Who will have bragging rights for the next year of “supreme thrift store flipper” (last years winner was Laurie from our sister-site, TheFrugalFarmer.net)?
If you'll remember, each participant was tasked with finding 3 items (one in household, one clothing and another miscellaneous item) and needed to resell those items on ebay or Craigslist. The highest percentage of profit (on any of the items) would be the winner.
Let's find out what each contestant purchased and if they were able to sell their items for profit. Don't forget to comment below for your chance at winning a $50 Goodwill gift card OR another card of your choosing if you aren't in a Goodwill area.
This year, I felt like the selection of good quality (resellable) items at the two Goodwills I visited wasn't as good as last year. I had a real hard time finding a non-clothing item that I could make money on. At the end of the day, I ended up with a women's jacket, a mini skirt, and a 3 iron golf club. Here are the specifics:
Marvin Richards Faux Jacket (L) – bought after researching a lot of these jackets are selling for $50-$65 on ebay. I paid $5.49 for this wicket cool jacket, and the lady at the checkout counter said that item should have been listed for $9.99, so right off the bat I saved $4.50!
Ambercrombie & Fitch Women's Mini Skirt (size 10) – found this gem on the green tag sale, which only cost me $0.99. A lot of the skirts I found were selling for $10-$15 online. Plus it was a good size that I thought would be a fairly common size for women who wear Ambercrombie & Fitch.
Ben Hogan Apex 3 Iron – growing up one of the guys that taught me how to play golf played with a set of these irons. The entire golf section had the 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 iron, which I was hoping to make a complete set out of. I paid $3.99 for just the 3 iron, and complete sets were going for $100-$150. Again, when I purchased this item I remembered Aaron's warning of trying to resell golf clubs online last year.
Given my stellar performance during last year's Goodwill Smackdown, I fully expected to take the cake this year again, however my enthusiasm was short-lived. Like Charlie, I didn't feel that there was as good of a selection this year as there was last year. I wonder though, if that's because I shopped at a store that was in a different area of town than the one I shopped at last year, which was in a more upscale suburb. In the end, I picked out a cute pair of Bianca Nygard Jeans, a Royal Seasons Stoneware Christmas-themed Sugar and Creamer Set, and a Santa and the chimney salt and pepper shaker set. The prices I got were great: $3 for the sugar and creamer set, $1 for the salt and pepper shaker set, and $3 for the jeans.
Last year one of my biggest mistakes, I felt, was that I ended my auction at an inconvenient time of day: 6am. So this year I ended at 8pm, figuring more people would be browsing around for good deals and watching during that time of day. One thing I didn't do that I would do next time was to do more research on what people are buying. I think this is crucial to successful resale of thrift store items.
As a newcomer to the Smackdown, I found out that I have a lot to learn. First, in shopping at my local Goodwill, it would have been very beneficial to have an eBay app of some sort to give me an idea of what things were selling for.
Unfortunately, my Samsung 400 (not Galaxy 400, just 400 – aka a flip phone) wasn’t much use so I was left guessing. I purchased a Liz Claiborne women’s leather jacket for $5.75 and an artsy “dream big” wall hanging for $8.00. My last purchase was an indoor s'mores maker ($8.00), which I secretly bought in the hopes that it wouldn’t sell! Testing it to make sure it worked was the favorite part of the challenge for me.
I'm with Charlie and Laurie in that it became a real challenge to find items that seemed to be worthy of resale. I'm not sure if others are getting into the “flipping” game or these items get quickly swallowed up by staff at the stores (or, I'm just not that good at finding the “gems”). I ended up visiting a total of three stores before I was able to find my items below. And, I decided to take a gamble and threw just two items into the ring for resale due to my inability to find a suitable household item I thought could bring in big money.
Lands End Men's Dress Shirt – I actually think the best way to play the Smackdown Challenge is to find items that interest you. Although that didn't work for me before, I stuck with the game plan and found this newer blue/beige stripped dress shirt that caught my eye. I bought it for $6.99, which is kinda high – but figured I could sell it for at least double that online at ebay.
Apples to Apples Board Game – My mother actually picked up this game at a thrift store and we played it on a recent family vacation. Everyone loved it. So, when I discovered a newer version of it at Goodwill, I picked it right up. Selling for only $3.99, I thought I might be able to get 3-4x that on ebay, since I had seen a few of the board games being listed there for over $20.
- Charlie – Items sold: 0
- Laurie – Items sold: 0 (though she did have a few watchers on her items)
- Matthew – Items sold: 1 (the S'more maker for $30 + $7 shipping credit on ebay). Minus expenses of $13 for shipping, $6 ebay commission and $8 pricetag, he took home a $9 profit (11% gross margin).
- Aaron – Items sold: 1 (Apples to Apples board game sold for $16 +$7.70 shipping credit on ebay). Minus expenses of $4 to purchase, $2.37 ebay commission and $7.33 shipping, he took home $10 in profit (60% gross margin).
The victor: Aaron!
Aaron will be donating his winnings to Oaks Counseling – a ministry which provides free counseling services to cross-cultural workers.
Comment and win!
Please leave a comment below to be entered to win a $50 gift card from Goodwill. Surprised at the results? Have you tried reselling any thrift store items for profit – and if so – what were your results? Please comment by midnight (CST) Friday, September 26 to be eligible. A winner will be picked using Random.org and notified on the 29th.
Thanks for following along!