Friday, December 14, 2012

Ugly Christmas Sweater - I am not buying it!

This is an important news flash......the Dude is about to disavow an earlier stated opinion. A momentous occasion by any measure, because I rarely change my mind. (At least that's what Mrs. Dude tells me.) But I've had a change of opinion on a commonly found thrift store item and an obligation to pass this along to my loyal readers.

In a blog written about a year ago I praised Ugly Christmas sweaters, stating how they're a hot seller during the Christmas season. To illustrate this point further, I even told the true story of being accosted by a fellow Goodwill shopper who asked me if I'd seen any good Christmas sweaters in the store's racks? Well things apparently have changed in the year since I wrote that enthusiastic opinion, because this year my ugly Christmas sweater sales absolutely STINK, STANK, STUNK! Part of the problem is the growing popularity in selling these holiday sweaters. Check out this recent article I found:


 Christmas Sweaters: the Uglier, the Better!




Ugly Christmas sweaters are creating a small pre-holiday financial boon for thrift stores nationwide. And here in Reno they are flying off the racks.

"We collect them year round, because the real ones from the 80's are hard to find," says Kendra Crosby of Junkee Clothing Exchange in Reno. "We have pickers who find them for us in Los Angeles and send them here. And to keep up with the demand, we even buy plain sweaters we find and decorate them ourselves."

"I'm looking for a really ugly one," said Kelly Case, as she leafed through the racks. "It's a contest and so I've picked out two and am seeing which one will be the one here." She was considering two 80's era sweaters with holiday scenes. And then she settled on one with a three dimensional stuffed bear and a Christmas tree on it. "This is it!" she said happy to pay the $20 price for it.

And across town at the Assistance League of Reno's Thrift Store on Vassar, there are Christmas sweaters and even sequined evening jackets they can hardly keep in stock.

"The end of October and the first week in November we went through at least a rack and a half of them," said Helga Miller who is the Chair of the Thrift Store. "They are really popular and we have a lot of them."
 
See what I mean? Even the thrift stores are getting in on the act! Just like this Reno thrift store, my local Goodwill store also displayed their numerous ugly Christmas sweaters on a prominent rack in the middle of the store. But along with that special display came special prices. Most were priced at around ten dollars-way higher then your average ratty GW sweater found in the regular racks. I hate to admit it, but even the Dude got swept up in this ugly Christmas sweater gold rush. I bought several of those overpriced GW sweaters, hoping to at least triple my money during the holiday buying season. But it was not to be! Out of four sweaters I posted on eBay, only one sold. It received a single bid of $20 bucks! That was hardly the return I was looking for. Fearing that I would get stuck with the rest, I sold the remaining sweaters in one collective lot for $30, barley breaking even on my investment. My only conclusion-there are just too many sweaters available for sale, causing prices to drop. The old supply and demand theory works even with ugly Christmas sweaters!

Which is why I've changed my mind. From now on, I plan to exercise extreme caution when considering ugly Christmas sweaters. Any future purchases will be strictly sweaters that have actual blinking lights and tinsel intertwined in the fabric. I am only half kidding-the more outrageous the sweater, the better the chance you 'll have in making any serious money from it!

Of course, this is just one man's opinion. Maybe other folks have had a different experience? If you sold any ugly Christmas sweaters I'd be interested in knowing how you did? Maybe you agree with me or maybe you made a ton of money. If enough folks tell me they made lot's of money with ugly Christmas sweaters.....I'll retract my retraction!!!






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16 comments:

  1. This is my first year with Ugly Christmas Sweaters. I picked them up at thrift stores & estate sales through the year and ended up with 6 of them. I paid $1 for most, and never more than $2 each. I have sold 2. Not including shipping, one went for $40, the other went for $27. The other 4 are sitting in my store bored out of their minds. Like you, I doubt that I venture into this area again unless they are super-ugly and super-cheap.

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    1. GreenJeans - Thanks for backing me up.I am guessing your $40 sweater was either very high-end or completely outrageous looking. Nothing worse then being stuck with Christmas sweaters after the holidays, right? Looking at them on a hanger for the next 12 months is the worst! I would try selling them in a lot just to get them off your inventory.

      Thanks again for writing in......Dude!

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    2. I might give the lot idea a try. Otherwise, they'll be in a bin till next November, I am not going to let them sit in my store that long.

      Thought of your past blog post this morning as I sold a set of 5 blowmolds through craigslist. I have another person interested in the rest of my blowmolds and I think we're meeting this afternoon to seal the deal. I had originally planned to ebay them but decided against trying to find boxes to ship them. Gotta love c'list!

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    3. Nice flips on those Xmas blowmolds.

      I agree-Craigslist is a garage sale picker's saving grace! No shipping, no frustrating search for the right size box and no eBay fees-it's the best!!!

      And I always feel like I am striking a blow against Big, Bad eBay when I can flip something on CL instead!

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  2. I've had some fantastic ugly sweater flips (sales ranging from $30-$40), but then I did pick them up at our local by-the-pound store last January. The best sale was on a very large vest with sequin snowmen. The great part about the vest is that it's easier to cram into a Priority Mail flat rate padded mailer! :)

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    1. brigita-Vests are definitely easier to mail. You may even be able to get away with first class shipping instead of Priority.
      And I guess if you bought them "by the pound" at least you snagged them cheap.

      Thanks for writing in and telling us how you did.....Dude!

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  3. I pay about 4-6 dollars for my ugly sweaters and I also purchased some by the pound at the goodwill outlet, they are easy to spot in the piles!
    Out of approx 40 sweaters I listed (and I didn't get all of them listed until two weeks ago) I have sold 20, ranging from 25-40 dollar a piece. I'm not sure if I will buy so many for next year, probably only if they are cheap and really ugly, or could be added to to make them really ugly. Plus sizes sell the best for me. I think the market is becoming too saturated. Maybe we can find a new christmas fad to help us out for next year!

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    1. melissa - Yes! We definitely need a new Christmas fad to ride! (I have an ugly Saint Patrick's day Sweater I am hoping to sell in a few months)

      But you seem to be doing fairly well with your sales. Maybe the Plus sizes are the way to go.

      Thanks for writing is and giving us your sales report....Dude!

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  4. Thankfully I only have one, and it's a vest, and I think since it's been on ebay with only a handful of views, I might just wear it tomorrow night to a White Elephant Exchange. Ooh, better yet, I might make it my gift....hmmmm what to do????

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  5. My first time with Ugly Christmas sweaters. Got some from thrift. Stores and some from my Mom. I thought maybe I waited to lte to list -1st week December. Only sold about 1/2 of them with highest being $30. Sequins vest was fastest out the door and easiest to ship. Sweater vest with cats and bows second best. I saw a good number of vintage plaid polyester mens pants and suits selling well....maybe for next year? Red/black ver popular. M in Houston

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    1. Thanks M - $30 is pretty good, especially if you got it for free from your Mom. That way it's all profit. Given your sales, it sounds like you had the same problem as me.

      Next year, I am staying away from them. Thanks again for your sale report....Dude!

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  6. I am with you on the Ugly Sweaters Dude! I started feeling this way about a year or two ago. I vowed not to sell Uglies unless they are large (to fit a man too) and they are so pathetically ugly and rare. It has to be cheap too. Good womens sweaters to find are Michael Simon and Christine Foley. I saw some Large womans Quacker Factory at my GW, but I just wasnt in the mood. So I didnt buy them. I might stop by (now several weeks later) and see if they are on sale and save them for next year. Any of these brands of sweaters, you dont need to put the word ugly in the title.

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    1. Thanks for backing me up! While some readers have wrote in to say they made $20 to $30 on a particular sweater, it seems those sales are the exception to the rule. Not to mention shipping these heavy thing! If the auction came with "free shipping" you just ate another $8 dollars out of your potential profit. It ain't good!

      Like you said, unless the sweater is exceptional, I just don't seem much profit in them anymore.

      Thanks for writing in and having my back! : ) Dude!

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  7. My only ugly Christmas sale was a pair of J Renee velvet flats decorated with Santa, sleigh, and all 8 tiny reindeer. And the rooftops over which they flew. They were probably vintage 80's, very good condition, cost $2 and sold for $22.95 plus shipping. I was afraid they might not sell at all because they were a narrow size and it seems that wide widths are the thing now.

    So maybe ugly Christmas accessories are a better bet than the sweaters themselves. . . .

    Susan in San Antonio

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    1. Susan- Nice sale! You may be on to something there. While there's plenty of ugly Christmas tree sweaters, how many "ugly" Christmas tree shoes are out there? Sounds like a good item to look for in the future. Thanks for checking in....Dude!

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