How to Make Profit Online Flipping Clothes in Kenya: Starting a Successful Mitumba Business

Last Updated on 23 February 2020 by Gertrude

Clothes Flipping is an art quite learnt by Sophia Amoruso of the Girl Boss Brand. She started her business by ‘hunting’ antique and thrift stores for clothing.

Before she knew it she became rich selling clothes from her home. In this article, we will address the most frequently asked questions about clothes flipping in Kenya or starting a mitumba business.

Some of the questions include and aren’t limited to the following:

Do you know how to sell thrift store clothes for a profit?

Do you know how to scour the Gikomba or any other second-hand markets for thrift clothes?

How much will a bale of mitumba cost? Is selling second hands profitable?

And how does a Kenyan start a second-hand clothing business?

Clothes make a considerable, tidy profit online because people wear clothes on a daily basis.

Customers looking for clothes ideas are either tired of their closets or just want to expand their wardrobes.

Flipping clothes is a profitable way of creating a profit from the comfort of your home. There are other products you can flip for a profit, read here. 

For you to run a profitable $500 or more store flipping clothes, there are some tips to take into consideration and they include:

How to Become a Sucess Selling Second-Hand Clothing in Kenya

  1. Use social media 

Do you know you have free marketing media with your Facebook following? You have 1000 friends who you do nothing with. Start showing them your style sense by either taking photos of clothes you love or showing your sense of style through videos. You can create a dedicated YouTube channel to help expand your brand. Take your viewers or followers around Muthurwa Market or Gikomba, be careful, there are so many muggers and pickpockets around these areas. Then come back and show them how you style the pieces of clothing you ‘found’. To get more viewers, learn beginner sewing and create accessories for the clothes. Many YouTubers forget about accessorising their clothes. It could be with scarves, clutches, headbands, handbags the choice of accessory is entirely yours. 

2. Show the style on You. know how to properly display clothes 

Did you know to learn a profitable business selling clothes, you have to know how to display your clothes either on you or a mannequin? Mannequin and dress forms come in various shapes and sizes, select cheap ones. 

3. Know how to take great photos with your smartphone 

There are free lessons on how to use your smartphone to take captivating photos. Photos will be the centre of your clothing store. You can take the smartphone course on Udemy here. Udemy courses are quite cheap and sometimes go for $10/1000 shillings, a measly sum for the value. Plus you get all the information in one place unlike on YouTube where information gets scattered in various mediums. 

4. Have a website for credibility and authenticity 

For you to find success with clothes flipping, have a website. Operating an online business demands for a website to help increase your credibility. Plus customers know where to find you in case their clothes don’t fit them or they want to make a purchase through your store. Don’t rely on platforms only. Platforms die all the time, unlike your website. 

5. If hiring, mark up the prices

If you are going to hire your clothes, ensure to mark up the prices. For example, you cannot hire an expensive Harry Potter or Black Panther costume for $10 a day yet it cost you $1000 to purchase. Or you cannot hire your wedding gown for cheaps yet it holds a special place in your heart. Your customers will not return the gown or costume in its original condition. Know the value of your costume/gown then price it accordingly. 

6. Think big, wide and broad

Don’t start clothes flipping store to remain clothes flipper forever. Expand your business through creating an e-commerce store or online boutique. Or become a consultant for other women or men wanting to create a flipping business online. Start small with a big vision in your mind. 

7. Set your price right 

Always know and value your worth. A lot of online flip stores don’t know the value of their products. Something Sophia attests to in her book, the antique store where she bought a cool jacket for $5 dollars then sold it for $1000 of dollars didn’t know the value of the product. If it’s a rare score, always ask online. If it belongs to a brand, check online if they have the same product in their store now using eBay. eBay is great e-commerce for getting the prices of antiques right. If you are not sure, add a hire button in your website to help maximise on the profit. 

8. Source for unique clothing pieces 

There is no need of beginning flipping if you will flip clothes everyone else already has. It’s better to take your time to select the most unique items of clothing. Don’t get limited. 

9. Beware of wear and tear. Clothes have to be in top shape 

Before selling flipped clothes online, check whether the clothes are in top shape. That the tear can be repaired or is minimal. And how to repair the hole using embroidery or 

10. Know your target market. Frugals, minimalists couponers or cheapskates 

Clothes flipping are for frugal people, minimalists, couponers and cheapskates, who would do anything to get beautiful clothes at a minimum price. Know where to find them online and on YouTube, see what they buy and from where and why. When you know your target market and their purchasing trends, you help fill the gap and that’s how you make money. 

11. Find online antique appraisers 

It’s easy to get conned by online antique appraisers, find a genuine one or one recommended from a Facebook group. Antique appraisers are great for helping you determine the price of unique items you score on the internet or thrift clothing stores. Be sharp like Sophia, value your business. 

12. Love fashion

You cannot do clothes flipping business without loving fashion. That’s near impossible. You have to know the trends of fashion, what’s in and out or what’s making a comeback. Introduce your unique sense of trends to help you stand out. t’s important to always start a business from passion. Check these other passion businesses you can start online in Kenya. 

13. Have patience and resilience

Have patience and resilience. The fashion world is over-saturated with everyone wanting to stand out. Keep moving and success will follow. Don’t expect overnight success even with flipping. To make a passive income, you have to wait and keep changing with the trends. Develop a business mindset like what this article says. Be in flipping clothes or fashion for the long haul. Develop a strong heart and mind that everything will work out. 

14. Develop a Brand and Brand Story 

Don’t be an online clothes flip store that fades as fast as humans blink. What’s your brand’s mission/vision? Where do you see yourself at the end of the year and in five years? Though Sophia’s business went bankrupt, she uses her brand Girl Boss to influence. Choose a name, logo and tagline for your business. Mind your business packaging. On the packaging include your brand, is it, S.M, like what Sonal has done? Don’t be fooled, developing a brand isn’t for the luxury and wealthy only, it starts from you. And remember the brand goes beyond the outside, how do you treat your customers? How do you show up? Are you consistent in your marketing story? Are changing with the trends? If you want to develop a strong story about your brand, kindly, read this branding article. It’s broken down for you so you understand to have a brand flow. 

15. Have a niche

Aim to be different. If you like eclectic, colourful and bold, go for it. Find a theme and go all in. don’t do general clothes flipping store. Ask yourself what you value and love then combine with your unique style to help you stand out. 

16. How much does a Bale of Mitumba cost? 

To flip clothes, you don’t need a whole bale. So the start-up cost is a lot lower. Show the clothes on yourself. You may need $10 to begin. But if you want to go big, I have seen mitumba bales ranging from 10,000 shillings to 50,000 or more depending on the quality of the clothes. 

It’s easy to forget how to create a branding story with your online clothes flipping store.

To make your store memorable and unforgettable, do what Sophia Amoruso did and does.

After the collapse of her online store, she never stopped influencing by writing her book and her book’s rights being bought by Netflix.

Be memorable. Remember, it’s easy to fade away like an Instagram photo in an oversaturated hashtag, aim to stand up by following the above steps. 

Would you love to know how to run a successful online boutique in Kenya as a lady or a gentleman?

Follow this step by step guide to help you create an online boutique using dropshipping.

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Online Businesses / Work in Kenya