Here’s the next installment in our side hustle case study series, where real people share how they make extra money in their spare time!
This week Rachel from Minimalism for Mums is sharing how she makes money selling baby clothes on eBay. Selling second hand baby clothes online is a great side hustle idea for parents.
I’m so impressed by how much Rachel made in her first year of her eBay shop as a new mum – read on to find out how she did it!
How to make money selling baby clothes on eBay
Please tell us a little about yourself and your side hustle.
My name is Rachel and I discuss the benefits of simple living with a family on my blog Minimalism for Mums.
I love to talk about managing a budget, in particular side hustles to help increase income. I’d always wanted to run my own business and when I became a Mum, I found that an opportunity was right under my nose.
How long have you been doing your side hustle? How did you get into it?
I started my eBay store in early 2016, around six months after my daughter was born. After bagging up all of her beautiful, but now outgrown outfits, I found myself unsure about what to do with them all!
I donated some clothes, but decided to sell on the nicer items and put the earned money toward the next set of outfits needed.
After adding a few listings, I was shocked at how much people were bidding for these clothes online. Some dresses from popular high street chains sold for almost two thirds of what had been paid for from new!
I scoured charity shops and pre-loved baby events to find good quality clothing to resell. I found there were lots of Mums just like me who needed more clothing for their children, so I decided to go for it as a business on eBay.
What does the work actually involve? What does a typical day/work session look like for you?
There are a few different hats you have to wear on a daily basis to cover different areas of the business.
- Inventory sourcer – You need to be constantly looking for good quality clothing, as finding consistent stock can be tricky. It’s not like going to a manufacturer and ordering a specific number of new items (although you could do that too!). Make sure you check out car boot sales, charity shops and online selling sites regularly to spot the great finds.
- Photographer – The images on your eBay listings are what catches your potential buyers attention, and can ultimately make or break a sale. Ensure you give each piece a great photo shoot- maybe add a prop or nice background for a professional finish.
- Customer Service Representative – Good customer service can result in repeat purchases. Be honest and build rapport with buyers. A parent of a young baby could potentially buy all their clothing from you.
- Marketing Strategist – Creating a Facebook page or Pinterest account to advertise listings and connect with your followers on eBay can help attract new customers whilst helping to build relationships with existing customers.
- Courier – Packing orders and taking them to the post office is probably the most boring part of the process, but necessary. Some couriers offer services to collect your parcels for you, but this is a more expensive way to ship orders.
- Accountant – Make sure you are tracking your purchases, expenses and sales. Write it down, or use a simple spreadsheet to do this.
There is no typical day, but there are always lots of little tasks to do. A good day might be going into town to raid the charity shops, then listing the items on your eBay account that evening with your feet up and a glass of wine. A less exciting day might be washing and ironing some bulk stock, then doing your accounts to keep up to date with expenses.
How much can you make doing this side hustle?
Earnings can vary depending on item. You might buy a beautiful dress for £0.20 from a carboot sale and sell for £15, but selling that dress at the same price after buying it for £4.00 from a more expensive charity shop will bring you less profit.
In my first year, running this alongside part-time work and childcare, I had sales of almost £8,000, which provided another stream of income for my family.
Are there any start-up costs and/or ongoing expenses with this side hustle?
You don’t need much money to start-up. If you already have children, you could sell some their outgrown clothes as a test run and use the money earned to invest and buy some stock to resell.
Stock varies in price. Car boot sales always seem the best place to get good bargains, but splitting a bundle purchased online can also be quite profitable.
Expenses such as postage, packaging, eBay fees (10% of total sales) and PayPal fees (3.4% of transaction +0.20p) have to be kept in mind. I also purchased a little label printer which saved a heap of time when posting.
As a registered business, it was important for me to keep aside some money earned for tax payments, as well as any NI contributions you may have to make.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to get started?
The best advice I could give for anyone starting their own eBay store is to take good quality photographs.
Look after your items and present them well to your audience. A photograph of a clean, ironed and well presented dress is likely to sell for more money than one crumpled up and thrown on an unmade bed. Make sure you have lots of natural lighting, too!
Remember to persevere. Some months may be slow, but if you’re consistent in adding listings your sales should grow quickly.
Any recommended websites or resources?
The eBay Seller Resources page (https://pages.ebay.com/bo/en-us/sell/resources.html) gives you all the advice you might need to start your own store. I’m sure most people have had experience using eBay, but if you want to take it seriously as a business, then check it out.
Where can we find you?
My blog: www.minimalismformums.com
Big thanks to Rachel for sharing the lowdown on your eBay side hustle!
This sounds like a great idea for parents to earn some extra cash. I love how easy it is to get started by selling your own items, but how you can also scale up your business by sourcing bargain clothes to sell.
And of course, although Rachel focused on selling baby clothes, you can adapt her strategy for selling other kinds of goods on eBay too.
You can find the other posts in the side hustle case studies series here.
If you have a unique side hustle you’d like to share in this series, please contact me and let me know what it is!