I began selling Hawaiian shirts on Ebay 30 years ago when my son, who was playing in a reggae band, ask me to find him some inexpensive Hawaiian type shirts, as that is what the band members had decided to wear for their “gigs”.
I have learned a lot about selling on Ebay through the years, and I am going to share it with you.
BUYING THE SHIRT
In order to make a profit at all in selling used shirts, you must know where to go. If you live in a city with Thrift Stores, as I do, that is the place. But I only buy my inventory when there is a 50% sale. These are held after every holiday, and before Christmas, or currently, all clothing is 50% every Saturday at Goodwill, and 50% every Monday at Savers.
If you do not live in a city with Thrift Stores, you could go to Church Bazaars, swap meets, yard sales, etc. to search for your inventory.
I am always disappointed in the condition of the Goodwill stores. They crowd their items so tightly that it is close to impossible to get any item out for inspection. If you can deal with the closely packed items, you might find some good buys on shirts.
Goodwill places all short-sleeved shirts in the same category. In other words, it puts the knit shirts and the short sleeved cotton, etc. shirts together. This is a difficult practice.
I did shop at a Goodwill store in Sedona, Arizona, and their knit shirts were separated onto their own rack. This Goodwill Store in Sedona had some great buys, not only in shirts, but in vintage denim, etc. I will go back to Sedona just to shop at their Goodwill store.
Savers is the most expensive Thrift Store in this area, but their quality and choices are very good. I only shop for shirts at Savers on senior day or on 50% off days. Savers is a very good place to buy XL, XXL, and even larger shirts. I find the large sizes, especially for shirts made in Hawaii, sell quite well and are often bid up from the listed price.
The two Value Village stores in this area are in Glendale. Their prices are very reasonable, and if you go there often, you can sometimes find some good buys. If you have one of their cards, you can get 30% off on Thursdays. They also have some special pricing on Sundays, and a senior day during the week. Value Village is a good place to buy Western shirts.
I only shop at Salvation Army occasionally, as I have never found a good selection of Hawaiian shirts there; but as I recall, their prices are good and there is quite good organization. Salvation Army seems to be a better place to find a good selection of women’s clothing.
IN CONCLUSION of this section, please remember these are only my feelings about the various Thrift Stores. My conclusion is that I will concentrate mainly on Saver’s stores (on 50% off days), and I will try to go occasionally to Value Village, and to Goodwill. I will continue to remember to take donations when I visit these stores, as they are all supporting charities.
PREPARING THE SHIRT FOR LISTING
In preparing each shirt for listing, you should inspect it carefully for rips, tears, and missing buttons. I have often found ripped buttonholes and all defects must be repaired before listing. I have a large collection of buttons, and have them sorted according to color, and I am familiar with the types of buttons on the popular shirts made in Hawaii, so I have quite a few of these in my collection, (such as Tommy Bahama, etc.).
IRONING THE SHIRT
I wash and iron all the shirts I sell, even the silk ones. It would take too much profit away to have them dry cleaned. I use a Black and Decker steam iron, which came from Goodwill. I like an iron that gets quite hot and that provides a good supply of steam, and that has a “spurt” feature. When ironing a Tommy Bahama shirt, and some other 100% silk shirts, I sometimes use a clean dishtowel to cover some sensitive areas. I also use this method to cover any embroidery on a shirt while ironing or pressing it. I must add, that if a shirt has a tag that shows it was recently dry cleaned, I do not wash it, I only carefully press it where needed, and when I list it, I enter the face that it has “recently been dry cleaned”, and I leave the tag on the shirt, and I make sure it shows in the photo.
When ironing or pressing, I first do the collar, then the inside of the button and buttonhole area, then the sleeves, then the shoulder area; then, last, the sides and back of the shirt.
LISTING THE SHIRT WITH EBAY
Listing the shirt with Ebay is the easiest step of this process. Ebay makes it very easy, and does most of the work for you, much the same as Wealthy Affiliate does.