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I Made Money By Selling Online: a Case Study

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 22 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Online Auction Ebay Clothes Shoes

Catherine regularly sells on eBay and what started out as a de-cluttering exercise has turned into a money-spinning exercise. She sells vintage and retro clothes, shoes and household items.

She describes how she got started: “I was moving to a new city and I really, really had to get rid of some stuff. I am something of a hoarder and I just had so many clothes – many of which didn’t even fit anymore. At the same time, I needed some extra cash – moving house isn’t cheap. I shopped quite a lot on eBay myself so I thought why not give it a go?”

So, did she consider the environmental side of things? “I did yes” she says “ I do try and do my bit by recycling etc. I definitely wouldn’t have felt comfortable just chucking all the clothes away or giving them to people who weren’t that bothered. I buy lots of secondhand clothes and house items myself anyway. I love the idea of things getting used over and over again rather than just getting slung out. Also, you find some really unique and original things in secondhand shops, charity shops and online”.

Practical Issues

When Catherine first started out she had a finite amount of things to sell in order to de-clutter her home. However, nowadays she also scours charity shops and flea markets for goods she can sell online (as well as the odd treat for herself!). So, how does she manage things? “You definitely do have to be organised” she says “If I wasn’t, my house would end up like a junk shop and that’s what I was trying to avoid in the first place!

“I usually sell between five and ten items a week. I keep my items for sale in the bottom of my wardrobe so I’m not flailing around looking for them later on. I usually spend Saturdays having a look around charity shops. Many people would find this dull but I love it. It’s not a chore for me in the slightest – you find some really interesting things and spend very little.

“I do my photographing and uploading on Sunday nights and I make sure that all the auctions finish at a similar time – I don’t want to make five separate trips to the post office!”

Does she make a lot of money? “Not that much no, but for me it’s a hobby” she says “It allows me to combine the things I enjoy, such as charity shopping, styling and photography, with making a bit of extra pin money. I also like the feeling of keeping clothes moving and getting them to a market of people who love vintage fashion – otherwise they might just end up in landfill. I make enough to pay for treats like a night out or a new frock and it means I can put more of my wages away in savings.”

Online Selling Tips

Catherine offers these tips for anyone hoping to follow in her vintage-clad footsteps:

  • "Don’t bother buying stuff from charity shops to sell on if you don’t enjoy it. Your home will get cluttered and it will become a chore.
  • Be organised so that you have a routine in place which saves time and fuss.
  • Take the best pictures that you can.
  • Be honest about any faults a garment or item has. People don’t usually mind but they do mind if you haven’t been upfront about it.
  • Become an expert in what you’re selling. I love vintage and retro clothes so it is a fun hobby for me."
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