what this blog is all about...

Do you sell stuff on-line? Interested in it? Well, this blog might be for you. Don't expect lots of news stories or other stuff you can easily get. I want to give you the ugly side...the practical, the-stuff-they-don't-warn-you-about side of on-line retailing for the small seller.

I've been selling on-line for about 9 years. And I'm happy to share some of my experience and knowledge with anyone who has the patience to trudge their way through my random ramblings!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

So...where do you get your stuff?

There are several questions that always pop up in forums where sellers discuss their topics:
  • Do you declare your income on your taxes?
  • How much is this item worth?
  • Where do you get your stuff?
Well, asking this question is usually gonna result in a whole lot of flaming from other posters. Sources for goods to sell are hard to come by and usually closely guarded.

But...here are a few hints I can give you (without divulging any of my sources, of course).

FYI...this topic covers new goods, not antiques and collectibles. That's for another thread.

1. Look around you. I can tell you I have gone into local big-box retail stores, purchased items at their retail price and sold them for about 4 times what I paid.

Now don't go fill up a dozen shopping carts at your local wallyworld and expect to make a fortune. It takes research and just plain dumb luck to find these items. But they are out there. And it's not a one-time thing. I do this regularly with about 5 items I know I will sell for at least 150% profit.

2. Look around you part deux. You know those stores that have "the names you know, at discount prices"? Well, they are sometimes a fantastic source for good items to re-sell. Case in point: we came across about a dozen Dept. 56 halloween sets. Original price: $55. Their price: $15. What we sold them for: $65.

3. REAL discount stores. There are stores out that that specialize in close-outs, overstock items, returns, etc. About 95% of their stuff is, well, junk. I mean, it's fine stuff, nothing wrong with it. Just not worth trying to re-sell. But that remaining 5% can be pure gold. There is one store in particular that I can go to about every week and easily spend a few hundred bucks on stuff that I can easily turn around and gross about 2-3 times what I paid.

Basically, if you want good, new, sellable items, you need to stick with the locations that have these goods, do your research, do your research again, and keep on doing it until you find a source.

And if you find a source, don't stop looking for others. That one source you found may just be a flash-in-the-pan and never have decent stuff again. If it is or not, don't stop looking for more sources.

I got about 4 fantastic sources in my back pocket, and I have about 10 that I'm looking into right now.

Don't stop looking. Ever.

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