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The Weirder, The Better: An Unusual Product Category

Who would have thought that this conventional product category sells best when it's weird.

The Weirder, The Better: An Unusual Product Category

In this issue of Flip Weekly I want to talk about a product category that’s conventional, easy to spot in a thrift store or yard sale and is something that you’re guaranteed to have sitting in your house or your families house right now. The average cost? Probably around a dollar or two. The resell value? The weirder it is, the higher the price. Let me tell you more, but first:

Table of Contents

What I’ve Bought

You guys know by now that I love my hand signed books. Whenever I visit a thrift store the book section is mainly empty and it allows me time to do a quick hunt for any that may have been signed. It sounds like a tedious process however once you’ve done it a few times it’s faster than say going through the clothes rack. Below are 2 books that I found that are signed and were $5 each. In most cases I’d prefer to pay $1-$2 a book but for a signed copy I’m always happy forking out a fiver.

Paperback Paris Hilton biography for $5.

The Fault in our Stars, hard cover for $5.

One of the reasons I love finding signed copies of books is because they can be massive wildcards. Not all signatures are created equal and if you discover a unique or interesting signature you can really ask for whatever you want on eBay. For example, I found a signed copy of one of Gordon Ramsay’s very early biographies and they’ve sold in the past for $300+. I decided to keep it for myself but if I was to list it I’d shoot for $500. Obviously no guarantees I’d get it and it would sit for a while, but it gives you a chance to read it!

As for these 2 that I picked up:

  • Paris The Memoir: only 1 within Australia for $89.99. A bunch of sold comps last month with one going for $90.00 and 2 on auction that had 23 bids between them and the final sales price for both was around $45. I think I’ll list this somewhere between $50.00 - $90.00.

I’ll list mine for somewhere between these 2. amounts

  • The Fault in Our Stars: an extremely popular book that got made into a movie. There are very few active comps within Australia. One is $139.95 and the other is $590.00 however they’re not perfect comparisons. The latter is a 2 book bundle and the former is a 1st edtion which mine isn’t. In terms of sold comps they’re all over the place with 1 on bid going for $10 and the highest on BIN being over $100. My go-to price for this would be around the $49.95 mark.

I’ll most likely list for a bit below these.

Another item I picked up is not something I’d usually buy. I’ve said before I don’t want to sell clothes anymore however this crossed into my sporting category and had a few green flags where I said screw it and bought them.

$14 price tag on these bad boys.

BNWT originally $89.95

A pair of Australian Rules (AFL) board shorts brand new with tag. Let me tell you why I picked them up:

  • I've only ever found shirts, jerseys and jackets with my sporting gear. I’ve always been on the lookout for shorts and never found any and I’ve heard they sell well.

  • The AFL season is just about to start back up and I think it may help with the sell through rate.

  • They’re brand new with tags and the price listed is $89.95.

  • A size 32 is a really popular mens size. Why do I know this? Check out the Resources & Friends section down below.

  • They were selling for $14.

If I sold for $89.95 we’d walk away with a $60 profit. I’ll list them for around the $49.95 mark for a (hopefully) quick sale and I’ll be content with a $25 profit margin. It also scratches my itch of finding sporting team shorts.

What I’ve Sold

What do you know about Beyblades? What do I know about Beyblades? Virtually nothing. When I was a kid I think people brought them to school and battled against each other. Insert a rip cord into one, yank it out fast and those things would spin around until it destroys your opponent. Sounds right? I was never a Beyblade kid. I hadn’t heard the word Beyblade in years until January when I stumbled across a huge bag full of them at a thrift store for $5. Like with anything I did some Googling and found out that they’re something to definitely be on the lookout for. We have huge value all over the place with them coming in different combinations, series, color, condition and so forth. What do I do when I come across that huge bag for $5? I definitely didn’t separate them out like a patient person. I combined them all and listed for what would turn out to be a cheap price. Of course, they sold days later.

A $5 bag of Beyblades turned into an even $100.00.

Nevertheless, that tiny bag of gold isn’t what I sold this week. The item I sold would never have been picked up if I didn’t buy and sell the bag earlier this year. Take a look:

$5 at a thrift store into $54.95.

Look, $5 into $54.95 isn’t too bad, even after fees. The thing I was most interested in was that this item quickly became one of my most viewed and most watched products on my entire eBay account. I think it lasted around a week and was gaining around 50 views and 5 watchers per day. Doesn’t sound like a lot but the'y’re some decent eBay numbers with no promotion and I’m 100% keeping an eye out for Beyblades in the future and you should too.

Moving on, I’m happy to report that I’ve sold an item from last weeks “Item’s I’ve Bought“ issue and at full price. What was it?

Sold for full asking price on Facebook Marketplace.

If you remember from last weeks issue of Flip Weekly I picked up a massive bundle of toys all complete in box. This piece was picked up for $30 and went on to sell for $150.00 on Facebook Marketplace. On eBay I had it listed for $199.95 and accrued 193 views and 10 watchers so I think it was going to be only a matter of time before it sold there. $30 into $150 within 2 weeks? Nice.

The final thing I want to point out isn’t something that I tend to pick up anymore however it’s directly related to this weeks Resources & Friends section down below. Here it is:

Eureka Season 5, 5 Disc Set sold for $20.95.

We have the 5 disc set of the TV show Eureka. I picked this up for $1 at a thrift store and it went on to sell for $20.95. After shipping in an un-tracked envelope that costs $3.60 the profit works out to around $12.60. I picked up a lot of DVD’s when I was first starting out and many have gone on to sell. It’s a niche where you’re on the lookout for mainly TV shows and the later seasons. You’re wanting shows that sell for $20+ so make sure you use your eBay sold comps or try out Google Lens to see what they sell for. If you want to learn more about DVD’s, and the reason why I picked up so many when I was first starting out, check out the section below.

Resources & Friends

I would not have gained my interest in garage sales, thrifting and selling on eBay without the help of a few different YouTube channels. I didn’t seek these guys out, they appeared on my recommended feed one day and it just went from there. I saw them hitting these places up and eventually became interested myself.

Todays shout out goes to Matt at The Aussie Flipper YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@TheAussieFlipper

Matt’s channel showed up on my feed and I checked it out because I legit didn’t think Aussies were doing this kind of stuff. Here in Australia most people are either 1) working a 9-5 or 2) being a landlord. Seeing Matt take his future into his own hands was inspiring and no joke gave me hope that Australia’s future wasn’t just a game of real estate jenga.

In this issue of Flip Weekly I’ve talked about 1 item I’ve bought (board shorts) and 1 item I’ve sold (DVD’s) and that was because of watching Matt’s channel. He’s mentioned in his latest videos that he’s transitioning away from these niches however he has a ton of good content on DVD’s and clothing and if you’re looking for a niche to get started in, where there’s always going to be an abundance in your local thrift, it’s something to check out.

User Submissions & My Challenge

Every week I put out a challenge to you, the reader, and every week so far I’ve been disappointed. I’m yet to see anybody step up - here’s what I’ve asked for in the past:

  • I challenge you to visit your thrift store, go to your garage sales and find a book that is signed. I want to see prices, I want to see front covers, I want to see signatures and I want to know what you’re going to sell it for.

  • I’ve talked about comics and magazines. These can often be found at garage sales and thrift stores for around $1 a piece. My challenge to you is to hit them up and find a comic or magazine that you can resell for a profit.

These are not impossible tasks. Hit up your sales, hit up your stores, snap a pick and get some recognition in the newsletter. These challenges will continue until you guys steps up.

The Weirder, The Better: An Unusual Product Category

I don’t want to clickbait you so I’ll tell you the product category straight off the bat. You’re going to hear it and you’ll immediately think of clickbait headlines like: “You’ll never guess the favorite food in this US state“. Pizza. The answer is pizza. We get it. No. The answer here is salt and pepper shakers. Surprise. Anyway, how do salt and pepper shakers get weird? What does that even mean? Don’t worry, you’re going to see some weird stuff on this issue of Flip Weekly.

I didn’t know that salt and pepper shakers were highly collectible until late 2023 when I inadvertently visited an estate sale and they were selling a lot of them. I’m talking I walked into a driveway, up into a room and was surrounded by hundreds.

Salt and pepper shakers on every shelf, every corner of the room. I distinctly remember feeling uneasy because the ad online didn’t mention anything about them. I just rocked up, saw a few pots and pans outside and then walking inside there were hundreds of different designs. I mean… maybe 2 cast iron pans outside, 3 or 4 mugs, a set of 6 plates and then hundreds of shakers.

When I say that they were weird, I’m not referring to a few white bottles with funny painted on designs. I’m referring to the moulds that are all over the place. Let’s take a look at what I walked away with after leaving the shaker room:

Could you see this on your dining room table?

I picked this up for $5. I mean… it’s not ugly nor is it badly designed… it’s just… unusual. Could you see this in your house? Could I see this on my dining room table? The answer is irrelevant when it sells for $50 on Facebook Marketplace. I had buyers remorse when I first picked this up - the seller had individually wrapped up each piece of the set and I thought to myself.. oh man how am I going to sell this. But it didn’t matter, people love and collect salt and pepper shakers and turns out… the weirder the better.

Before I show you the really weird, here is another piece I picked up at a yard sale for what turned out to cost $1. It was partially broken and yet went on to sell for $34.95 (with postage) within 24 hours. No kidding, they were listed on February 10th and sold on February 11th.

Note: if you’re going to pick up your own set, check to make sure they have a stopper at the bottom.

Partially broken and legit sold in <24 hours.

Just your run of the mill table shakers.

Who cares about a broken hook?

Why?! How?! Why again?! I have no idea. I personally don’t get it. I like my salt and pepper in grinders that I can manhandle in the kitchen. If I had to shake a baby deer… it wouldn’t turn out so well. I truly don’t get it but this is why I’m pointing it out:

Salt and pepper shakers are EVERYWHERE in thrift stores. If you see a set, use Google Lens and look them up. And if they’re REALLY weird looking? Don’t even bother, buy them! Look at this set that I bought in January for $4 at a thrift store:

$4 into $36 with postage.

Definitely not creepy…

I prefer the back.

I admit, not that weird, but still pretty weird. They sold almost instantly and shocked me. Anyway, with that all said, let’s look at the truly weird:

Sold for $496. Fancy? Can’t tell…

Sold for $404. You shake the bird…

Sold for $300.

Sold for $252.

Sold for $189.00. Unrealistic size.

Sold for $92.61. Beach sand anyone?

Skunks! For food?! They sold for $30!?

Sold for $100 ON BID!

Look, I have no idea what’s going on with salt and pepper shakers. It honestly seems like the weirder it is, the more it will sell for. I mean, we have skunks being bought and sold and literal shoes being popular. Like… what? As an Aussie the first thing you do after walking on the beach with thongs and getting back to the road is shake off all the sand. It looks exactly like what the Japanese thong salt and pepper shakers look like.

Maybe in the end it’s just something that I’m not supposed to get? Who am I to judge when I collect sealed VHS tapes and factory sealed iPod’s - that too could be seen as weird. Either way, I hope that I’ve made salt and pepper shakers something you’ll keep an eye out for, even if it’s just to show the newsletter how weird they can get.

What’s To Come

Here are a few ideas moving forward of what I might talk about in the next issue of Flip Weekly:

  • Signed, Sealed & Sold: The Importance of Autographs

  • I Finally Found A Street Shark In The Wild: Valuable $1 Toys

  • Trash or Treasure? Boring Items People Usually Throw Out

  • What NOT To Say At Yard Sales - Avoid These Words

  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Avoid Selling Fakes

Thanks again for tuning it, shoot us a message on Flip Weekly’s website if you’ve found anything cool this week and I’ll see you same time again next week. Bye!

Mat