How One Woman Makes Millions Reselling Designer Clothes On eBay
What’s the best way to get the most money for that Chanel bag in “like new” condition sitting in your closet, or that cashmere Burberry coat hanging in the back? Women near Chicago know that relying on EDropOff is one of the simplest, most convenient ways to recycle luxury items they’ve grown tired of
EDropOff is a leading eBay seller, founded in 2004 by Corri McFadden, and is now the place to find expensive designer duds at a fraction of the retail price.
Shop EDrop Off
Corri McFadden of Chicago was in her last semester of college when a TV commercial for an eBay listing franchise came on at 2 am. A light bulb went on and she told her program director the next day that she was going to open an eBay drop-off store. The program director was not nearly as excited as McFadden by the idea and tried to discourage her from proceeding. But McFadden would not be deterred.
She spent the next three months preparing a business plan, choosing to fly to participate in eBay Live in New Orleans rather than attend her own college graduation. Her plan was solid enough that she walked into Chase Bank and convinced the banker to give her a line of credit to open her business.
McFadden made the most of that money, painting the walls of her 600-square-foot rented storefront, setting up storage and developing a website.
On Oct. 1, 2004, McFadden opened the first retail store in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. The first box of inventory that came in was exactly what she had feared – worthless Beanie Babies. But then she got some Rollerblades to list on eBay for a client, some Hummel figurines and fly fishing equipment. Her client base was growing slowly.
“Everyone had a story” about their stuff, which McFadden enjoyed hearing. She quickly realized that her best merchandise – meaning easiest to sell and highest profit margin – were designer clothing. So she focused her attention on ladies with designer duds to sell. She started asking them how she could better serve them, she says. And they told her.
Creating A Service Everyone Wanted
Many women admitted that “consignment was shameful,” she says, and that they didn’t want people to know they were selling off items in their wardrobe. So McFadden developed a free closet clean-out service, where she came to them, offering to organize their closets and give them a quote for any clothes they might want to sell. “It became everyone’s biggest secret,” she says. Business was booming.
“Then the economy fell out and people needed cash fast,” says McFadden. Those who couldn’t pawn clothes brought them to her to sell on eBay. She quickly had a huge inventory of high-end, designer clothing, shoes, and accessories.
So she rebranded herself, pioneering the luxury consignment industry.
This rebranding included how her clients’ garments were sold. She put her logo on bags and boxes and carefully packaged each item. “I tried to make it an exciting transaction,” she says.
Today McFadden sells about 1,500 items a week. About 80% of her listings are auctions, and about 20% are available for purchased immediately using eBay’s “Buy It Now” option.
She has a high percentage of repeat buyers, she says, and has amassed a feedback score of more than 150,000 – that means at least 150,000 people have provided positive feedback on their purchases from her. She has a track record of satisfying her customers, which means she can charge a slightly higher fee. “I can guarantee authenticity,” McFadden says. She charges a commission of 40% of the final selling price, which includes all associated fees.
For aspiring eBay moguls, McFadden has advice for you. “Clothing, shoes, and accessories is an easy category to start with [on eBay] because we all have them,” says McFadden. Start by selling what you’re done with to fund the purchase of new items, she suggests.
Study auctions that were successful, for items you have to sell, to see what the seller did well. In particular, pay attention to:
- The keywords used in the listing header
- How measurements are presented
- The quality of the images – how many, against what backdrop
Since the U.S. Postal Service does free pick-up from home, you don’t have to carve out time to deliver packages to be mailed. With a scale and printer, you can weigh and apply the correct postage on your shipments and leave them for your carrier to pick up.
“Truly anyone can do it,” says McFadden.
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