A Novice's Experience Purchasing a Pallet of Clothing
Down the Rabbit Hole
The onset of Covid-19 was in our midst and what was a new reseller to do but look for new ways to source. Unfortunately, I led myself down a rabbit hole of ways to obtain cheap brand name clothing. I thoroughly read the website, making sure to understand the terms and conditions. I purchased the pallet, and within a few days, I expected to receive hundreds of items to list for my online resale business. Simple right? WRONG!
Not even for a second did I foresee the mess I had gotten myself into.
Work Would Have to Be Done
I knew from the beginning that I would have to put time and energy into listing these items. The basics of reselling: research, photographing, and maybe steaming a few things.
But not even for a second did I foresee the mess I had gotten myself into. There were control tags on most of the items. Many had ink stains and damage. I was surrounded by mountains of work before I'd ever get to photographing the items, let alone list them.
If I had been a seasoned pallet purchaser, I would had a strong magnet to remove the tags. I might have anticipated a few blemishes in the clothing.
But as a novice, I was somehow given a broad idea that these items were simply store returns with only about 20% having defects. Of the 136 items I received, I swear 80% were riddled with holes and stains. Some had blown-out butt pockets. in the end I had only 25 items I could list right away and 30 items I could do minor repairs to. I was out $700 and there was no light in sight at the end of the tunnel.
I Wish I Hadn't Been Blinded by PROFIT
All I had seen were low costs per item and high return.
The Company Was NOT at Fault
Although anyone would be quick to place blame on the liquidation company, they weren't at fault. What I really had wanted to purchase was a "shelf pulls" pallet, untouched merchandise that a customer hadn't had a chance to wear and return.
Oops, did I really just say that? YUP! Many items were previously worn with pit stains. (To get a little off-topic, do people not realize employees know you've worn it? Those stains aren't put there prior to purchase). What I did purchase was labelled a "returns pallet," regretfully so. All I saw were low cost per item and high return. Who doesn't want to pay less than $4 an item and get fast profits?
What I Anticipated Vs. What I Got
136 resellable items
25 ready to go items, 30 needing simple repairs
Cost of goods: $4 each
Cost of goods: $16 each
Quick listing and fast profits
Four months of slowly repairing and listing the items, and much lower return than anticipated
What 80% of My Pallet Looked Like
"If It's Too Good to Be True, It Is"
In about four months I have successfully sold twelve items, with a total of $288 in sales. I have a long way to go to get near breaking even, and hope for profit has gone out the window.
This advice should help you avoid making the same mistakes:
- Make sure to get a full manifest of items included in the pallet. Partial lists will give you an idea, but know they will list the best items and leave the rest unlisted under a generic name with low retail, because it is probably socks.
- MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price)means absolutely nothing for resale. Research the items from the manifest provided, and save the information you find, because if you do end up purchasing the items this will save you time when it is time to list.
- Returns will have damage. Even if they say there is a small percentage, expect to fix zippers and sew holes.
- Invest in a strong magnet: this will make sure you don't ruin any items you receive with control tags. Magnets are easily purchased online by many retailers. Some liquidation sites also offer a magnet as an add on.
- Don't just purchase because the per-item cost is low, that really is the tell-tale sign of "if it's too good to be true, it is." If you aren't prepared to put in the extra work, don't do it.
- Ask the company any questions, or visit their FAQs page. Online reviews are great and can give you a sense of who you are doing business with.
If nothing else comes of this experience, I hope you take the advice prior to making a silly purchase based on hopes and dreams as I did.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2020 Stephanie Escate