Sourcing: Think Outside the Thrift Store

There are so many places to find great stock for resale, all you have to do is find it!

Thrift stores are always a great place to go in order to find stock but when you’re visiting the same ones week to week, the selection can get kind of stale.

You have to get creative in finding inventory and there are lots of opportunities for sourcing out there, if you know how to find it.

The above photo is from one haul, I’ll tell you more about it down below.

One thing to keep in mind while your sourcing, especially if you use my tips, be respectful. A lot of these locations are set up for people who are in need within the community. And while your payment helps the location putting on the sale, you’re also removing opportunities from low income people in the area from being able to pick up items they may need that they couldn’t otherwise afford. So don’t be greedy!

Thinking Outside the Thrift Store, Where to Source:

  1. Church Rummage Sales: I LOVE rummage sales. I find so much weird vintage at these sales. It’s perfect for my Depop shop. I don’t know what it is about them but they just attract the craziest donations. I try to attend these on the last day at the very end of the sale, yeah, I’ll miss out on any potential higher end pieces but I won’t have to sort through as much stuff to find vintage gold. Also, most places have a bag sale at the end. I’ve gone to one where you can fill a trash bag for $2! I left with three and all of it was vintage.How do you find these rummage sales? Keep an eye out while driving around, check Facebook, craigslist but also don’t be afraid to ask around. A lot of these places have rummage sales twice a year – in the spring and fall and it’s yearly so people in the community will have all of the details. When in doubt, call area churches. Don’t pass up churches in rural areas. These are goldmines for vintage! One of my favorite trips was visiting a rummage sale at a church that smelled of cow manure – I scored some AMAZING vintage jewelry. And a homemade key lime pie for my fiance for $4.

    Another reason I go at the end is rummage sales are usually attended by low income families who are trying to outfit their children on the cheap. So if I go at the very end, I’m less likely to step on the toes of those who really need it. This is important to me as I grew up incredibly poor.

  2. Church Charity Shops: This is another gem. One of my favorite places is in a small little hamlet and it’s run by an elderly lady who is the absolute sweetest! It’s also well organized. You tend to spend a little bit more than you would at a rummage sale but typically these items have been examined better and you’re less likely to get items that have stains or holes.A lot of charity shops are run by the little old ladies of the church so they aren’t usually the most tech savvy, which means you’re less likely to find them on social media. This is where networking and word of mouth comes in. When you go to rummage sales, ask the volunteers if they have a charity shop. Even if they don’t, I guarantee you they will give you a list of several in the area.
  3. Auctions: We have a local site that lists all of the local auctions but I realize not everyone is so lucky. You may have to do some google keyword searching to find auctions in your area but trust me, doing so will pay off.Recently I discovered an auction site because I was researching something for personal information. And boy, was I glad I did! I was researching the price sold on a piece of land and while doing so discovered that there was an amazing estate auction of a woman who not only loved to shop but also had great taste. he auction featured designer bags, gold jewelry, diamonds and hundreds of pieces of plus size clothing, new with tags. Being plus size myself, I couldn’t pass it up. I checked when it was going to end – the next morning!

    I acted fast, submitted my tax exemption paperwork and got to work researching all of the lots I was interested in. In the end I came away with 850 pieces of clothing, 46 designer bags, wristlets and wallets, 150 scarves and a small bin full of jewelry. I spent a total of $1700 between the auction and renting a u-haul and we estimate we will make over $12,000 when everything sells off.

    Auctions are a great way to find pieces you’ll never find thrifting – designer pieces, gold and diamond jewelry, high end vintage, etc. And don’t be afraid to travel! Some of the best auctions I’ve ever gone to were two hours away and definitely worth the drive!

     

  4. Facebook Marketplace: I don’t source off of facebook, I’m just not good at it. But my partner, she’s amazing at it. She can find vintage furs and get a whole lot of them for $25. I just don’t know how she does it so I can’t really give you a lot of tips. But it’s definitely worth learning how to do it. Just don’t be afraid to negotiate on prices!
  5. Storage Unit Auctions: YEP! These are so much fun! It’s kind of like buying a mystery box bundle because you have absolutely no idea what you’re going to get.We’ve purchased one so far and plan to bid on more in the future when space allows for it. We ended up getting a unit for a steal at $20 because it all just looked like junk and no one wanted to deal with it. But we saw clothing, which is what we were searching for. So for $20 we took the risk.

    Turns out our risk paid off! It was a lot of hard work because we had to haul a lot of the stuff out of there but we came away with about 120 pieces of plus size clothing, some jewelry, including gold and silver, a brand new barbecue grill (which we use all of the time) and a ton of office supplies. There was a lot of trash, which we had to pay $135 to have hauled away and we did end up donating a lot of stuff, but in the end, that $155 investment should net us at least $1500. Not too bad for a days worth of work!

    Do you have any other places you like to source from besides thrift stores and garage sales? Share them in the comments!

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Corfam, DuPont’s 1 million dollar mistake.

Vintage dark green Corfam change purse/wallet.

I love when sourcing brings me something completely unexpected – a vintage Corfam wallet/change purse from the 1960’s!

I can’t sleep. When this happens I often chase rabbit trails.

This is what I call my research mode. It’s when one lead leads to another and then another and then another until I’ve found the answer.

Anyway, this is a really cool find!

In 1963 DuPont launched a material called Corfam that had been discovered in the 1930’s. It was meant and intended to be a leather substitute.

DuPont predicted that by 1984 a quarter of all of the shoes made in the USA would be made from Corfam. They thoroughly researched this material.

But the material proved to be too costly to make. It also was not as flexible or breathable as it needed to be to be adequate for footwear. In fact, another material was taking the market by storm – it was cheap to make, easy to dye and were great for a “throwaway” pair of shoes. Worn once or twice and then discarded. That material was polyvinyl chloride (we know it today as PVC).

By 1971 DuPont was no longer manufacturing Corfam and the Times called it their 1 million dollar mistake.

Based on this information, I now know this change purse was made before 1971. Most likely it was made in the 60’s. It’s also more than likely a rare piece as usually the material was made into shoes and watchbands (based on my research).

I’m a total nerd for this stuff!

You can purchase this wallet here.

– Desireé

Navigating Poshmark During the Summer Slow Down

Hi! I’m Desiree, co-owner of Fashion Reclaim, an online consignment store that sells on a variety of platforms but primarily we sell on Poshmark (@fashionreclaim).

Recently I’ve seen several posts from newer sellers in Poshmark related Facebook Groups concerned over the lack of sales at the tail end of May going into June. They express their concerns and ultimately believe they are doing something wrong. So, I thought I would write a reassuring post and offer some tips to help you navigate the “Summer Slow Down.”

Depending on where your packages usually end up, you’ll notice sales begin to slow down around the end of May and continue to do so up until the end of August. The shift usually begins when children are out of  school and the weather shifts to hotter temperatures. I say the end of August because in some areas children don’t go back to school until September, so it’s always a good idea to study the demographics of your average customer.

I’ve been a reseller in some capacity for the past 20 years and I have several summers under my belt. While it’s slow, there are a multitude of things you can do to help turn your Poshmark store into a well oiled machine.

Here are my tips:

  1. Tackle your death pile.
    Most of us have them. Usually they are tucked away in bins out of site, only to be mentioned when we’re comparing whose is bigger in the various Poshmark groups we belong to on Facebook.

    It’s slow but now is the perfect time to start tackling it. Set a goal to get it all listed by the end of August, you’ll thank yourself when sales start to pick up again in the fall.
    Which brings me to my next tip –

  2. Streamline your Process.
    Sit down and come up with a plan to tackle your inventory from intake to shipment. You want to figure out the best plan of action. Of course it’s going to take a lot of trial and error to get it right for you, but guess what – you’ve got several months to perfect it!

    Just think, when things pick up, imagine how fast and efficient you’ll be! The faster you can intake and list the more items you can potentially sell, the more you can make! It’s pretty much THAT easy!

  3. Organize your inventory.

    You’ve been telling yourself for months that you’re going to organize your inventory but you haven’t yet. Do it now.
    Don’t be afraid to spend a little money. Do you have a lot of inventory? Maybe you want to implement a barcode system so you can track your inventory with a simple scan. Who knows? Whatever your dream inventory management system is, summer is the perfect time to set it up!

  4. Find or build your brand.
    In the social media age you need a “Brand” or an identity to really get yourself out there. If you’re reading this post it means you are serious enough about your closet to care so it means you’re serious enough to start considering a brand.

    Who does your closet appeal to? Do you want it to have a certain image? Do your research.

    For example: Fashion Reclaim is about recycling fashion, not trends. That’s our slogan. We’ve used the recycling symbol in our logo. Our next goal is to convert all of our shipping supplies to eco-friendly, biodegradable materials (once our old stock runs out). We also try to find vintage and modern pieces that go with current fashion trends so we’re relevant while being environmentally friendly. We only sell NWT when we find things secondhand NWT. That’s our brand.

    So what’s yours?

  5. Find new places to source from.
    This is, probably, my favorite tip! My absolute favorite thing is finding new places I’ve never been. I like digging in and getting dirty and finding the coolest treasures at hidden gems on back roads. I am drawn to vintage like a moth to a flame and I find that churches in the country have some of the coolest vintage finds, to date!

    Also check charity shops, auctions, estate sales, rummage sales and even storage unit auctions! You never know where you might find the items that fit your brand.

  6. Get on Instagram.
    You’ve been telling yourself for a while that you want to gain an Instagram following so do it! Now is the perfect time to get it started. Get into the routine of posting everyday at the same time, that way when it gets busier you’re more likely to stick with it.
  7. Do your research.
    Spend time researching brands you’ve never sold before. Start looking at sold items on Poshmark and eBay and create a list. Who knows, maybe you’ll find out that some of the brands you’ve seen while sourcing but never pick up are popular moneymakers (never stop learning).
  8. Refresh your listings.
    Relist and refresh your listings. Maybe rephotograph some of your older listings. Work on getting your closet more cohesive. Did you recently change your background? Update your older listings so that they match your newer listings.
    Oh! And anytime you get a different camera or phone, redo your old photos. Over time you’ll start to notice which photos were taken with older phone cameras versus newer.
  9. Diversify what you offer.
    List more accessories: certain styles of purses are always a big hit in the summer, for me as a vintage seller it’s straw, macrame, statement bags, anything that’s going to make a skimpy outfit shine. Also shoes, hats and jewelry. I always sell more jewelry in the summer (especially statement pieces and larger earrings).
  10. And finally and most of all – Have Patience & Have fun.
    It’s just a couple of months, you’ll get through this. But if this is causing you serious stress reselling and retail might not be for you. Or maybe you just need to take a break – stress can burn you out. You work hard, go on a mini-vacation – your closet too! Step away for a few days or a week but come back! Seriously, we’ll miss you if you don’t.

Good luck Poshers!
Desiree