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Meet the 23-year-old who Started Reselling Clothes as a Side Hustle and Built a Full-Blown Business

She is extending her business by sharing her expertise on YouTube and providing coaching services to those interested in reselling.
Cover Image Source: Thrifting and reselling items (representative image) | Photo by cottonbro studio | Pexels
Cover Image Source: Thrifting and reselling items (representative image) | Photo by cottonbro studio | Pexels

From binge-watching to just going out for a walk, people do a lot of things when they are bored, but making money is not one of them. Sophie Riegel changed this perception after she used her free time in college to create a business and earn a little extra cash. With time, the activity born out of boredom has evolved into a full-blown business.

Sophie Riegel became bored while being at home during her freshman year at Duke University due to the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to browse through her previous belongings to see if she could sell anything on the internet. She found a few items, sold them, and made approximately $200. The initial success sparked her interest and she began selling additional stuff such as clothes she bought at local thrift stores. She would basically buy these cheap items and then, resell them for a greater price online. As she got better at it, Sophie started making a lot more money. By the time she graduated with a degree in psychology, she was already making over $10,000 a month from her online sales. In total, she has made more than $192,000 in profit ever since she started.

Now, Riegel sells about 10 items every day and makes around $400 to $500 each day. She spends about 25 hours a week on her business on top of her regular job as a writer, speaker, and mental health coach.

Image Source: Photo by Kai Pilger | Pexels
Selling old items can be a lucrative side hustle (representative image) | Photo by Kai Pilger | Pexels

Riegel's full-time work is a profession that requires time to cultivate and maintain a consistent number of clients, which makes the money she makes from her side hustle very valuable. "It just gives me so much freedom to do whatever I want to do," she explains. "More than just financial freedom...I can schedule coaching calls and speaking engagements whenever I want because I'm not tied to a 9-to-5 schedule."

The payout is not accidental. Riegel mentioned that she deeply studied reselling in the early stages of her side hustle. "I followed tons and tons and tons of other resellers [on YouTube]," she said. "I spent hours and hours researching brands and how to use each platform. And in my first year, I had approximately $70,000 or so in sales."

Riegel did her homework by researching what sells well across various internet channels. She discovered that some things and brands like Lululemon leggings and Hoka sneakers, are in high demand and can be sold for a decent price. Even if she buys them cheap at secondhand stores, they fetch a good price online. For example, she would buy a J. Crew or Carhartt jacket in person for $10 to $20 and then resell it online for $50 to $150. She also educated herself about when her local secondhand stores refilled their shelves. This allowed her to avoid wasting time browsing through the same old junk and instead get the best goods first. She once found an antique Chanel purse for $2 and later sold it on eBay for a whopping $1,000.

Image Source: Photo by Tranmautritam | Pexels
Doing one's homework is crucial for any side hustle (representative image) | Photo by Tranmautritam | Pexels

In 2023, Riegel's side company accounted for almost 70% of her income. This year, she expects a more balanced income, with half coming from her firm and the other half from coaching and speaking gigs. Running her side business is not always easy. She needs to keep track of approximately 1,300 products in her inventory. This entails spending a significant amount of time researching things, taking photos, editing them, listing items online, and organizing everything so she can find them quickly when they sell. While some aspects of the job, such as thrifting for objects, might be time-consuming, Riegel does not mind. To her, it does not feel like work at all.

As her careers develop, Riegel has no intention of slowing down. She enjoys thrifting and is passionate about her work. She is even extending her business by sharing her expertise on YouTube and providing coaching services to those interested in reselling.