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Amberly Bliss, the owner of Retail Deals, is no stranger to reselling. From her early years on eBay to using retail arbitrage as a means to scour the aisles of TJ Maxx and Marshalls for discounted items, her entrepreneurial spirit has always manifested itself.
What started as selling her children’s clothes turned into selling other things around the house. Today, Amberly specializes in reselling women’s clothes with plans to make the switch from part-time to full-time selling after a brief COVID-hiatus. Since the end of 2019, Amberly’s reselling business has helped fund their pool, winter ski trips, and soon, summer camping trips in their new travel trailer.
We chatted with Amberly to hear more about her resale business, Retail Deals. In this edition of our Reseller Community Spotlight: Meet Amberly Bliss!
I’ve always dabbled in it ever since I was 18 and I had an eBay account. I used to have sales jobs where I could get like iPods and headphones, I would do that and turn around and sell them on eBay. It’s always been there in the back of my mind. I think I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit.
Despite going to school and majoring in psychology – I don’t know what I’m doing with that now – I’ve always loved sales jobs geared towards commission. I think I have that bug so to speak.
I started because my kids had tons of clothes. I thought, let me gamble and sell some of these instead of tossing them out. It all sold so fast! So I kept selling things around the house – I ran out of things to sell! I started doing retail arbitrage and sourcing in stores. That was good but so time-consuming, I could shop all day and come home with a pair of jeans. So I made the leap into doing this and buying pallets.
Monday would be my only day to go out sourcing while my husband was home with our four-year-old. I would feel so defeated walking through the door with a pair of jeans that I didn’t even think had much profit in it. It was exhausting.
Flexibility. It makes me available to not have to put them [the kids] in extended day programs. I get to go to every baseball game, bring my daughter to dance class, I’m on the PTO, volunteer with the school. I get to be there for everything without having the ‘work’ commitments.
The commitment to the daily post office trips. I have to ship the next day, it’s a problem I think I have in my head. If someone buys something I definitely want to get it out to them right away. But the kids love going to the post office. They have their bags and they bring all the packages in, everyone knows them. My kids are super involved for a four and a seven-year-old.
Our B-Stock buyers inspire us every day. When it comes to reselling liquidation inventory, there’s a lot to master in order to be successful. Amberly shared some insights on her reselling journey and how other small business owners can thrive doing the same thing. Here are a few highlights:
After dropping out of a master’s program, Amberly realized she could tap into a side gig she’s had all along – reselling – to enable her to do the things she wanted.
“I had this epiphany, I just really wanted to be there at home with my kids. I didn’t want to stress about childcare and things like that. I knew I wanted to be my own boss.”
One of Amberly’s proudest accomplishments as a small business owner is being able to fund the fun things for her family. For many, big outings and trips can be out of budget. And oftentimes, the transportation and expenses for activities like skiing and camping come with hefty price tags. But with reselling, Amberly has been able to spend many winter nights skiing, and plans to take out the new RV for a spin this summer!
“[In regards to her proudest accomplishment] Knowing that all my work funds those awesome trips we do. Being able to contribute to my family but in a way that I can still be there all the time, too. I’m not working these crazy long hours while they’re with a babysitter. I think I have the best of both worlds!”
As Amberly learned from experience, you have to work with the space you have. Shoes obviously take up a lot more space than shirts. If you don’t have the storage for it right now then stick to your niche until you can branch out. The most profitable lots are the ones with better brands, and for Amberly, the effort is the same regardless.
“Creating a listing, whether I’m selling a bra or a $100 jacket, it all takes the same amount of time and effort. If I can get items that I can sell at a higher price it’s more worth it.”
We’ve all heard the horror stories out there. It can be terrifying for someone just getting started researching different liquidation platforms! Like Amberly said, “It’s scary to make an investment like that and not know if you’re going to get a bag of rocks.” Like many smaller resellers, being a one-woman (or one-man) shop means that huge losses and mishaps aren’t a luxury that can be afforded.
“I feel so confident shopping and bidding on items knowing that I am going to get what I paid for. And if not, there’s a killer customer service team that’s going to make sure everything’s going to be alright in the end. That’s huge. It’s hard to take that risk when you’re first starting out.”
Apart from having a seven-year-old post office assistant, having a few other essentials on hand is a must. Amberly told us she uses a caddy to organize her most used items when it comes to gettings things ready to sell on sites like eBay and Poshmark. Some of her secret weapons include the IKEA FRAKTA bag, a few security tag removers, wipes, a steamer, and scissors.
Also, Amberly works with a virtual assistant to help share her items on Poshmark. Which can be a crucial part of reselling on such a socially active platform.
As for Amberly’s #1 piece of advice for those looking to get started with reselling, she said, “Just get started, just do it. Take the leap.” With more and more people shopping online than ever before, it’s probably not a trend that is going anywhere anytime soon — so why not get started now?
“People want that convenience [of shopping online]. As long as you’re providing good customer service you’ll shine, do great, and get repeat customers. I have a lot of people who have shopped with me 3, 4, 5 times now.”
The pandemic forced many parents to home-school their children. And playing the part of teacher and business owner poses a unique challenge. “We got through it, but it wasn’t a fun time,” Amberly said. While reselling has proven to be “pandemic-proof” it’s still worth noting the challenges and experiences gained. For example:
Turning into a first-grade teacher with a four-year-old at home on top of running a business is no easy feat. Amberly shared how the pandemic initially slowed her down, but luckily, having a reservoir of listed inventory helped.
“Thankfully, I still had a good 800 listings out in my marketplaces when COVID hit. I spent my time fulfilling those orders as they came in…I was thankful I had that sort of ‘bank’ so to speak of listings out there so I was still making some money.”
Casualwear, intimates, loungewear, and pajamas all move pretty quickly. But in some instances — like when you’re left with a lot of formal wear and dresses at the beginning of the pandemic — items may move slower. However, in the end, everything will sell. Granted, certain businesses depend on quick turnaround times. (It depends on how much inventory you’re dealing with.) But if waiting isn’t a dealbreaker for you, don’t worry if an item doesn’t sell right away. It will eventually.
“My husband always says ‘Is that going to sell?’ and I say, ‘You know if you don’t mind waiting, everything sells.’ Once I get it listed and put it out there on the internet, to me, I don’t mind letting it sit there until it sells for a decent enough price. Everything will sell.”
Reselling can be for anyone! Not interested in selling makeup or supplements? No problem! You can jump into the world of reselling.
“This is truly your own business. Your profits are your profits. So many moms are missing the mark on something like this [a resale business]. I tell my neighbors, give it a shot, start selling some things around your house. It’s not rocket science. If you want to put in the hard work, it’s a great way to contribute.”
We asked Amberly what the future of Retail Deals looks like. Here’s what she had to say:
“I want to be able to buy bigger lots more often. My next step is to get some sort of large storage unit to add to our land to be able to house more inventory. Eventually hire someone to help with the listing. The more you list, the more you sell.”
Amberly’s business, Retail Deals, is based out of Westminster, MA. You can visit her Poshmark closet for the best women’s clothing including designer apparel, casual wear, and footwear.
B-Stock’s Reseller Community Spotlight is an ongoing series that aims to highlight our unique buyers in the B-Stock network.
Are you a B-Stock buyer and want to tell us more about your reselling business? Let us know and we can feature you in B-Stock’s Reseller Community Spotlight series.