My first year as a reseller I wondered if I was going to make any money for the holidays.  For the most part I sell predominantly vintage or thrifted clothing. Since I hadn’t stocked my shop with Holiday dresses or Ugly Christmas sweaters, I mentally prepared myself to not really worry about making money during the Christmas season and I decided I would be happy for what little sales would come through. Also, I really didn’t want to have a set of “holiday” focused inventory that I would have to keep and store if it didn’t sell. But to my surprise I did sell some items in fact they were all thrift items and NOT New with Tag. From my sales I learned there are people who will give certain thrift items as presents and that you can still make money as a reseller selling thrifted items as gifts during the holidays.

What thrift items to resell for holiday cash

One of the first things you must do when selling thrifted items for holiday cash is to grab inventory that can be thrifted at a good price. The key here is to buy low like you normally would this is especially the case because you are taking a gamble on rather it sells or not in a limited time period for the holiday season.  I try to thrift with the buyer in mind and procure things that can easily be a “holiday” gift but also could be used at other times of the year.

Here is the type of holiday inventory to look for:

#1: RARE

People will invest into rare items especially if they are vintage around the holidays and splurge around the holidays when they would not spend that much at other times. An example of an rare item for the holiday season is this Vintage Lee Jacket. It sat in my closet for several months but someone purchased it last year for a present for her husband. Per the buyer she was replacing one that her husband used to have. Some other rare items might include vintage Crystal, silverware, or jewelry that can be scouted at your local thrift store.

Vintage Lee jacket
VINTAGE LEE JACKET

#2: THROWBACK

An item that would bring back nostalgia for different generations (think cross over generations like Gen X and Millennials).  This Jelly Bean Sweater is a vintage 90’s promotional sweater that someone purchased for their significant other during the holiday season.

90s vintage jelly bean nostalgia sweater
90’S VINTAGE PROMO SWEATER

#3: VINTAGE DESIGNER

These vintage red Ferragamo shoes were purchased during the holiday season and when I posted them I knew they would sell quickly (they sold within 2 days for $100 and I purchased for $1). They are the perfect “holiday party” shoe which also can be worn any time. Vintage designer adds panache to the gift and moves it to the “rarity” camp of not only being vintage but also designer.

VARA FERRAGAMO SHOES THRIFT VINTAGE
VINTAGE FERRAGAMO VARA SHOES

Some key aspects to remember is that you are looking for thrift pricing but to the customer it should appear to be high quality.  This way your item perceptional moves into the “vintage” department which makes the item more unique and therefore worth buying as a gift. Also, there are many socially conscious customers who believe in fashion sustainability and are willing to buy “used” gifts or items. But with the millions of pieces of vintage online you have to make sure your item is unique.  Ask yourself  “Is this something they can find at any thrift store or is it rare or brings back nostalgia by taking the buyer down memory lane?” 

How to market to make Christmas money?

I try to keep the items that are higher priced that could be a good gift at the top of my closet or make it a featured item.  I also mix in lower priced items so that a budget conscious buyer is not turned off by my higher priced items.  

With selling vintage for Christmas, people are usually browsing they are looking for something  special but they may not even know what they want. For example, a shopper is typically not looking for a “1979 Diana Von Furstenberg Wrap Dress with an abstract print” unless they are trying to replace it, like in the example above with the Vintage Lee Jacket. No matter the customer, rather they are specifically looking for something or have no idea it will be important to be very very detailed with your titles and descriptions and make sure they are SEO friendly for whatever platform you are selling on (i.e. Depop, eBay, Poshmark, Etsy, etc).  Promoting on Pinterest won’t hurt either just make sure to market ahead of the holiday curve about 6 weeks before the holiday to ensure good traction. Additionally updating your shop has holiday banners, theme, messaging (I haven’t done this, however it’s a good idea if making Christmas money is your goal). I know if I change my shop with a Christmas theme it will be up a long time and I probably will not change it back to about Easter, much like my Christmas tree that probably stays up wayyy too long!


Cleaning & Packaging is important for holiday sales

Even if you do not normally clean your items for reselling, around the holidays from a customer service perspective you should be cleaning them.  It will make for a better presentation and put in the mind of the customer you are a place that they can receive gifts from and not just purchases.  They are many holidays beyond Christmas that a customer can return to your shop for and purchase again.  As such, make sure you package your item as nicely as possible, as sometimes the customer may not repackage and if your packaging is nice enough they will just give the gift as received.  You will not always know when someone is buying a as a present, sometimes a buyer tells me, but around the holidays its nice for anyone to receive a present nicely wrapped even if they bought it for themself! Never underestimate a person buying a gift for themself and/or splurging in anticipation of Christmas money to be received.   

Ultimately when getting your reselling shop ready for the holidays you have to  source your inventory with the buyer in mind. 

To entice repeat customers make sure to offer a return discount and advise that you would be continually filling your stock (if that is the true) with more inventory and more gift-worthy items!

how to make money selling thrift holidays