Woman earns ‘thousands a month’ selling car boot bargains

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A young woman who makes “thousand every month” has shared the secrets of her success.

Re-selling high-value items she finds on the cheap, Becky Chorlton started her enterprise back in 2019, when she visited car boot sales as a student in a bid to make some extra money. Now, after launching online as Becky’s Bazaar, she has seen her business snowball. 

Speaking to money-saving community, the 24-year-old shared how she finds the best bargains at car boot sales.

“It’s always wise to plan before you go – research key information such as when it opens and join the Facebook group so you can see if it’s been called off due to factors such as weather,” she explained. “Don’t forget to bring cash and lots of bags – you need a way to carry all your bargains and reusing old bags is the way forwards!

“Once you’re there, keep an open mind. Don’t go into a car boot sale with a specific item you want to find. The joy of shopping secondhand is finding unique pieces you love, so learn to look for the potential in items you may not like at first glance.

“Rummage high and low when you’re looking around. All the treasures are usually hidden in boxes and places where everybody else is too lazy to look in, so get digging! Also, keep all seasons in mind when you’re browsing. If you spot the perfect winter coat in July, secure it while you can. Items out of season are usually cheaper and more readily available.”

“You’ll want to check items thoroughly once you’ve found something you like. There’s nothing worse than finding a hole or stain in an item after you have bought it! Items can be repaired, but make sure you know what you’re dealing with first.”

Many car boots only operate during summer, so charity shops are more popular during autumn and winter. Becky also provided some top tips for those who want to find bargains during the colder months.

“Get some research in and find charity shops that are off the beaten track. You may only know about your local high street charity shop, but chances are that’s where everyone else is going, which is why you aren’t finding anything. Google is your best friend here – plan a route to a store you never knew existed, and you’ll likely be surprised at what you find there.”

“When browsing, ensure you don’t miss a section. Sometimes charity shops wrongly categorize pieces – I’ve found some of my favourite items in the men’s and children’s sections.”

Becky has become an expert at finding bargain items that resell for a higher price. In particular, she is interested in NASCAR, Harley Davidson and racing clothing in general. Last year, she found a Red Bull biker jacket for £50, which was worth over £250. But how does she know which items hidden in car boot sale stalls and charity shops are worth much more than they’re selling for?

There’s one golden rule: “An item is rare when there aren’t many in circulation. For example, there were no Red Bull jackets in blue and red on eBay or any other second-hand selling website. This means demand and therefore the price for that item will be high.”

In other words, once an item has caught your eye, hold onto it and have a quick look online to see if the item you’ve found is being sold online. If it’s hard to find or non-existent, chances are you’re onto a winner.

Now that Becky has established her business, it’s her full-time job.

“I buy and sell from vintage wholesalers in the winter to make enough money when the car boots have shut down at the end of the summer, but I also make sure I have enough stock from summer car boots to get me through the colder months.I also find hidden treasures in charity shops regularly too. 

“I make enough money to comfortably live on, and I think the longer I do this, the more knowledgeable I become about vintage clothing and finding bargains. I sell my items on eBay, Depop and Vinted, but I have an exciting event coming up – I’m hosting a pop-up shop with Becky’s Bazaar in Birmingham on the 12th and 13th of November at the Bullring.

I reached out to multiple businesses, asking them if they wanted to collaborate – so there should be lots of fun surprises over the weekend. Red Bull was super keen to get involved and has sent an insane amount of cans.

“I’m currently spray painting carrier bags for the pop-up with my logo and sourcing the best stock ever for the shop. We’re also getting some prizes together as we have a spin-the-wheel game and a free photo booth. It should be an enjoyable weekend.”

Despite her steps forwards, Becky holds onto her roots and maintains a strong profile on Depop. Her business is one of the top profiles on the marketplace, and she shares how to achieve this milestone.

“To become a Depop verified top seller, you have to make a total of £2500 a month selling on the app. I achieved this by listing new stock daily and gaining a loyal customer base through fast shipping, quick replies and free gifts in every order.”

Becky offered her tips for those wanting to start out with a side hustle on sites like Depop: “Don’t compare yourself to any other shop – everyone started out somewhere. Find a niche you like – I’m passionate about selling vintage racing pieces. Be consistent with uploading new stock, so customers can constantly discover your page. If you make a mistake, face it head-on and fix it in the most professional way you possibly can for that customer. For example, I accidentally shipped an item to the wrong address when I first started. More often than not, people will appreciate honesty and transparency as everyone is human and makes mistakes.”

Becky has also recently branched out to share her journey on TikTok, which has proven to be another good side hustle for her. “I make money from my TikTok account @beckysbazaar, where I show the behind-the-scenes of sourcing my stock from car boots,” she added. “A year ago I had 7,000 followers but now I’ve got over 82,000. I upload on my TikTok 3 times a day, every day of the week so I think the sheer amount of content I’m producing means lots of people are discovering my page daily. I also think my generation is particularly interested in saving the planet and shopping second-hand, which may be why my videos are successful. Plus, I believe people are interested in the behind-the-scenes process and the bargains I find.”

Becky shared her tricks for those wanting to make money from social media: “I would say be creative. Try to think out of the box with content, as many things have been done before, and TikTok is becoming saturated. 

“I would also say post 2-3 times a day. I know this sounds overwhelming but try to recycle content and videos as much as you possibly can. True followers and supporters won’t mind seeing a clip again in a different context.

“Finally, I would say watch the videos you create from an outsider’s perspective. I think people often make videos and think they’re super interesting because they’ve made them. However, the average person may not understand the concept of the video so they are less likely to share it around. Unfortunately, people’s attention spans nowadays aren’t super long, so you have to capture people’s attention in the first 1-2 seconds of a video. Once I edit my videos, I will watch them back before posting to try to shave off as much as I can to keep the retention rate up.”

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