Most of us have a closet, basement, garage, or rented storage unit, that has a box or two of things we bought that we just knew would sell -- but didn't. If you don't you are either very lucky, very smart, or you haven't purchased much inventory yet. You can always donate these non-sellers to Goodwill to clear them out. Be sure to get an itemized receipt that you can use to write off against your taxes. It won't get your cash back but it will get you the benefit at the end of the year.
You might also try to sell it as a wholesale lot on one of the more active selling sites. Someone else may know something you don't, or have a market for the goods already, and be glad to find them. Even your worst purchases can be someone else's treasured find!
You can turn that around to your advantage too. Don't be afraid to look at wholesale lots offered on sites like eBay. I've made better money on some of those than I have on true wholesale purchases direct from manufacturers. In fact, look carefully at larger retail lots as well. By splitting those up, recombining some items, and listing them in smaller groupings or as individual items, you can often do quite well. I've done this as well with considerable success.
Finding a true wholesaler for just about any product can be quite hard because there are often so many middle men, distributors and package re-sellers who promote themselves as wholesalers. The one good source I have found that provides excellent recommendations and reports to help you find suppliers is World Wide Brands. They may seem a little pricey but if you are serious about finding good, solid, wholesalers than this is likely the number one source online.
A wholesaler offering a range of costume jewelry, home/office decor, handbags, scarves and shawls, and other miscellaneous items is Bethel International Inc. You can look at their catalog online but to see prices you will need to sign up for an account. Last time I looked an account was free but you will need to have a valid tax ID number to be approved.
There are lots of sources out there. The easier they are to find the more likely you will run into many, many, sellers offering their products. You need to do your own research, and get good reports from places like World Wide Brands, in order to find items you want to sell but, more importantly, items that customers want to buy!
Drop shippers can be a valid source but you have to do a lot of checking and, even with the good ones, you still have no control over product availability and shipping dates. With actual wholesalers or even mid-level distributors you will likely have to purchase a few hundred dollars worth of items for your first order -- maybe even $1000.00 or more. Many sellers can't afford these wholesale minimums. If you can you can get a competitive edge on both price and supply over many other sellers.
Purchasing at the "break" price -- the number of individual items (often a dozen, gross, or more) at which there is a drop in your wholesale price per item -- can play a significant role in your price competitiveness, but it also ties up more capital in a single item. You need to think seriously about this or you may end up offering more wholesale lots on eBay than you want to.
Research the nature of the item(s) you are thinking of selling, and not only the price and availability. If something is already being offered by many other sellers the market may be saturated. This doesn't mean you can't sell this item, as it may also mean it is very popular, but you had better have a significant price advantage, added value service, or some other "sizzle" that will bring traffic to your store instead of your competition.
There are many online tools, including some offered on eBay, that allow you to research what is selling well online, and at what prices. Use these to your advantage. Finding items to sell yourself is part of it. Finding what the competition is doing is another part. You need to do both of these if you really hope to be successful.
When items don't sell well on their own you may first consider grouping them in small lots -- three, five, a dozen pieces -- and if they still don't sell you might offer larger wholesale lots. Some items sell more easily individually, some in groups, some in larger lots. You need to experiment with what works for you. Items that don't sell at one site may sell well at another. Don't be afraid to maintain several selling sites and try moving items around. Different sites draw different audiences who purchase different things. Don't hesitate to experiment.
And, of course, you need to promote your store(s) and your items. If you are sitting back waiting for sales to come on their own you may find yourself doing just that: sitting back waiting for sales!
You need to take seasonal markets into consideration as well as national holidays. Expecting to sell Thanksgiving related merchandise to an Australian market may be doomed from the outset. If you are not sure why then you really do need to do your research! If you are marketing merchandise that relates to the season of the year remember that winter occurs [i]twice[/i] each year -- once in the norther hemisphere and once in the southern hemisphere, and at different times of the year. You can actually sell winter clothing when it's summer where you live! You can use this to your advantage if you develop an international market and pick up end-of-season merchandise at a discount in one marketplace in order to sell it into another.
Craft items are growing in popularity and there are many sites popping up to support crafters in selling their wares. Distributing craft supplies to the people who make crafts may be a good choice. If you can purchase craft supplies in bulk and then break them down to smaller amounts that crafters would use and can afford you may have found a niche you can fill.
Selling what you know is always a good idea, especially at the beginning. Jumping on the current bandwagon and buying in lots of items because they seem to be popular sellers can make you a fortune or it can get you into deep trouble. If you don't know the market or the product you may find yourself stuck with that closet, basement, garage, or storage unit full of once popular, but now hard to sell, items,
Buying "what I like" can be a problem too. Not everyone will like what you like. You may be tempted to pay more than something is really worth because you like it. And you may be less eager to part with it, especially at a loss if it doesn't sell quickly. The key is always to resell things the customer likes -- and wants! You may like cats so you might want to start a store that specializes in selling items with pictures of cats on them. But remember, there are people who like dogs and birds too. Selling items with pictures of a variety of pets may open you to a larger market.
And, while you are looking for wholesale suppliers don't overlook the many sources of used, or [i]pre-owned[/i], items. There is good money to be made from carefully purchased yard-sale items, selected items picked up at estate sales and flea markets, and treasures found at thrift stores. For nearly two years we maintained Power Seller status on eBay selling one particular product line purchased entirely through our local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores.
For some purchasing new merchandise is the only way to go. For others selling used items offers an excellent way to stock their store. The key is to figure out what works best for you and then work that plan. Finding what works well for you may take a little time but the results prove the effort well worth while!