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The brand image of a thrift store has changed significantly over the years. Today, a consignment and thrift store can offer a wide variety of high-end items at a fraction of the cost that buying new would offer. The term “gently used” truly does exist, and its popularity among shoppers continues to grow.
With that said, it’s not surprising that more and more female entrepreneurs are finding ways to enter the consignment and thrift store industry – as shoppers and business owners. Today, both franchisees and independent entrepreneurs are finding success as thrift store owners.
The resale industry is growing with $17 billion in combined annual revenue among approximately 20,000 stores in the United States according to data from Dun & Bradstreet’s First Research. Separate research from IBISWorld estimates that the industry grew by 3.3% between 2012 and 2017.
Does the resale industry sound interesting to you? Do you have what it takes to own an online or brick and mortar resale store? Take a look at the three key things you should understand about the industry before you dive in.
1. You Need to Hustle
It’s not always easy to find items to sell in your online or offline store. Unfortunately, you won’t open your doors and find a line of people waiting with amazing items that they want you to sell for them. Instead, you’ll need to hustle to find merchandise, and you’ll need to spend a lot of time sorting through junk to find the treasures.
2. You Need to Haggle
Sellers and buyers will want to negotiate – always. The resale industry is one where the perception is that no price is every final. Television shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Hunters have added to that perception. To that end, you need to enjoy haggling or you’ll be miserable in this business.
3. You Need Cash
A lot of the merchandise you’ll want to buy to sell in your store will have to be purchased in cash. For example, most yard sales, auctions, and flea markets only operate in cash. That means to stock your store initially and on an ongoing basis, you’ll need access to cash. Of course, if you only operate on consignments, this won’t be an issue for you. However, if you want to resell anything not on consignment, be sure to get your cash flow in order first.
Is the Thrift Store Opportunity Right for You?
Only you can decide if you’re ready to pursue joining the resale industry. Like all business ownership opportunities, you’ll need to work hard to get customers and close sales, and you’ll work long hours. Make sure you choose an industry you love and a business model you believe in.