I’m starting thrift store. Should I just rely on searching for used clothing from garage sales, auctions, and other thrift stores? Or are there any types of businesses that specifically sell used clothing for startup thrift stores? I understand that searching for the used clothing is part of the businesses, but I’d rather have a better system in place than going out constantly to such places. Any advice or creative ideas would be helpful.
by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space
You may want to advertise that you’ll buy used clothing in your community and let inventory come to you. Post it on CraigsList, hang a big sign on your storefront saying “We Buy Used Clothing”, and handout fliers in the neighborhood. Let everyone in your community know that you are someone who buys used clothing, and let people come to you when they want to get rid of old clothes.
In addition, if you care less about quality than quantity, you can try buying in bulk. I’m sure there are places that sell used clothing in bulk at steeply discounted prices. Maybe a lot of it is junk, but if the price is low enough, it can save you time running around, and time is money!
Another option is eBay. You never have to leave your home if you buy on eBay. Over time, you might be able to develop some trusted relationships, where you can buy enough clothing to off-set the shipping costs.
Also, see the comments below. Lots of good ideas!