RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Bargain hunters have been searching the thrift stores for decades, but a handful aren't shopping for themselves, they're buying items to "flip" for profit.
NBC12 photojournalist Jennifer Warnick tried her hand at picking some clothes to flip. Armed with a list of Clothes Mentor's accepted brands, she found four jackets at Family Thrift on Midlothian Turnpike, spending around $12.
"A very winter style and we have a short winter season window," explained Jessica Lewis from Clothes Mentor. "A little on the busier side. When it does not have a full sleeve, it's harder to move. This is from 2008."
Wanting more insight, Warnick enlisted the help of personal stylist Syndey Lester. This is what she and her sisters do, buy low and sell high through their online store, the Genesis Clothing Company. Between the dollar rack and the weekly markdowns, one of her favorite spots to shop is the Thrifty Quaker in Midlothian.
Some thrift stores pull their higher dollar items to sell elsewhere. Thrifty Quaker is charity-based, giving thousands to different local causes each month, which has in turn kept customers donating quality stuff for 20 years. They welcome flippers.
"To take things that other people are sharing and let people make a living, what is better than that and help other people it's like helping on helping on helping," Assistant Manager Beth Schanz says.
"I usually only spend about $10 and come out with 5, 10, 15 pieces," Sydney says.
She's had success with belts and clothing. She says shoes and handbags from thrift stores don't sell as well
"Find things that you would like for yourself or that someone you know would like and that way if it doesn't sell, either you get a new piece for really cheap or a friend gets a new piece," she continued.
Look for dates on tags. Resale stores want items two-years-old or less. We get a few pieces to resell, spending $19. So let's see how they do.
The yellow dress, more suited for juniors. Clothes Mentor usually doesn't accept silk, with Lewis saying that, "You'll still have to go and get it dry cleaned on top of having already paid for the piece."
The square cut on the Fabrik shirt means it's a no go, and the designer jacket had a flaw. But the tank is a winner.
"This is definitely something we'd bring into inventory. It's Banana Republic. It's one of our better moving brands." Jessica says.
Warnick only sold one item, but here's where it turns around.
Six months ago, she found an amazing lot of new shoes on a local online auction. Warnick ended up getting 16 pairs of shoes for $64. Danskos, Crocs, Clarks, Steve Madden, all good labels, but a few of them don't fit.
The ten pairs she keeps are worth more than 300 bucks with those shoes ending up garnering a majority of the profit.
"Five pairs of shoes and the Banana Republic tank top, if you do a store credit you get a 25% bonus. So the store credit offer is $63.75 and if you went with cash straight up you can walk out the door with $51 in cash," owner Christian Tefel has the final total.
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