How Fashion is Shifting to Second-hand Clothing Business
Clothing is a basic need, and virtually everyone will need to buy clothes at some point. In recent times, there appears to be a gradual shift to the second-hand thrift clothing line of business for both buyers and sellers, because and in spite of the recession. For third world countries where the recession is biting hard, and standards of living dropping by the day, thrift clothing can be described as a lifesaver.
For someone who is just trying to start a business, it is much easier to go into this line, because it has a lower start-up cost, and there is a high market demand already, meaning that your capital hardly gets tied down. Parents, workers and even students who are still trying to survive on less than $150 a month still find second-hand clothing a viable alternative to other expensive fashion lines. The truth is that the harsh economic realities on the African continent are a major contributor to the boom of the thrift cloth industry.
Well, even this clothing line understands class segmentation, as the clothes come in different quality categories, with the highest referred to as ‘Grade A’ or ‘first grade’. The other grades are of course much cheaper and even though they do not look as attractive or durable as the Grade A, they also have their market share.
These clothes range from children’s wear, adult wears, corporate wears, beddings and curtains to even under-wears. The retailers buy them in bales and display them in stores, along roadsides and in recent times, we even find some thrift stores online, further reducing the startup cost for a second-hand cloth business.
A 100kg Grade A bale could be bought within the range of N45,000 and N60,000 while a 55kg bale sells for between N20,000 and N30,000, depending on market situations at the time. Whilst the 100kg bale may contain about 600 to 700 pieces of clothes, the 55kg bale may hold between 300 and 400 pieces. Most traders prefer to go for the 100kg bales which they say give them more profit.
One risk in this business is the fact that it remains sealed, so you cannot see what you are buying until you buy and open the bale. Occasionally, there could be some unsellable piece of clothing which is torn, damaged or stained in the bale. However, the traders insist that such occurrences are few and far between, and the profits from the good clothes make up for any loss such might cost them.
The wholesalers are fairly flexible and could divide a bale into three parts for the person who cannot afford to buy a complete one. Two people can also buy one bale and share right there in the market. Some who want to completely eliminate the risk of bad clothes could decide that they want the bale opened before they select. This of course attracts a higher cost than buying a sealed bale.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Continue with the rest of the interview on page 56 of our 20 Trending and most Profitable Businesses in 2021 edition. Click here to read it.
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