Within my experience buying wholesale closeouts and liquidations, I’ve come across a lot of people who make good money working with used merchandise, especially clothing. From an export standpoint, used clothing is like gold within some countries, and I know individuals who are making a killing exporting containers of shirts, pants, dresses, and used shoes to third world countries.
I want to focus the topic today on the thrift store owners, here within the United States, who make a good living selling everyone elses’ used items. Where are they getting all of this used merchandise?
Clothing Bales – Used clothing is a huge business and there are several large distributors who do nothing but process used clothing into what is called bales. A clothing bale is approximately 100 pounds of used clothing sorted into three quality grades A, B, and C.
- Grade A refers to clothing with no holes, rips, or tears.
- Grade B will contain small holes, rips, and other imperfections.
- Grade C is the lowest, and as you guessed it, will contain larger holes, rips, stains, and tears.
Storage Locker Auctions – While not so exclusive anymore, I’ve known several people over the years who have stocked their stores with abandoned storage locker items. The popularity of storage auctions has skyrocketed since the cable show Storage Auction Wars started broadcasting on cable. Within the Liquidators Guide, you will find valuable information relating to bidding on personal storage auctions including tips from one of our expert contributors, Terry Gibbs.
Garage and Yard Sales – I would venture to say that 25-30% of those who routinely visit garage and yard sales are looking for merchandise to resell online through auctions sites, such as eBay. Often those who hold garage sales are trying to “down-size,” therefore items can usually be purchased at rock-bottom pricing. I myself, have witnessed clothing being sold for 10 to 25 cents, and often, by the grocery bag, for as little as $1.
Wholesale Liquidators – Used general merchandise and clothing is also sold by wholesale liquidators. You buy used clothing by the pallet or truckload in various grades, and most of the time the clothing has been washed and poly-bagged.
If you are thinking of opening up a discount thrift store you can take advantage of the above sources to stock your shelves. People love to spend money buying clean, used merchandise because it represents a tremendous cost savings. This fact is the very reason why resellers of used items are doing so well with our current state of the economy. You can profit helping others save money!
This is one of our many Liquidation Boot Camp posts where we talk about the basics of liquidation product sourcing. If you’re new to the idea of purchasing liquidations, please review more Liquidation Boot Camp Posts here.
Our 2020 Liquidators Guide chronicles 12 years of wholesale product sourcing experience and includes my personal black book of direct source contacts! As an industry expert, I'll share the success I've enjoyed along with the mistakes I've made buying and reselling liquidation merchandise.
If you are thinking about buying pallets of liquidation merchandise from a liquidator, broker, or direct from department stores, you need to check out The Liquidators Guide