Where to Source Inventory While Quarantined
That has been my internal monologue since March 5th, 2020. That was the day Sean and I decided to keep our youngest daughter home from school, and begin preparations for a long term quarantine at home. Since that day it's been a rollar coaster of: Am I happy? Am I sad? I'm definitely sad. But I LOVE being home with my loves! Oh my god, so many people are dying, and I'm terrified. Is my family in Florida ok? How are we out of creamer? AGAIN! I'm binging The Office again, I know I just finished it, but it's magic. Don't judge me. These kids are driving me crazy. And ultimately, I land here by the end of the day... Stop complaining, you petty woman. People are dying without being able to say goodbye to their loved ones.
Between all of those emotions, I have been faced with a really significant problem. Where am I going to get inventory to keep listing on Poshmark, Ebay, Mercari and my website? This is my business, that I've built with my own two hot little hands, for years. How am I going to keep this alive when I'm isolated in this house, with these kids, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? So after a few sleepless nights of stressing the F out, scouring the internet for solutions, (hoping to steal someone else's ideas)
I've found some easy solutions, and I'd like to share them here. I'm really not so much into the super long back story on most blogs, so here is the recipe in order from least to most expensive.
Purge your house :
You may be surprised at what is lurking in your closet. For example, I found a pair of Paul Green maryjane wedges in a shoe box, only worn once. I LOVE them, but alas, I have a medical condition commonly referred to as Flintstone feet, so they pinch me a little and I can't handle even minor discomfort. It's a problem. But these are the perfect things to list right now. They're in great condition, stored in a box, classic style, comfortable (not for me but ya) and didn't cost me a thing to find. I also found a bin full of action figures that are great for customizing. I know someone is home, and bored, and will snatch them up for their hobby. Start thinking about the kinds of things people are looking for right now. It may not necessarily be clothing. Board games Crafts Books Baskets Home Decor Toys Sewing supplies Cookbooks with pictures to engage kids in the kitchen Art supplies The side effect of this option a cleaner, more organized home, and you still have items to list everyday.
Ask your family to purge their homes:
Feel free to reach out to family members that live nearby, and schedule a pick up of their unwanted items. After sanitizing, of course. If you're bored at home, purging your unwanteds, so is everyone else. Tap into that.
Using social media for sourcing: With all of the apps, platforms, and resources we have available right now, it's never been easier to connect to people in your neighborhood. Take your begging to the next level and reach out to your neighbors. I made a post on my Nextdoor app, and simply explained what I do and asked if anyone had donations sitting in their homes with no where to go. Remember, in cities with stay home orders, all non-essential businesses are closed. This may mean thrift stores, consignment stores, and boutiques. Donations are stopping at most of these places, but the quantity has been bottle necked at the ones still accepting donations. I phrased my post in a way to inform people that I was available as a drop off point. And I highlighted my desire to keep fair to high quality items out of dumpters as people get desperate to be rid of them. The response was overwhelming to the point that I had to take down my posts. Your community is there for you, you just need to ask. So aside from the Nextdoor app, here are some others places to make a community post. Facebook post in Marketplace Instagram Twitter Community Web portals Thrift store webpages in the comments section/review sections. You may get 1 or 2 naysayers that will attack you for doing this, but miserable gonna miserable, so ignore them graciously, and move on. I actually got MORE donations from people because of the one woman who attacked me in my post.
Buying deadstock/wholesale: By far the most expensive option. Up till this point, everything has been free, or the cost of a smile. But if you're coming up empty with the other options, you can always buy wholesale boxes from online distributors. Some of these sites require a business license to purchase from, but not all. There are so many out there, I won't even bother listing them. The trick is to find one that fits your "brand". Do you normally sell men's clothing? Google search 'men's wholesale clothing' Plus size? 'plus size wholesale' or 'Torrid bulk purchase' Places like Thred Up even offer RESCUE BOXES. These are boxes filled with merchandise that start at around $15 per box. The mixed clothing boxes are $60 for 25 pieces, so $2.40 per item. Now that's a pretty good price point for a reseller. People also sell "Mystery Boxes" on Poshmark and Ebay, but buyer beware, this may be filled with stuff that the seller couldn't move for months. So you take your chances. And don't be the person that bought a mystery box, didn't like what was inside and tries to return it.
I purchased a wholesale box from Nordstrom that set me back about $350. It was for 50 pieces of NWT (new with tags) women's clothing. My box arrived a couple of weeks later, and I am actually very happy with the contents. Lots of summer tops and dresses, mostly Lucky Brand and Free People, and a bunch of Blank NYC jeans, like this pair.
The actual cost of the box was $320, the rest was shipping. So my price point before shipping was about $6.40 per item. All of the jeans retail for $98 or more, and a couple of the dresses retail for $150-180. Not too shabby!! I like listing new items with the majority of my gently used inventory, because it draws in business and people tend to bundle multiple items together for a more authentic shopping experience. But that's it! I want to thank the Poshmark group on Facebook for the Nextdoor app post idea. Please check them out by typing Poshmark in the search bar on Facebook. It's a great community of resellers and buyers that help one another out. ***ALWAYS keep yourself and others safe by wearing a mask during pickups or drop offs of donations. Maintain social distance. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds after handling any incoming items. I recommend keeping donations in plastic bags, OUTSIDE until you are ready to process them, OUTSIDE. Then straight to the wash. HAPPY SOURCING!