Expert eBay seller and coach Suzanne A. Wells loves ugly shoes. There’s no sugar coating it. But, it’s not because she doesn’t have a flair for fashion (just look at her, she’s totally put together). It’s because she finds ugly shoes literally everywhere she goes: garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, etc. But, do ugly shoes actually sell? I had to ask. Here’s what she had to say:
OK, we know it’s relatively easy to find shoes to resell, but why do you focus on the “ugly” ones—and do they sell?
Well, if you can get past the "ick" factor of selling used shoes, there’s good money to be made. Many types of orthopedic shoes have a retail price of over $200 new, and consumers may not want to (or simply can’t afford to) pay that. A lot of times I find these types of shoes for $2-5 and sell them for $30. My customer gets a great deal and I make a nice profit. It’s a win-win.
Sounds good. What’s your strategy when it comes to the ugly shoe market?
I look at the big picture. I ask myself, what kind of footwear does the average person buy today? Like, what are Baby Boomers wearing? Believe it or not, they set a lot of shoe trends and just happen to make up a huge portion of the population. And, unfortunately, I’ve found that a great many of them have sacrificed their health to advance in their careers. As a result, many have foot problems from working long hours on their feet—for literally decades. Now they need shoes that are supportive and orthopedically sound—they’re not looking for Christian Louboutins.
You’ve put a lot of thought into this, and you’ve carved out a smart niche. Plus, it helps people who can’t afford to buy them new. I like it.
Yeah, the footwear industry has responded to this need with all kinds of comfort shoes for Boomers (and others) with foot issues. They’re just not very attractive. That’s what I focus on rather than fashion trends. The way I see it, a person with foot pain goes to eBay to find a solution for their pain that also fits their budget. Because, let’s face it, many Boomers are on a fixed income and Medicare may not cover all costs for special shoes. A lot of them want a more economical option.
Brilliant. So, which brands do you look for, in particular?
There are four hot sellers in the comfort shoe department that I’m focusing on, at least for right now:
Yep, while most sellers in thrift stores are fighting over Prada pumps or Tory Burch flats, I’m casually browsing the comfort shoe section. I never pass up an opportunity to turn a good profit. Plus, I know I’m also providing seniors with more shoe options than might be readily available to them, both geographically and from a pricing point of view. I’m very fair with my pricing model.
Wow—who knew? This is amazing advice for used shoe sellers on eBay.
Thanks. Yeah, I’ve also put together a whole course called The Art of Selling Used Shoes. It includes a comprehensive video, 72-page Course eBook, and a LOT more detail on the best way to ship shoes, tools that can make selling easier, and how to ensure that sellers make a profit.
You’ve really taken the guesswork out of this used shoe niche. GREAT stuff. Thanks so much for your time, Suzanne! Ugly shoe sellers, unite!
Have you already jumped on the ugly shoe bandwagon? Tell us some stories, below.
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