Shopping expert on how to find designer pieces in Colchester's charity shops

Over the past fortnight she visited the charity shops in Colchester, Frinton and Walton <i>(Image: Lorne Spicer)</i>
Over the past fortnight she visited the charity shops in Colchester, Frinton and Walton (Image: Lorne Spicer)

DEBORAH Meaden from Dragon’s Den has revealed that she buys all her clothes from charity shops despite having a fortune to her name.

She is just one of many influencers who have made charity shop shopping cool.

Charity shops offer the ultimate in recycling whilst supporting a dedicated cause but they also offer a way to buy and sell and make a little bit of extra cash in these hard times.

Tik Tok and Instagram are full of pages of people celebrating their purchases and reselling.

As a test I thought I would see what I could find and whether it was possible to resell and add a few coffers to the pot.

Over the past fortnight I visited the charity shops in Colchester, Frinton and Walton to buy anything that I thought might make some money.

First off was a Tiffany style lampshade in the YMCA charity shop in Frinton which was £25 and sold on Marketplace a week later to a lovely Norfolk couple for £50 - doubling my money in a week.

From the charity shop in Walton seven balls of mohair wool that cost £1 each made £17 on eBay.

I know nothing about knitting but it was easy to find out on Google that balls of wool are extremely expensive and so there was the potential for a profit to be made.

A weird Fish top cost £8 and sold for £16 on Vinted along with a £3 Cos top that made £12.

This might be because I paid a bargain price but also because demand for Cos items is high as it is now one of many brands offering their own online resale marketplace.

This allows the companies to protect their brands but also is another possible outlet for selling.

A Joules coat in a size 20 cost £12 and sold for £20 and a West Ham Bobby Moore t-shirt costing £2.50 sold for £6.

On the face of it a £3.50 profit may not seem a lot but what the influencers on social media know is that if you are buying and selling enough at £3.50 profit a time it all adds up quickly.

Be sensible about the prices you ask too. It is better to turn an item around quickly and make a small profit that hold out for the near original retail price and take two years to sell it.

My favourite buy was 4 faux sheepskin Matalan cushions from the Little Helpers Charity Shop in Walton that cost £4 for the lot.

I desperately needed the cushions but not the covers.

Would the covers on their own sell? Yes for £10 on Vinted.

A pair of Fat Face dungerees made £12 each but cost just £5 a pair, and a £1 Surfanic snowboarding jacket that retails at more than £100 cost £1 and sold for £15.

A day in Colchester at the charity shops was rewarding with a Karen Millen bag costing £2 selling for £12, two Dunhill men’s belts for £2 making £25 and from St Helena’s Hospice in Frinton two Star Wars licensed men’s ties at £1 each that made £18.

Not everything is going to sell or sell for more money but you can recoup any losses at the boot sale.

A Liam Gallagher Pretty Green coat that cost £3 from the charity shop turned out to have marks on the arm but was purchased on Sunday at Colchester Car Boot Sale for £5.

A Seasalt dress bought at Colchester car boot sale right at the end of the day for £5 last Sunday made £25 on Vinted in a week.

A carved dragon box that cost £4 turned out to be listed for £240 on Etsy and a pair of brand new Gola Puma yellow suede trainers that cost £5 from the air ambulance charity shop in Colchester made £12 at the car boot.

The Dogs Trust in Colchester is a smashing place where a Sweaty Betty item that was part of a collaboration with the Hollywood actress Halle Berry cost £10 and a sheepskin 1980s flying jacket was the same price - the flying jacket made £70 in a week.

The point is to not just buy what you like, but what you think others will like.

I know nothing about knitting, snowboarding and Star Wars but I know others do and that there is a market for these items.

The things that did not sell flew out at the car boot sale and still made a profit.

Overall in two weeks I have made around £200 which is great news for the rescue charity I support and from where my two rescue dogs are from as it will get the money made from this venture.

Remember, it takes time to go around and you will not find something in a charity shop every day of the week but it is possible to find bits and pieces that just help ease the pain of the cost of living crisis.

And you may end up with a bonus. Going through the change after the boot sale on Sunday I had been given a rare £2 coin of the London Olympic handover to Rio which according to can be worth up to £50.

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