If you ever had a teacher in school who really motivated you, who was so captivating you almost didn't realize you were learning, then you'll appreciate Bryan Goodman and Jason T. Smith.
Together, they're the team behind the thriving "Thrifting with the Boys" Facebook Group, as well as an entertaining website. The video of their eBay on Location seminar, held in Philadelphia last year, has been viewed more than 12,000 times. It's chockfull of good advice and worth your time to check out.
Based in Las Vegas, Goodman and Smith have been selling on eBay for years, and continue to sell separately. Yes, they may shop together but they buy independently for their own businesses. As educators, though, they don't hesitate to share their secrets!
We caught up with "The Boys" recently to learn more about thrifting. As it turns out, Goodman and Smith also had a lot to share about other topics relevant to eBay sellers, such as listing and shipping. True to form, they had strong opinions about those topics, too.
Only eight people showed up to an event meant for 150 people. But 10 minutes later there were 100 people in the room!
In Part 1 of our interview, they discuss how they got together, how they define thrifting, and why it's such a potentially great way to source products for resale. In Parts 2 and 3 of this series, we'll learn how to scope out a thrift store, get more into shipping and listing, and discover how attending eBay Meetup Group meetings can feel more like going to a party than sitting trapped in a classroom!
The story behind 'Thrifting with the Boys'
Schepp: Tell us how you came together as a team, as well as the thinking behind your name.
Goodman: We've been friends for five or six years. In 2009, we met at the eBay Radio Party. We stayed in touch whenever I was in Vegas. In 2010 or 2011, eBay had an On Location event in Las Vegas and I decided to stay the whole week. People at that event were most curious about sourcing. I was saying that it was easy to find things. We decided with a few other friends to go on a thrifting trip. We had so much fun that we realized we could make this bigger than what it was. We figured we could help some people. Someone said "I'm out thrifting with the boys!" in the car, and I quickly grabbed the domain name.
Later that year I came back to Vegas for the eBay Radio Party and Jason was helping with that event. He said we should speak there about thrifting. At first, eBay didn't want us to speak! They said, "You guys have no track record for speaking." But they agreed to let us speak at 8 a.m., on the second day of the meeting. Of course, everyone who's in Vegas stays out partying and they aren't too clearheaded at 8 a.m. We did prepare a very nice presentation to fill the hour and then…
We cater to people of all levels. We get heartwarming stories all the time of success stories within the group
Smith: Only eight people showed up to an event meant for 150 people. But 10 minutes later there were 100 people in the room! And eBay was pretty impressed.
Goodman: We've done a lot of speaking at seminars and meet-up groups since then. We were booked that day to speak at the next year's eBay Radio event. At that first event someone came up to me and said, "You guys should start a Facebook group about this." We started the group, figuring there would be about 20 people or so who wanted to chat. Now we're up to more than 4,000 people in the group.
We don't just let people in. We vet them to make sure we don't get a lot of spammers or inappropriate people there. If we find people doing that, we kick them out. We cater to people of all levels. We get heartwarming stories all the time of success stories within the group. When I do an interview, I just have to think of what I saw on the group that morning. For example, someone found a leg brace and wanted to know how much to charge for it. We said Halloween was coming. The person bought it for $10 and sold it for more than $650.
Why thrifting pays off
Schepp: How do you define thrifting?
Goodman: Thrifting is the modern-day treasure hunt. It can be defined a number of ways. For some people it's just a way to get things for less money for their family's needs. Our world involves going out and eying goods that we see value in and can turn around and sell for more money. They're usually items purchased at thrift stores or garage sales.
Schepp: Why are thrift stores such good places for sourcing products?
Closer to a major city, you'll have better luck than in a very small town, but as long as you can get to someplace, you'll have things for picking
Goodman: Here [in Las Vegas], they're great because a lot of people move in and out of the city. They tend to dump their things in thrift stores because they don't want to move them. A nice thrift store is air conditioned, it has a bathroom, there's music, and it's a comfortable and easy place for me to shop. In Las Vegas you're likely to find new stuff. Other cities may be different. In Cleveland, for example, you'll find a lot of vintage stuff from the 1960s.
If you live closer to a major city, you'll have better luck than in a very small town, but as long as you can get to someplace, you'll have a reasonable amount of things for picking. Take a trip. Combine a vacation with a good destination for thrifting. Jason just had a couple of friends come in for the weekend and they went thrifting. You can also buy stuff on eBay in lots, because those sellers may not have the patience to list the items individually.
Smith: We recently went through Wichita and Hayes, Kan., where we found a vintage toy store. They had an awesome collection, and because they were so far out in the middle of nowhere, the prices were good.
Schepp: Thanks Bryan and Jason!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview, when the guys will share how they scope out a thrift store.