Side hustle to sell vintage designer handbags full-time

Sometimes Nica Yusay’s vintage handbag online store, FashioNica, sells out so quickly that she thinks there’s something wrong with her website.

A lifelong thrift enthusiast, Yusay developed a knack for finding high-end handbags at a fraction of their retail value from a young age. She’s amassed her own collection over the years, but never thought she could make money from her skills – until her fiancé suggested she make a business out of it.

In January 2021, Yusay took the plunge, spending $15,000 on luxury handbags that she intended to resell on sites like Poshmark and Depop. She also posted a video on TikTok about negotiating prices with customers, which went viral: Yusay says she gained 10,000 followers almost immediately. The video now has nearly three million views.

After six months of growing interest, Yusay created a Shopify website for FashionoNica. By the end of the year, she had earned $300,000 from the side-hustle — enough to convince her to quit her $82,000 annual salary as digital marketing brand manager for Pieology Pizzeria in February and to pursue FashioNica full-time from his home in California. .

The Fenti-toting influencer – who has 137,000 followers on Instagram and 115,000 on TikTok – says the jump was “extremely scary”, especially considering how much she spent on initial inventory. “I think it comes from [growing up in] a single-parent household. I didn’t feel financially secure,” Yusay told CNBC Make It. “It’s not a stable job by any means. If you don’t even sell a bag, you haven’t made any dollars this week.”

FashionoNica has brought in around $1 million in revenue since the start of 2022, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It. The company earns up to $55,000 on each drop.

Here’s how Yusay runs her six-figure business and where she plans to take it next:

A regimented routine

The secret to Yusay’s sustained sales is a strict schedule. She typically works six days a week, all leading to “drops” when she releases a new batch of 20-30 designer bags on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. PT. The bags sell for between $170 and nearly $19,000 each.

Drops can sell out in two minutes, Yusay says — and getting to that point takes nearly a week of preparation.

“You’d think it would be easier once you start working full time, instead of having two jobs. But no, I’m so strict with myself,” Yusay says. “If I weren’t super dedicated, this company wouldn’t be where it is today.”

On a typical Monday, Yusay decides which bags will be included in the next drop. She spends hours photographing them for her Shopify website and social media accounts. On Tuesdays, she posts photos and writes product descriptions.

Wednesdays are dedicated to preparing the drop and marketing the bags on Instagram Live. Yusay spends her Thursdays at thrift stores and with her vendors, looking for unique bags. Fridays are all about sending tags and managing her Instagram inbox.

Nica Yusay’s business, FashioNica, earns $55,000 a week selling luxury designer handbags.

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On Saturday, Yusay packs and ships the orders. She usually takes Sunday off.

In March, Yusay hired her mother and sister to help her with the expedition process – helping her make up some of her time on Saturdays. But she says she doesn’t plan to use the extra time to rest.

“I thought, ‘If I were to hire my mom and sister, for example, and have them ship my orders, I’d save a full day,'” Yusay said. “A full day could mean I can add five or even 10 more bags to my inventory for the next delivery.”

Selling your way in a ruthless industry

The second-hand market for luxury goods was worth an estimated $33 billion in 2021, according to management consultancy Bain & Company. A popular luxury retailer, The RealReal, reported nearly $1.5 billion in sales in 2021.

Yusay’s plan to stay relevant in such a big, cutthroat industry: keep hustling and using her well-trained eye to find handbags that will stand out from the crowd. She says she looks for bag styles that have stood the test of time: some of the items in her inventory are up to 30 years old.

Yusay employs his mother, sister and a part-time photographer. His seller also gets a share of his profits, depending on how many bags he buys.

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