If you love wearing some of the finest fashions, this report will give you the best of two worlds. We will show you how you can get exciting high fashion clothing, shoes, and accessories for yourself — for a fraction of their standard costs! And, we’ll show you how you can make money by offering the same fashions to women in your area who also appreciate fine apparel.
No, you don’t have to go out and hold up a bank or wait for a rich relative to leave you a bundle of money. Everything you need is likely right in your own town — and in your hands right now. But, you need to know something about the fashion resale business, so let’s get started.
In most major cities and in many smaller towns, there are businesses set up to offer lightly worn, previously owned clothes. These are known as Resale Shops. In the following few pages, we will show you how this group of specialized retailers gets their supply of the finest women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories at just pennies. We will also show you how to copy their success and make money by offering these fashions to the general public.
You only need determination, a little working capital, and an eye for value.
First, let’s look at an example of the kind of wardrobe you could build for yourself. And take a good look at the comparisons between the original cost and what you could expect to pay as a reseller for some of the finest fashions on the market today. We think you’ll be happily surprised.
In our research for small one-person business opportunities, we asked a very successful resale dealer to give us a detailed list of her own fashion wardrobe that we may use as an example in publishing this report.
Because personal tastes will vary greatly, we’re not suggesting that these will be clothing items that would interest you personally. But, this will show you the values you could expect when you know how this business operates.
This wardrobe is owned by Ms. A. Benson, a businesswoman in her mid-forties. She meets with other business professionals regularly, attends a few social functions occasionally, is not an outdoor person, and earns a moderate income. She supports herself through her business efforts, so she must watch every penny she spends. She resides in a community where the cost of living is considered one of the highest in the United States. Obviously, she has to be frugal to make her budget give the optimum result.
Ms. Benson’s fashion wardrobe was assembled over six months to a year. If you were to spend all your money at one time on the things she acquired, you might not be able to find everything listed in a short period. However, you can steadily build up a fantastic clothing inventory if you apply yourself to the task.
Patience is the name of the game here. If you are willing to work at the procedures we outline and will wait for the right buying opportunities to show up, Ms. Benson’s success is an example of the type of wardrobe you could build for yourself:
|Clothing Item||Retail Cost||Ms. Benson’s Cost|
|Belted suit by Casual Corner||$185||$30|
|Andrew Geller high-heeled classic pumps||$72||$12|
|Silk blouse by Alan Austin of Beverly Hills||$65||$10|
|Evan-Picone wool skirt||$72||$12|
|Barbara Lee cashmere cardigan||$70||$11|
|Joan & David designer flat shoes||$65||$10|
|Ferragamo designer sandals||$165||$13|
|Camelhair wrap-around coat||$210||$45|
|2-pc.Jose Magnin wool dress||$90||$15|
|Lambs’ wool turtleneck sweater||$45||$7|
|Christian Dior blouse||$60||$10|
|Wool wrap-around jacket-sweater||$58||$9|
|California Girl tailored dress||$85||$14|
|Bill Blass swimsuit||$35||$9|
|Saks Fifth Avenue summer slacks||$45||$7|
As you see, Ms. Benson would have paid $1,475 for her fashion wardrobe at the total retail price. But she could get all these top fashions for $238 — less than 17% of the retail cost! Wouldn’t you like to do the same?
Where And How Do Resale Dealers Get Their Fantastic Buys?
It may be difficult for you to visualize what it is like to be a partner in a marriage that collectively brings home $500,000 to $1,000,000 a year. Professionals, including doctors and attorneys, executives, and many others, earn annual incomes in these figures.
If the woman in a family like this works, she likely has a high-profile position. Her clothing must be the finest. If only the husband works, the wife generally has the time to spend shopping. She can spend a considerable amount of money on personal purchases. There are many people in these high-income brackets. Visit the shopping areas such as Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Indian Wells in Palm Springs, Fifth Avenue in New York, Michigan Boulevard in Chicago, the Dallas Galleria…and the list continues. All the affluent communities in the United States have equally high-class shopping areas.
Because of their affluence, these women can spend money on expensive clothing and an extensive selection of clothes. They are also very fashion-conscious and may shop for a new wardrobe every season.
Owners of resale shops give these women an opportunity to recoup some of their expenses when they decide to change wardrobes. Many women who do not have to work for a living — as well as many who do and need extensive, up-to-date wardrobes to maintain a well-heeled professional image — turn over the clothing they do not need or want to resale to store owners.
Resale shops offer savvy buyers an extraordinary opportunity to get lightly-worn fashions at a fraction of the original price. However, do not consider that everything in these stores is used clothing. In many cases, clothes and shoes may never have been worn, and many still have the original price tags attached!
There are many reasons a clothing item may be turned over to a resale shop. Here are some of them. A woman may have gained or lost weight, going up or down a full size or more, and it may not be possible to alter the garment to fit. Some women whose weight fluctuates considerably will keep full wardrobes on hand in two or three sizes! It stands to reason that if such a woman happened to maintain the same size for a whole season, there would be many clothes she had not worn in the other sizes by the end of that season. If she wants to buy the newest styles for each year’s season, she will have never-worn clothes to clear out of her closets to make room for the new.
Then, too, everyone makes mistakes from time to time in shopping. A garment may be purchased without trying it on because it resembles another that looks good or fits well. It is only when the buyer gets it home and tries it on — or perhaps after she wears it once — that she realizes it is actually not made in the same way or is not as flattering as she expected it to be. Sometimes a color that looked good on a woman in the store’s fluorescent lighting may be very unflattering on her in daylight or under normal electric lighting.
Sometimes an item, mainly if it is offered at a reasonable sale price, may be bought without regard to the accessories it needs to go with it. One woman told me she once bought a beautiful suit at a wonderful clearance price and realized that the only shoes that would go with it properly would be navy suede pumps. She searched for two years for navy suede pumps which were not being manufactured at all at the time, and never wore the suit for that reason.
Again, a woman may have absolutely nothing in her wardrobe to match the sale item, and a great deal of shopping may be necessary to find all the other clothing items that will make that one item wearable. Someone whose wardrobe is predominantly composed of pastel colors, for example, with all coats and shoes in soft beiges, pale pink, and pale greens, may be unable to resist a stylish red and black designer dress she finds at a sale price. But, that dress will remain unworn until she gathers shoes, coat, jewelry, and other accessories that will go with it — and that day may never come.
A woman may also change her hair color or makeup style and find that the clothing colors she formerly wore clash badly with her new look. Even changing hairstyle or hair length may mean necessary changes in clothing style.
Sometimes a move to another climate or a nearby city, a change in job status or designation, a pregnancy, a change in social life — any number of factors will require major wardrobe changes for the women who can afford to make them.
Their losses are your gain. These clothing items are available to those individuals who can buy them back, so to speak, from their owners at a significantly reduced cost. And you can both build your own wardrobe and your bank account at the same time by purchasing these items.
Resale shops obtain much inventory from wholesale and retail merchants at liquidation prices. A professional close-out jobber or liquidator is not interested in purchasing clothes on a one-of-this or one-of-that basis but in lot assortments. These people cannot devote time to a personalized selling situation to move out a few selected items. So, they may turn them over to a resale shop where they can be sold one at a time.
Resale shop owners often maintain contact with small manufacturers to buy out remaindered clothing items that cannot be sold in quantity because too few items are left. Manufacturers will also discontinue some lines of clothing or go out of business. Again, resale shop owners will be their customers for the unsold clothing items.
Importers, too, may change or drop lines and want to clear their inventory of these discontinued items. They will instead wholesale them to resale shop owners.
Owners of some high fashion retail boutiques have a special problem. Many would not dare put the word “sale” in their show windows or mark down any of their merchandise for fear of losing those customers who want to be known to buy at only the most exclusive and expensive stores. One boutique owner in Beverly Hills was recently quoted in a local newspaper story as saying he not only never marked down his merchandise, he marked up the merchandise left over at the end of the season! For this reason, boutique owners will often sell off high-priced clothing items to owners of resale shops because they are otherwise unable to clear out merchandise to make room for new stock.
Special sales such as those held by the U.S. Customs also offer buying opportunities to resale dealers and other retailers. The U.S. Customs’ facilities in various cities have auctions to move confiscated or unredeemed items. Many of these items are available in substantial cargo quantities. We attended one U.S. Customs auction in San Pedro, California, where a buyer purchased 60 huge cartons of men’s shirts.
Police Departments and the U.S. Postal Service also hold auction sales of merchandise, sometimes twice a year. The Postal Service sells the items that were undeliverable due to lost or unreadable addresses on the parcels. Police Departments will auction off lost, stolen, or unclaimed items. Clothing items in various quantities may often turn up at such government auctions.
Fashion resale is becoming a huge business. In the Los Angeles area, there are numerous resale shops. In some major cities, you will find them listed under a particular heading in the telephone directories. Los Angeles is the center of the film and television industry, and resale shop owners find excellent buying opportunities from the wardrobe departments of the movie and television studios.
Movie and television stars are often allowed to keep the wardrobes made or bought for them for a particular film or show — wardrobes they may not be interested in keeping afterward. Some Los Angeles resale shops specialize in clothing items worn by stars in professional appearances or in their private lives. Some actresses and show business personalities are constantly in the public eye in a professional capacity and must provide their own huge wardrobes, which they then must turn over frequently.
How You Can Make Money As A Fashion Resale Dealer
Your prime objective in setting yourself up in this money-making business is to do everything possible to assure yourself of a continuous supply of merchandise. Suppose you can take the time to visit a major city. In that case, you can contact retail merchants and charitable organizations to purchase unsold clothing items after flea market or rummage sale events. Contact the various government sellers, manufacturing facilities, jobbers, and distributors with odd lots to sell and with liquidators who work with retailers to clear close-out merchandise.
Many retail stores, incidentally, offer their floor salespeople PM deals (PM meaning Ôpast models’). A shoe store, for example, will give a salesman an extra $2 or $3 in commission every time he sells a pair of shoes of a brand or style that has been discontinued. Retail store owners finally reach a point where the selection of sizes and colors is so limited in a particular line that they will listen to any reasonable offer to convert that unsold inventory into hard cash.
Locating prime merchandise can be time-consuming. You often must go from one store to another to line up your purchases. However, after you are known as someone willing to pay cash on the spot, you will add to your supply source. You may get, for example, only ten or twenty new pairs of shoes from each store. But, a route of five or ten stores could more than take care of your needs for shoes for your customers (and yourself!) for several months.
Suppose you cannot visit and shop in the major cities yourself. In that case, you will want to consider appointing a resident buyer. This is someone who will do buying for you on a percentage basis. This will require some recruiting talents on your part, but it is not impossible. You may be able to receive assistance from a friend or relative who lives in or near an affluent community. You may want to look up “Resident Buyers” in that city’s telephone or business directories to help locate assistance.
In many cases, you can build your stock by using a direct mail solicitation. Suppose your letterhead gives the impression that you are established in business. In that case, merchants will consider your appeal. They will give you an indication of what they have available for immediate shipping.
All retail stores work on the principle that they must turn over their entire stock of merchandise a certain number of times per year. Studies show that a typical retail clothing store looks no less than 2.7 times a year for turnover ratios. This means the store owner must buy and resell his entire stock almost thrice yearly. The turnover goal varies from one industry to another. However, the vital thing to realize is that these retailers have a continuing need to eliminate merchandise that has been unsold to make room for newer fashions.
How Much Money Can You Make In The Resale Business?
Your ultimate profit will depend on how much merchandise you sell. But, it is possible to obtain designer shoes that normally retail for $170 for $10 or less and resell them for $30 or more. That would be a 300% markup, far more than retail stores ever make! The same holds true for other clothing items. Your profit will depend upon the merchandise you obtain and the final resale cost.
As we mentioned on the first page, you can build a fantastic wardrobe while operating your resale business. You will be able to have the “pick” of your stock when it happens to be in your size and keep it for yourself! It’s your stock, after all, and you have paid for it. And the beautiful clothes you wear will naturally make a favorable impression on your customers. If you find a good supply of coats or sweaters, for example, you may decide to specialize in those items. There is no limit to the directions you can go. You are your own boss in this business!
Once you have established yourself in your area as someone who can offer delicate clothing items at the lowest prices, you may wish to expand your business into renting a shop and acquiring many different suppliers. As the initial investment in clothing items for resale is minimal, you can “learn by doing” and move ahead at your own pace. Good Luck!