These days, it's increasingly common for people to look for alternate means of income, either in addition to their regular employment, to hold them over in between jobs or as a means to finally go into business for themselves and no longer be at the mercy of an employer. One of the entrepreneurship pools that has been growing steadily over the last decade is the liquidation industry and more specifically, the practice of buying discarded or overstocked consumer goods for cheap and reselling them for profit.
Gabriela Viramontes of Huntington Park, CA, stumbled into the liquidation industry in 2012 and it changed her life in ways she never imagined. Her inspiring sheds light on the possibilities the industry presents and how to take a home-based business to a whole new level.
Gabriela started her professional career as a 5th grade teacher, a path she loved but unfortunately had to put on hold when her mother fell ill. At her mother's bedside, she began to make bracelets and other jewelry items to pass the time. Demonstrating a natural talent for all things crafty, friends began to ask where they could buy her creations, which she began to sell out of her home. Shortly after, a friend approached her with the idea of starting a resale business and Gaby came on as a partner. The duo visited Los Angeles based wholesale liquidator Via Trading on a friend's recommendation and purchased their first box of cosmetics. Gaby's business partner pulled out shortly thereafter, leaving Gaby to figure out how to sell through her first lot on her own.
Always a problem solver, Gaby decided to tap into the customer base that was at her fingertips: her seven sisters. Her sisters were looking to save money on common everyday items like drugstore cosmetics and began to purchase directly from Gaby on a regular basis. Over the next few weeks, neighbors and locals got word of Gaby's deals and became customers. Whatever she didn't manage to sell to her sisters and acquaintances, she would clear at a yard sale on the weekends. Certain towns like the one where Gaby lives allow a limited number of yard sales per household in a given time period. To circumvent this restriction, Gaby partnered up with various neighbors and held her yard sale on their front lawns until she was allowed to have one in her yard again. "It became tiring to move boxes from place to place so I decided to bring the business back into my house," she says.
A few months after she settled into selling cosmetics successfully, her Account Manager at Via Trading recommend that she try a pallet of Christmas merchandise. "I was really nervous," recalls Gaby. "I knew I could sell makeup to my sisters but I had no idea how the Christmas items would do." She took a risk, and it paid off. Her sisters purchased most of her first Christmas pallet and the rest was bought off by neighbors who had since learned of her growing business. "I'm really glad he pushed me into a pallet or I would never have branched out from cosmetics," she says. Over the last year, Gaby's inventory has expanded to include seasonal items, home decor, dollar store items and of course, cosmetics. Her clientele has increased to the three+ blocks that surround her home and her sisters are still avid customers, as are her sisters' coworkers and neighborhood families and friends.
Gaby now literally sells out of her home. "There are boxes of merchandise in the living room. I display the items on tables and walls each day and people come in and pick what they want!" A garage or storage space makes this kind of business model easier to manage but Gaby is thrilled that the entire neighborhood now knows she always has deals on every-day household items and they can just knock on the door to see what's new. "I live by this motto," says Gaby with a smile: "It's easier to shop when the shop comes to you!" Now that she's established in her neighborhood, her customers see tremendous value in just walking across the street to pick up what they need instead of driving down to the store and paying more for similar items.
As the word spreads, Gaby's business is thriving and she is getting increasingly busier. "Years ago, I'd pick stuff up from the street, fix it up and then resell it," she says. "I never thought it would turn into this!" We asked Gaby if she'd consider setting up a flea market stand to take her business to the next level. "There's too much competition at flea markets," she responded. "I prefer doing this, maintaining my own hours, hanging out at home and letting the customers come to me. The next step is opening a store in my garage. I even have the name for it and everything!" Gaby's store is in the works for 2014 and beyond but in the meantime, check her out on Facebook at Gaby's Deals.