We asked top Instagram thrift sellers their advice for starting an Instagram thrifting business. Here are their top 5 tips!
Katelyn, owner of the Instagram shop @abitchforbrandy, talked to us about the reality of starting an Instagram thrifting business. The first question we asked was something we all wonder: 'how much does it really cost to get started?'
"It definitely depends on what you're selling but for me the basic things were getting poly-mailers and shipping supplies," Katelyn replied. We looked on Amazon and saw that you can find poly-mailers on Amazon in packs of 25 for as little as $8.
Your next essential expense will be purchasing the inventory you're going to resell. According to Katelyn, "your starting inventory doesn't have to be a lot. I think you just need enough for a drop or two and then you can reinvest your profits back into your business." The average Instagram thrift reseller drops about 12 items at a time, so if you want to have enough inventory for your first 2 drops, you'll need to purchase about 24 individual items. Assuming your items cost $6 each on average, you'll need to spend about $144 total to have enough inventory for your first two drops.
Buying everything you need to launch your Instagram thrifting business should cost you less than $200. Once you have your poly-mailers and enough inventory to get you started, you'll be ready to start selling with the best of them!
According to Erika, owner of @caligalthrifted, it's best to start off by selling through story sales. In order to sell over Instagram stories, you just need to take a nice photo of the item you're selling, then post an Instagram story featuring the item picture, name, and price.
Erika says that starting with story sales is not only an easy way to sell, but can also help you grow your business by increasing engagement and traffic to your business's account. "Story sales are a good way to go if you're just starting out, especially for helping people engage with your stories and hopefully bring more traffic to your account," says Erika.
As a thrift reseller, there are two main ways to price items: you can have your customers bid on items and then allow the highest bidder to purchase, or you can do set pricing, where all your items are listed for specific prices. You may notice that many top Instagram resellers run their accounts with the bidding system; however, according to top Instagram resellers like Erika, starting out with set pricing may be a lot easier.
Erika explained that when you're just starting out you should "go with set prices first because you don't really have the audience for bidding yet — meaning true bidding that will get prices high enough for you to make a profit." Once you build a larger following and customer base, then you'll be able to transition to the bidding system in a more profitable way because you will have your large and loyal customer base competing to purchase items they love.
Cathy, owner of the shop @closet.by.cath, started her account with the bidding system and she said that she regrets not starting out with set prices at first. She says that "if you're just starting out, set pricing is definitely the way to go."
There are two key components to taking amazing item and drop pictures:
1) making sure the lighting is good
2) making sure your items aren't wrinkly
It's important that your customers are able to clearly see what the item looks like and that the item is presented in an attractive way. Clear pictures with good lighting will make your customers feel more confident in purchasing the item.
According to Bailey, owner of the shop @flybythrifts, "lighting is definitely a big thing and can make or break your drop picture — if you have warm lighting, that can definitely draw people in." She recommends "using a ring light, natural lighting, and making sure you lay the item out nicely and use the steamer so you can make sure it's wrinkle-free."
When it comes to gaining customers, it's very important to create a positive and memorable customer experience because it can actually help you grow your customer base. "When your customers are really happy with their purchases and they're sharing to their stories and tagging you, all of their followers see that and it's giving your business more exposure," says Katelyn.
Katelyn stressed the importance of "having really cute packaging," as well as writing personal notes on her business cards thanking her customers and asking them to post photos in the items they bought and tag her. According to Katelyn, the key is to make your current customers so happy that they want to share about your business.