Thrift Store Experiment – Updated Sales

Awhile back I wrote about my ‘thrift store experiment’ which took place in January.  It has been two months since our first listing sold and I wanted to update where we are at.

The goal of the experiment was to answer the following questions.

  • How much does one day of average shopping actually profit?
  • How long would it take to sell thru each item?
  • What was the average price of each item?

To start, we listed 85 items and spent a total of $399.53 on inventory.

Updated Totals 3/17

Number of items sold:  70

Total Sales (not including shipping):  $2102.64

Average price per item:   $30.04

Sell thru percentage:   82%

Profit to date:   $1703.11

What Sold?


These items sold for $40 or more:

1.  Vintage Polo Ralph Lauren Jacket                         $82.99

2.  Austin Reed Sport Coat 52 L                                    $66.01

3.  Hart Schaffner Marx Sport Coat 52 L                   $62.00

4.  Harris Tweed Lands End Sport Coat 46 L            $52.00

5.  Oxxford Blazer 56 S                                                    $49.99

6.  Jos A Bank Over Coat 40 L                                       $49.99

7.  Talbots Blazer 20W                                                    $47.50

8.  Brooks Brothers Seersucker Jacket 45 L              $46.00



These items sold from $34.99-$39.99:

09.  Jos A Bank Suit 48 L                                       $39.99

10.  Hart Schaffner Marx Suit 44 R                    $39.99

11.  Jos A Bank Suit 44 L                                       $39.99

12.  Vintage Levis ‘Action’ Suit                          $39.99

13.  Tzarelli Sport Coat 52 L                                 $34.99

14.  Harris Tweed Sport Coat 42 L                      $34.99

15.  Womens Athleta Jacket XS                          $34.99

16.  Hart Schaffner Marx Sport Coat 48 XL    $34.99

17.  Austin Reed Suit 38 S                                    $34.99

18.  Ralph Lauren Equestrian Jacket 8            $34.99



These items sold for $29.99-34.98:

19.  70s Leisure Jacket 44 R                                   $33.00

20.  70s Green Tweed Jacket 40 S                        $31.00

21.  Dibenedetto Blazer 56 L                                  $29.99

22.  Vintage Brooks Brothers Cardigan L          $29.99

23.  Green Golf Blazer 48 R                                    $29.99

24.  Foreman & Clark Blazer 58 L                        $29.99

25.  Hart Schaffner Marx Blazer 46 R                 $29.99



These items sold for $24.99 – $29.98:

26.  Stafford Tweed Vest / Waistcoat L                         $26.00

27.  Vintage Corduroy Vest / Waistcoat M                   $25.49

28.  Stafford Blazer 50 R                                                    $24.99

29.  Murano Vest / Waistcoat XL                                     $24.99

30.  Hardwick Blazer 54 L                                                  $24.99

31.  Ralph Lauren Blazer 48 S                                            $24.99

32.  Eileen Fisher Cardigan 1X                                          $24.99

33.  Womens Brooks Brothers Tunic 14                        $24.99

34.  Stafford Blazer Black 50 R                                         $24.99

35.  Tahari Blazer 4                                                              $24.99

36.  Ann Taylor Leather Jacket 10P                                $24.99

37.  Womens Ralph Lauren Puffer Vest XL                 $24.99

38.  Jos A Bank Sport Coat 52 R                                       $24.99

39.  Harbor Bay Blazer 52 L                                              $24.99

40.  Stafford Sport Coat Black 50 R                               $24.99

41.   Vintage Western Jacket 44 L                                  $24.99

42.  Brooks Brothers Sport Coat 44 R                          $24.99

43.  Ralph Lauren Blouse 1X                                            $24.99

44.  Hart Schaffner Marx Blazer 40 R                          $24.99

45.  Hart Schaffner Marx Sport Coat 44 L                  $24.99

46.  Banana Republic Sport Coat 42 R                        $24.99

47.  Chaps Womens Blazer 16W                                   $24.99

48.  Stafford Sport Coat 52 R                                          $24.99

49.  Womens Ralph Lauren Sweater 2X                      $24.99

50.  Vintage Levis Shirt M                                               $24.99

51.  Brooks Brothers Sport Coat 40 R                          $24.99

52.  Ralph Lauren Sport Coat 40 R                               $24.99

53.  Oscar De La Renta Sport Coat 46 R                       $24.99

54.  Graham & Gunn Sport Coat 46 L                          $24.99



These items sold for $19.99-$24.98:

55.  Mens BKE Shirt XL                                          $22.99

56.  Ralph Lauren Blouse 1X                                $22.99

57.  Vintage Christian Dior Shirt L                    $22.99

58.  Wrangler Western Shirt L                            $22.99

59.  Brooks Brothers Shirt L / 16                        $22.99

60.  Vintage LeTigre Sport Coat 36 S                 $20.50

61.  Jones Studio Blazer 18W                                $20.49

62.  Vintage Woolrich Shirt Jacket S                 $19.99

63.  Tahari Blazer 10                                               $19.99

64.  Joseph Abboud Blazer 46 L                          $19.99

65.  Vintage Stanley Blacker Blazer 40 R         $19.99

66.  Womens Chaps Blazer 12                              $19.99

67.  Coldwater Creek Blazer 18W                        $19.99

68.  American Eagle Flannel Shirt L                  $19.99

69.  Tahari Blazer 10                                                $19.99

70.  Ralph Lauren Blouse 1X                                $19.99


What Hasn’t Sold?

This might be a more important question than what did sell!  It’s important to understand what items tend to sit around for longer periods of time.  I do expect ALL of these to sell at some point but it’s helps me become a better ‘buyer’ knowing what the trends are.


Here is what hasn’t sold to date:

1            Polo Ralph Lauren Golf Windbreaker

2-3.      Womens Ralph Lauren Blazer (x2)

4-5.     Ralph Lauren Mens Shirt (x2)

6           Brooks Brothers Mens Shirt

7.         Calvin Klein Sport Coat

8.         New Womens Graham & Spencer Blazer

9-10.  Hart Schaffner Marx Sport Coat (x2)

11-12   Jos A Bank Sport Coat (x2)

13.       Perry Ellis Leather Jacket

14.       Polo Ralph Lauren Sport Coat

15.       Ralph Lauren Chaps Sport Coat


Takeaways & Advice To You:

Unique Sells.


The reason I included all of the sizes with each item is to show you that bigger and harder to find items sell better.  Vintage items sell – why?  They’re unique!  It’s hard to find.

Common things – Ralph Lauren shirts, Brooks Brothers shirts, etc are a dime a dozen.  Do they still sell?  Sure, but it’s going to take longer and you’ll end up competing on price.

Over the years, I have built my eBay model around UNIQUE items and sizes.


Coming Soon:

I am working on two more experiments as we speak that are very similar to this current one.

One is a 99 cent thrift store experiment.  Buying items for 99 cents and tracking them.

The other is a shopping trip to Kansas City on a sale day to six different stores.

They will be coming out in the upcoming weeks as the data rolls in!


From You:


What can I add to these experiments that I’m missing?  What information would you like to see more of?  What else can I look at?  Help me build the perfect experiment!

Let me know in the comments below.


Thanks and have a great day!














8 thoughts on “Thrift Store Experiment – Updated Sales

  1. The thing that is absolutely fascinating to me is your sell through rate. I haven’t ever tracked or paid too much attention to my sell through rate, as my business model is more about getting the highest price for each item I have listed and compensating for the slow sell-through rate by having a large number of items available.

    With your blog and several other reseller’s info that I’ve recently been listening to & watching, I’m getting more and more perspective into this business and the different models that work. I’m convinced that this business, like most things in life, is really about balance — time & price point being the two main ones to pay attention to.


    • You are correct Matt – it is about balance. I work really, really hard to find things that are affordable ($3-8) that I can flip for an average of $30 in a month or so. However, that can get exhausting to try and find 125 or so of those type of pieces every single week. I have no problem spending $10 on an item to sell it for $50 but IF I spend $10 on an item I don’t want it to sit around for more than a month. I have to feel really confident that I can move it fairly quickly. I don’t want to have a bunch of money tied up in a few items that will sit for six months…

      There is no perfect model in my opinion. It’s about constantly learning and tweaking what works best for you at that time. For example, I’m starting to add more items (mens shirts) that I had stopped selling for awhile. I know they will take longer to sell and for less money but I have easy access to them and in time will pay off. Very similar to your approach which is a good one.


    • Hey Sean! Thanks for reading.

      We charge money for shipping and end up making money. We typically make an extra $1000 per month on shipping charges alone after our eBay discounts. However, I think it’s a great idea to see exactly what that looks like and I’ll think about how to incorporate that into my upcoming experiments that I’m working on. Great idea!

      As for eBay& Paypal fees, I figure it at 15%. That might be a slight overestimate but I treat it like rent. It’s part of our operating cost. In this particular experiment we probably have around $300 in fees but made $200 or so of that back on shipping income. That’s not exact but it’s somewhat close.


  2. I love the challenge of an experiment! This makes me want to rush out and check Men’s suits!
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
    An idea for a future one might be to see what are the most profitable items that can be sent first class?
    Love those type of items for ease of storing and shipping.


    • Thank you for reading!

      I will put that down in my list of things to do! I love to experiment and will think through a way to figure that out. I have some ideas already…

      Suits have made us a LOT of money…just saying.


  3. This is a very interesting article, and I’ll stay tuned to your future and past experiments. I’m wondering whether these items were sold as actions or as buy it now offerings (or a combination), and if they are the latter, I’m interested about your pricing techniques. Thanks for the very useful information!


    • Hey John! Thanks for reading!

      We started each and every piece off on auction and if it didn’t sell we turned it into a buy it now- without offers. We started the auction price at the same price we would have priced it as a buy it now . This allows us to get bidding wars – which happened and it eliminated starting a piece to ‘low’ on auction and losing money.

      Could we price higher? Absolutely! However, we try to be in the middle. Make a good profit margin and sell through the item fairly quickly. I don’t like having a bunch of ‘sitting’ inventory. Of course we will always have ‘sitting’ inventory but in general I try to price things aggressively without being the highest priced option out there.

      Our goal is to make a minimum of $20 per piece. Fortunately for us we have ben able to do that with some consistency. We do buy ‘lower’ ticket items that won’t profit $20 all of the time but we understand they can be beneficial to making more money.

      I hope this helps answer your question – let me know if not. Thanks again!


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