How I Became a Full Time Reseller

Quick recap for those just joining us, or for those who may enjoy hearing about my bumpy life journey: For several years I made my living working for a public school district here in Minnesota. Started out as a playground lady when my kids were all attending elementary school, and along the way added many different job titles. I subbed for Special Education paras, supervised the loud circle of hell known as the lunchroom, taught preschool, was a glorified door opener and eventually ended up as one of the secretaries in the very school where I began my own elementary school journey way back in the seventies. Talk about life coming full circle!

I was, and am, grateful for all that the various positions gave me. A regular paycheck. Hours that mostly coincided with those of my children. Holidays and vacations that also matched my kids. Health insurance!

It was good until it wasn’t. And when it got bad, it went full scale rotten in a hurry.

I found myself having to decide between my mental health and a paycheck. The fact that the paychecks were small, and I was working for an administration that said one thing but practiced quite another made the decision relatively simple. 

Know your worth. That phrase is kind of tired but still remains very true. I tell it to women who are struggling with lousy partners, and when I realized that being stuck in a crappy job is a lot like being stuck in a crappy relationship I practiced what I preach.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that I had a backup plan. Without it, I’d still be dealing with the whole OVERWORKED UNDERPAID drama. Or, maybe I would have eventually stood up for myself. Who knows? 

But now, I am doing something that I love. I make a living selling clothing, shoes, accessories and pretty much everything else, online. 

This was not a new venture for me. I began my reseller journey way back in the year of our lord 2000. The woman who taught one of my kids in preschool had pulled me aside one day and mentioned his vast and adorable wardrobe. “You could make a lot of money selling his outgrown clothing on eBay” she said. 

Now, keep in mind- at that time I was (supposedly) happily married and doing the whole stay at home mom thing. But my husband was working a lowly insurance job and was in graduate school at night. He also had a short lived temp gig delivering pizza for a little extra cash. When this teacher told me about a potential money making venture, I ran with it.

For many years I had worked part time for The Gap. And as anyone who was employed there in the nineties can tell you, it was the shit. We scored clearance and marked down items for pennies, all day long. At Gap Kids, too. So when I say that my kids had a lot of clothes, lady, I mean they had A LOT OF CLOTHES. I realized that I was sitting on a goldmine and also, a way to help out with the family finances.

We didn’t even have a computer at the time (oh hi, I’m old!) but we finally got one and within days I had created an eBay account and almost immediately began pulling in a nice profit every month. Big Daddy was thrilled, at first. He quit delivering pizza and focused on getting his career path paved and smooth. 

And I sold. I have always been an avid thrifter and garage saler, like from childhood. Secondhand shopping was in my blood and when I realized the veritable mountains of clothing to be found and sold, I began thrifting with gusto. 

I’d drop the bigger kids off at kindergarten or preschool, give the little ones a snack and a sippy cup and off we’d go. I began participating in the eBay chat boards, and not only did I find a bunch of new friends (including my current bestie), I learned. 

I discovered fashion and textiles and vintage and measurements. I picked up photography tips, selling techniques and an encyclopedic knowledge of style names, fabric contents, patterns and designers. On weekends, when that wonderful husband of mine wasn’t “golfing”, I’d get the newspaper and the map book and hit rummage sales. 

And I was very successful. I think at the height of it, before my marriage imploded, I was bringing in at least $2500.00 a month in profit. Which doesn’t sound super exciting now, but back then, it was a huge help. Especially considering the four little kids I was raising at the same time. 

All of this came in real handy when the husband walked out. And came in even handier when he decided to quit paying child support.

I like to say that used clothing kept my kids fed, and it’s the truth. 

When the shit hit the fan, I hit Goodwill. 

I ramped up my business and kept our little family afloat for a long time. Of course I lost the house, but that was because of the three loans that had been taken out on it. A nearly $4,000.00 house payment would have been a hard reach for most people. For a stay at home mom slinging gently worn Chico’s, it was impossible.

That was when I started working part time at the school. I still did eBay, right up until my account was suspended and then banned, when I had to file for bankruptcy. I will never forget receiving that email- I was on a 15 minute break at the preschool and cried like a baby for approximately 10 minutes. Probably ate my lunch simultaneously, because even when life throws a gut punch a bitch has to eat.

So reselling was paused. And it stayed paused until a happy hour with my two best friends, in 2017. Our girl Joyce said something about Poshmark. I had heard of it in passing, but hadn’t given it much thought. How could you do reselling on an app? Oh lord. Sometimes it’s fun to look back on those old timer moments, isn’t it?

Anyway. I did figure it out, and before long my sales on Poshmark outpaced my secretary paychecks. The extra money was a godsend, and the adventures my friends and I went on in search of thrifted bargains are some of the best memories I’ll ever have. 

It ended up being not only a safety net, but a new career. When the school district placed that last straw on this old camel’s back, I knew it was time to take the leap. 

And now I am a full time reseller. I pay my mortgage with this income. A car payment. All the other bills that grownups have, too. 

I would not recommend this job to anyone, though. At least not to 99% of the population. It takes a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career (do you know how long I’ve been trying to work a Liam Neeson quote into this blog?)

It’s hard work. It’s stressful. Bookkeeping, and doing my own taxes, is a panicky organizational nightmare. My employment hinges on a few apps staying in business. It can get lonely at times. There are no sick days, vacation days, or paid holidays. I know that I could wake up tomorrow and find out Poshmark has gone poof into that good night. Or that Depop has become like most of its users and ghosted me. 

But for now, it’s working. I can work a 15 hour day or a zero hour day. My coworkers are cats. I get to shop for a living. My work wardrobe consists of leggings, sports bras and sweatshirts. If I’m having an awful mental health day, I don’t have to suck it up and pretend everything is fine. I can work while watching Ted Lasso or listening to BeyoncΓ©. I have incredible flexibility. I work my ass off on my own terms and without having to put up with hypocrisy and toxic personalities.

I remind myself that even while having a reliable income and the support of a union I somehow managed to get screwed. I remind myself of how it felt when people who supposedly had my back stayed silent when there was a knife sticking out it. I remind myself that I have done some really scary shit and survived.

Life is never predictable and now, more than ever, I know that. Thankfully I also know that you may find my picture in the dictionary under the word resourceful. The bumps and roadblocks along the way have taught me to not only roll with the punches, but to turn that punch into a paycheck. 

This is so not the life I pictured for myself all those years ago, when the future was vast and wide and I had a faster metabolism and plenty of collagen. But it’s my life, and for now, I’m loving it.

Gotta go- while writing this I sold a sweet pair of overalls from Anthropologie for $85. That’s what I used to make in one day as the person who enrolled children in school. Go hug a school secretary, my friends.


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  2. That's such an inspiring story. And by inspiring, I don't mean inspires me to resell for a living. As you said, very specific skills. When I sell stuff on eBay, I always manage to screw myself over by accidentally putting "free postage" in the title when I intend to charge postage, or underestimating postage costs, or even (once) sending two people's orders to each other 🀣
    But I am in awe of how you made this work for you, and you deserve all the success in the world after what you've been through. I hope that school knows what it lost after you left, even if it clearly failed to appreciate what it had when you were there.

  3. Long-time reader and love where your journey has taken you. ❤️

  4. Wow.We really are old.Love this.

  5. Long time reader (I found your blog around 2010). You are AMAZING and humble and so very brave. I’ve learned so much from you. I am happy that you have found your special niche in the retail world (I also worked at The Gap part time in 1991 - mostly to get the discount to outfit my baby girl in “Gap Kids”, their new line πŸ˜‚) I wish you all the success in the world. Hugs!

  6. Brilliant! I could not do what you are doing. I'm happy for you!

  7. Another great read Jenny! I had no idea you had been doing the selling/thrifting that long! So happy for you that you are back at it and it's working great! Keep us posted!

  8. I’ll never forget our first real-life meet cute at the post office when one or the both of us was waiting in line with eBay packages and a kid or two piled in a stroller: “Are you Mysweetbabiesclothes?” LOLOL. I’m so proud of you killing this hustle, homie!


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