The Secrets to Cashing in on Vintage Clothing

If you’re entrepreneur or just trying to make an honest living wage selling vintage clothing or other items this article is definitely for you! I’ll tell you exactly how to do this, and make a ton of money so you could even quit your job one day and sell the best shirts on the market.

BUT there’s a lot to cover so you need to read this entire article. In the past, I made A LOT on Depop, and other sites like Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. Today I have taken my business and my creative skills to the next level. I’m now selling on Instagram, Reddit, and other social media platforms while also maintaining a Youtube channel and my own Shopify store. It’s been a long road and there are a ton of things I wish I knew, or what I wish I can go back and tell myself before diving into this business. That’s what I want to do here for you.

This article is for the grinders, the ones that want to make over $75,000-$100,000 per year in vintage clothing, jeans, and jackets. I get it. I’ll break down as much as I can for you so you can do just this, and really make it selling these vintage items.

You’re probably here to make a little extra money right off the bat or even have another source of income than teaching or selling on Etsy for instance. That’s exactly what I’d expect selling on a site like depop. HOWEVER if you have at least some skills in vintage items on sites like depop or Etsy you can cash in BIG. But you have to do some homework and learn exactly what sells. I’m going to provide some great shortcuts but making $100- $10,000 per shirt will likely not happen overnight. Trust me with some patience and learning the market this can and absolutely will happen for you.

OK So…. Let’s talk about inventory. How do you get shirts that are wanted by the consumer ?

For inventory, of course I would highly recommend looking in yard sales, and thrift stores. The most obvious places would be those two. Yes I have found thousand dollar jackets, t-shirts that I’ve flipped to over $700, and so on. But you want to know the secrets. Don’t you?

Well, I’ve bought at these secret regional facilities that actually gather up hundred dollar vintage concert tees, and shirts and jeans that are worth hundreds sometimes as much as even $30,000 selling shirts (yes, there have been shirts that have sold that much on ebay and the vintage market.) These facilities are invitation only, and you need to spend over $10,000 sometimes just to be able to look around there. Trust me though, If you know what you’re doing it’s worth it. It’s not the hardest thing in the world to seek these places out. There’s one that I always go to in Los Angeles, California. Now listen, I’ve spent over $10,000 just to look in there but you can actually flip the shirts for a profit of over $50,000-$100,000 in just over a year if you know what you’re doing and get the right inventory. These places are in New York City, Los Angeles, and down south. They’re all loaded with items that you can sell for ridiculous profits. Trust me. You can stake these places out and make big money as long as you have the means. Start small at first and then go to these sorts of places so you know exactly what you’re doing.

The competition can be fierce at times. Garage sales and thrift stores are great but I’ve gotten yelled at by someone trying to look through 1920’s vinyl records once when I first started. They were sellers too. They were a couple. I made nice with the guy but the girl was…. well I won’t go there. These are the types of people you’ll run into at places like this.

Storage facilities though are unlike anything you see on TV. Yes, you’ll run into a treasure trove of unbelievable merch. (I’ve done this and it feels amazing). Sometimes I’ve bid and have received no competition. The owner has sometimes just given my the storage lot at certain times. This is your gold mine… or at least it can be. Don’t get me wrong, storage lots can be worthless. I’ve gotten storage lots that have been awful. BUT if you look in places such as outside NYC, Los Angeles, and high income neighborhoods you will find the best storage facilities that can make you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the early days of looking into garages, and yard sales and even I’ve found another place to look which is: Estate sales. YES. estate sales occur everywhere. Finding one isn’t difficult. Finding vintage items here aren’t difficult either. All you have to do is pick through some bags, and clothing. I’ve easily found a dozen shirts such as Pink Floyd, The rolling stones, and even one of the holy grails of the vintage market: Nirvana.

Now of course you might be thinking that only concert tees and movie tees sell as vintage shirts. You’re wrong. For instance, when Space Jam 2 came out the Looney tunes had a resurgence. Spiderman shirts, Marvel and other comic book related shirts have gone for over 5 figures. It’s all about finding the shirt that fits the market need. There are a ton of them out there. Way more than you think.

How do you know if something sells?

This is a great question and really it comes down to supply and demand. Something you may think would do incredible on ebay or etsy is not worth as much as you think because well…. people simply don’t care, or they made too many of the shirt at the time. Perfect example: Batman and Robin. The movie comes out, a ton of items flood the market and 25 years later the products including even t-shirts are only worth $30-$40. Pulp Fiction however, the shirts on ebay for instance have quadrupled in price from just over 10 years ago or less. As of writing this article an ORIGINAL (important word) Pulp Fiction shirt has gone for over $1,300.

You have to find your niche.

Designer bags, shoes, sneakers, coats, and vintage T-shirts are my best sellers. I’m not going too far into the Louis vuitton and Burberry’s of the world in this article. But those are certainly worth covering for another time. The same thing goes with sneakers. The sneaker market is another one that you could cash in big on. You have to find out what sells through and find your niche. That’s so key.

How do I know what sells?/ What questions should I ask myself?

Vintage t-shirts and jackets are a great place to start. Try to find tags. What is the style? Was it made in that time period? Does the neckline seem right? Is it a desirable item? Is it popular? Is the design or style trending? Does it say “1990” or the year on it for instance? Has one sold recently? For how much?

I’ll tell you right off the bat that if you know and can honestly understand all the answers to these questions you will do incredible on any ecommerce site that specializes in vintage apparel.

Some lessons I’ve learned along the way are

  1. learn. do your homework on specific inventory/ niche markets

2. there are some sites that might do better than others with certain inventory

ex: depop might sell better than etsy for a specific shirt

3) try and get into google shopping so your item can be shown

4) get to the yard sale/ estate sales early- You have to be an early riser in this business. If you snooze you lose. SORRY!

5) you will not always find the $10,000 shirt. -This is very rare. They do come up but you should expect to find shirts that are lesser value more frequently.

So these are the main points that I wanted to talk about at least today. Thank you and good luck!

I want to have a disclaimer: this isn’t for everybody. I’m not responsible for any loss in money, and I’m not a financial advisor.

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Sam Verana

Sam Verana

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