Clothing Lots from Other Online Sellers

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My Ebay business is mainly centered around hard good (i.e. vintage, collectibles, housewares, etc.); but over the past couple of years I have added more and more clothing into the mix. Clothes are so cheap and plentiful, and they do sell faster than hard goods. However, for me, they are rather tedious to source. Therefore, lately I’ve been looking at wholesale and liquidation lots of clothing online, mainly from other resellers who are either trying to move excess inventory or are getting out of reselling altogether.

Ebay, Poshmark, and Mercari are filled with “reseller”, “resale”, and “wholesale” lots of clothing; but finding the good ones takes work. Here are my standards for the ones I look for; if you are selling lots yourself, I’d recommend applying these tips to your own listings to ensure fast sales and happy customers:

  1. I only buy in bulk. I pass by lots of only a handful of items; 20 or more pieces is my preferred order size.
  2. I typically only buy lots with a manifest, i.e. a list of the actual contents. I don’t need an individual photo and detailed description of each item; but I do want the brand, style, and size. For instance, “Gap shirt XL” at least lets me know what the piece is. I don’t buy lots from people who take a picture of a giant pile of clothing and say they’ll fill a box with 20 pieces that “might” contain certain brands. In order for me to make money, I need to know exactly what I’m purchasing.
  3. My price point is between $1-4 an item, and that is with shipping factored in. Items at the $4 price need to be higher end and/or new with tags. Locally I only spend $1-2 a piece on clothing; the only reason I spend a bit more online is that I’m usually getting better brands and I’m not having to do the leg work of actually sourcing each item. However, just as when I buy locally, when I buy online I need to keep my costs as low as possible.
  4. I prefer lots of the same style of items; I mainly sell shirts, so I’d rather source only tops. Sellers who have shirt, pants, dress, etc. specific lots are my preferred choices (although very few people do this; I wish more did!).
  5. I see many lots priced for the seller to make a large profit. While this is fine for those sourcing at the bins (Goodwill outlet where they pay by the pound and often get items for 25-cents or less), most sellers need to understand that these lots aren’t for making a large amount of money but are instead a way to recoup costs and move inventory. I love buying lots from the bins, though; I’ve bought several now from The Bin Pickers. Their pieces, for me, have averaged out to around $3.50 each with shipping; that’s enough for both of us to make a profit.
  6. I pass up lots that include items I can’t resell. If a lot contains 10 items for Ebay but also 10 pieces from Walmart, I’m not going to buy it. If you’ve got poor brands, it’s better to try to sell them locally or to just re-donate them instead of trying to sell them in bulk. I don’t sell Faded Glory, even new with tags. Lots need to contain inventory that I can sell for profit on Ebay. If you couldn’t sell an item on Ebay or Posh yourself, another reseller isn’t going to want it, either.

With so many “reseller” lots available online, it’s clear to me that many newer sellers overbought or are quitting the business altogether. Again, if you have dead stock you want to move, separate out the low end brands and try to sell those online or just re-donate them. If you do have good brands, create a nice sized lot, take a few clear photos, and type up a list of what is actually included. Make sure that, with shipping, the cost is between $1-4, and I may just buy your inventory myself! 🙂

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