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Vintage T-Shirt Collective

All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:01 pm

So, this is in relation to a "What's It Worth?" post in which it was suggested a Rolling Stones shirt could be worth a few hundred dollars... this was my response:

"I sold that exact same Stones shirt recently, via E Bay auction, with a small bleach dab, for $9.50. If there was a way to get a few hundred out of it, then I am obviously doing something very wrong."

I don't have a storefront and I do not feel comfortable throwing on a ridiculously high price... it doesn't seem like anyone would ever buy a shirt like that for that much money. For example, I recently sold a 1995 smashing Pumpkins shirt for $7.00, and other people had the exact same shirt listed for $99.00.

Perhaps this is where I should ask, "How do I make more money off of my shirts?" as I, obviously, can find shirts that others are charging super high prices for. My high dollar bids for vintage shirts seem to be in the $25.00-$30.00 range (W.A.S.P., Bon Jovi, GN'R, etc.)

I just feel the higher the opening price, the longer it will sit there. Granted with only one picture, you can re-list as much as you want with no fees. Should I start at a higher price and just wait?

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:10 pm

You came to the right place! First - can you include the URLS to your eBay items and I will have a look at them?

Also - why not sell via Defunkd? Don't put a ridiculously high price on stuff - just undercut its rough eBay value - and promote the items on your blog. Sure you may sit on them for longer - but both of those shirts you sold should have brought in far more money.

You wont pay any system fees - and the listing procedure is quicker and customized for vintage t-shirts.

Just sayin' ;)

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:45 pm

Oh, I don't have any good vintage shirts up right now... just an Alan Jackson shirt that I only picked up because I had sold one before.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0693064852

I'm willing to sell on Defunkd, but I assumed it was for hardcore sellers. I didn't want to get in over my head. I do have four vintage shirts (Cincinnati Reds, Purdue, Georgia Tech, and a Rockport, Mass tourist shirt) in my living room that I am trying to decide what to do with.

Thanks to this site I've become pretty adept at picking.

I'll send a message via the sell option.

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:28 pm

It's ok - send me past listings so I can take a look at them.

Alan Jackson won't do well. :( Country is typically not a big seller - unless it's the outlaws...and originators. Cash, etc.

Hardcore? Not at all - in fact I'd really like every type of vintage t-shirt up - by any seller who is honest. It doesn't have to be expensive collectible shirts - we need more inexpensive basic thrifty vintage tees - like Ted's Auto Collision with Screen Stars etc. I know sellers typically avoid picking these tees - but with a free marketplace - there's now potential with them because fees don't gobble up all your profits!

We definitely need a full $5-10 inventory selection - so if you've got access to these types of tees for cheap, by all means, post them!

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:06 pm

Hey, Johnny! I'm pretty new to resale myself (about a year in), but I feel like I've found my groove recently. When I first started (I don't know how long you've been at it) I kind of fooled myself seeing the prices on some of the hardcore sellers' ebay listings. And I also wondered why my auctions would be so light. The fact is unless you have a really killer tee that people will get into a bidding war for, ebay auctions are not going to land you anything. You will have to open a storefront. I rarely use ebay, only for tees that I think (oftentimes erroneously) will get a lot of attention, or sometimes I throw one or two up just for fun to keep a minor presence there. I personally hate using ebay and use it most as a guide for what's hot and sometimes as a guide for pricing the more collectable ones I do get.

Ditto to everything jimmyj has said. Start a storefront here on defunkd. This would be a good spot for those ones like the Georgia Tech tee you had. I would probably ask for 14 bucks for that on here. If you really want to keep listing auction style on ebay you're going to have to include more pictures- close-ups of the tags (like you did on that Georgia Tech one). But the best advise I can give is to not waste your time and money with those. Selling tees on online is my fulltime+++ job. Most of my sales are from smaller money tees in the 10-20 buck range. I only list a few a month on ebay.

And promote yourself!!! Have a blog, or facebook page, or SOMETHING where people can follow you and see your discoveries and listings!!

(I sold an Alan Jackson tee, but for 12 bucks after it sat there a couple months. So don't pay too much for those!!)

Good luck!!

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:09 pm

Oh, when I say:

"But the best advise I can give is to not waste your time and money with those."

I don't mean don't waste your time with those tees. I mean don't waste your time and money listing them auction style on ebay.

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Thanks oscar and jimmyj. I've changed my name here to reflect the storefront and my blog that I will hopefully get back to doing more often.

Selling tees as a full-time job would be pretty awesome, in my opinion. As I've mentioned before, picking tees was just a hobby (vintage or otherwise), but then I noticed people were making some decent money on the older shirts. About six or seven months ago, I started studying the tags (I upload every brand update on the blog here onto my phone, so I can take it with me if I'm unsure of a tag) and I am pretty good at identifying any older shirts... being a lifelong musician, I've always known what bands are still hip and still command attention, so that helps, too. So, yeah, I am fairly new to "properly" selling vintage. But, the whole point of my post was that I kinda felt like I was just giving shirts away when I could be making more by sitting on them longer.

So, oscar, your post brings up some more questions... and you certainly do not have to answer as I don't expect anyone to reveal any of their secrets.

How long do you usually sit on a $10-$20 shirt before it sells?

Do you have a weekly/monthly budget that you consider? Or do you just buy what you see? I'm fully aware of the "spend more to more more" philosophy, but I also don't want to be spending a bunch of money just to have a closet full of shirts, as cool as they may be.

Finally, and again, not a question you have to answer, but how do you score your shirts? I only pick at thrift stores (I have a five store rotation; it's a lot of work, but it's fun). I've heard about "rag houses," but I no idea what those are all about and wouldn't even know where to find one. Craigslist totally sucks... when people are routinely asking $1,000 for a $20 baseball card, you know that isn't a good avenue to go down. Living in the Midwest, garage sales are out for the next seven months.

I really appreciate all of the advice.

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:49 pm

I'm going to use my etsy shop for examples in answering your questions, just because it has a built-in customer base that the defunkd store doesn't have- YET.

How long do you usually sit on a $10-$20 shirt before it sells?
It all depends on the shirt. If it's something that the hipsters will love, like robots, nerd stuff, computers, dinosaurs, ironic outdoor stuff like the famous "three wolf moon" shirt, it can move as quickly as a day or two. I just listed this one: http://www.etsy.com/listing/86037883/vintage-1990s-radical-dragon-t-shirt and since it's cheap enough for someone to buy spur-of-the-moment just to have a goofy ironic shirt I would be surprised if it sits longer than a week. On etsy an item stays listed for four months then you have to re-list it (if you so desire). To give you an idea, in October I listed 181 items, and renewed 9 items that hadn't sold.

Budget? No. I'm not liquid enough to say "I'm going to save x amount and put y amount back into it. Other than rent and gas and food and stuff, it all goes back into the shop. So I pretty much spend everything I can.

I score mostly at thrift stores. Where do you live? I live in the Twin Cities in MN where there are a lot of stores for me to shop. There aren't many days where I don't stop in at least one store. Recently I bought a bunch of band shirts on ebay so I could have some higher end tees and hopefully drive traffic with them. (Because you almost never find 100 dollar tees in thrift stores.) You can also score lots of tees on ebay, but if you're not careful you can end up with a bunch of lame stained holey junk. If I have to take a trip, like to visit my parents in WI I plan on taking the long way and stopping at all the smaller town thrift stores. If I think I can sell an item higher than they have it priced (or I want to take a gamble) I'll buy an item in a vintage shop too. The vintage shops around me, with the exception of one, don't specialize in t-shirts so they might not know if they have a super hot one than can be resold for a bunch.

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:02 pm

Oh, I was just checking out your blog and I noticed an entry from a few months ago about not wanting to ship outside the US. If I could give you one piece of advise it's get rid of that. My best customers are from Malaysia and Thailand. If it wasn't for them I would have to get a job.

PS. I love your blog. Check it out: http://www.etsy.com/listing/84602284/this-vintage-1980s-t-shirt-is-about?ga_search_query=fart&ga_search_type=user_shop_ttt_id_6284767 Funny, huh? This is the second one I've had.

Re: All right, I need some advice on how to maximize my profits.

Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:12 pm

Agreed - means I wouldn't even be able to order a t-shirt from you! :cry: I know there's a little extra legwork involved in customs labels - but it increases your potential customer base by ...the rest of the world. Japan - Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, UK and Australia are all active in the vintage t-shirt world.

I just fuse PO visits in to my routine when I'm already out and about - so it's not really an extra trip.

You want as many people fighting for your shirt as possible.
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