Friday, January 7, 2011

The Cost of Nothing

I started devising an experiment last year, called "Could I make money off buying/selling lolita clothing". The premise was simple and fairly logical: buy low, sell high. On many auction sites like yahoo japan and mbok, brand is sold fairly cheap. On the comm sale, the same items can go for almost 2x the listed auction price. I decided even if I wouldn't go through with it, I could still design an experiment.

The Concept:
- Start small. Start mid priced items that both fit my style, were in good condition, were exceptionally cheap, and were brand. If I followed these conditions, in the event I couldn't find a seller, I didn't mind keeping the pieces myself.

The Process:
-Find auctions on mbok, which is a little cheaper than yahoo japan. Also, a shopping service.

-Invest x amount of money and after getting the items, see if they can be sold for more than I bought them.

The Projected Results
- While a nice concept in theory, due to the poor exchange rate, the need for a shopping service (which charges shipping+comission), one would be lucky to make a profit by this process.
- Living in Japan would make this more of a viable concept. In that case however, it would just be a small scale Closet Child because those stores must use the same idea to make a profit.

Have you ever sold anything online and made a profit?


  1. Best of luck with your business plan. I have an online business i'm working on as well but until I get my website running correctly, its just a hobby that I throw a few bucks a month on. I've sold some of my crafts in craft shows. Haven't made enough money to speak of profit but I've been able to buy more yarn. ^_^()

  2. Right now, with the USD so weak, it's really hard to make a profit unless you are super duper quick at buying up coveted stuff from Alice Fururun.

    I guess market research and observation will help a lot since you will figure out which prints sell and which prints don't.

  3. Yes, I think research would be key.
    I have sold a few collectable figures in the past, sometimes I made more than what I paid for them, but other times I made far less. It's quite variable.

  4. A modest proposal - sell "soiled" lolita clothing @ 10x cost.

  5. I haven't sold them, but a few of my anime figures now sell for over four times the amount I paid for them (my Togainu no Chi figures in particular--I paid $25-30 for each and now they sell for at least $100-$150 each).

    Once I get sick of anime and sell everything, I'll have a lot of pocket change.

  6. fffff darn the USD !

    I sold about two Bodyline totes for a bit more than I paid, but that was nothing haha

  7. Good concept, sadly difficult to pull off. I know that there have some people who have done it by buying prints on reservation in multiple colorways, then reselling them super high. But that's quite an investment, should it flop.

  8. Best of luck! I imagine it'll be no easy task.
    I thought shipping was slight cheaper with a shopping service. Then again, what do I know?

  9. I think there are a few people on the sales_comm who have tried doing this but it seems without much success because I've seen the same items trying to sell over and over. It might be a bit hard to pull off but doing what Ada suggested might garner some good results. That's if your fingers are quick enough.

    If I were to try and make a profit out of these, I would be trying to sell Angelic Pretty stuff. Some of their stuff gets sold for a fair bit more on the sales_comm than on Japanese sites.

    I can't say I'd really sold anything and made an extra buck out of it >.<

  10. this is insightful, at the least. i appreciate your first hand experience and knowledge gained. i met a travesty when i first ventured into experimenting with selling premium content in articles via my blog. monetization can be an adventure, but it does involve a lot of learning if it is to be executed successfully--especially for bloggers such as myself who envision making a living from their lives. it's all a bit overwhelming! frontier territory!

  11. I get away with selling brand pieces with a smidge of profit. Selling Bodyline pieces, I lose a fair amount :\

    Especially when you think about the shipping charges and the paypal fee that's tacked on.

  12. Personal Shopping is just like an occupation where you get lots of suggestion. Now days online shopping is become more interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

    Japan Shopping Services

  13. I've often thought about it, as I'm constantly on Ebay. But I'm pretty sure I'd buy something for this price, and no one else would pay even half of what I wanted.
    Its a tricky business to get into, I think.

  14. great blog, thanks for the read :)

  15. Never sold anything regularly on the internet, though I'm sure I probably have sold individual things and made some money.

  16. Recently I'm just trying to clear off my lolita wardrobe; but the USD is so weak even compared to my country's currency. I can't charge more because in terms of USD it would be expensive, although when converted to MYR it's much lower than I can expect if I had sold off my lolita a few months earlier when the USD was still dominating. So I'll say no, it's pretty difficult business trying to earn money selling lolita unless it's some highly coveted item/ print/ brand.