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Trading online

Internet auction sites have proved a godsend for those who like to buy and sell, and many who started out selling a few old clothes have found themselves with a lucrative part-time business.

One Auckland based trader who did exactly that eventually gave up her real job to specialise in plus-sized women’s clothing. Many of her buyers are women who live in the country, or in towns which don’t have shops for larger women.

As well as selling pre-loved clothing, she buys new items on sale and re-sells them on TradeMe. A $5 item found in the specials bin at Farmers can fetch $10 or $15, and if you buy 10 at once, it’s a significant profit.

And if you’re a fossicker who loves junk shops and the like, you can turn your hobby into a moneymaker buying items with a value much higher than the price tag.

Tips from seasoned traders are:

  • Stick to what you know. If you know a lot about old china, or designer clothing, or vintage music, specialise in those items.
  • Keep an eye on prices – you need to be aware of what other sellers are doing and what their pricing is like.
  • Don’t fall foul of Inland Revenue – you’re safe if you’re only selling off surplus items from around the house, but the situation changes f you are buying large numbers of items to re-sell. If you’re on a benefit or government super, check what you’re allowed to earn over and above that amount.
  • Learn to market your items well. Remember the seller who whipped up a frenzy of interest in his 1980s vintage Fisher and Paykel washing machine by titling it ‘Scary Washing Machine’ and claiming it had sucked up his wife. It got thousands of views and met the reserve.
  • Don’t let buying and selling take over your life. Spend as long as you want to on the fun part, like searching the second-hand shops, but try to keep dealing with emails, packing and posting items to one or two days a week. Many traders advertise that they only post out on a specific day. Don’t forget, you’re supposed to be retired!


Courtesy of My Generation.