NORTH HAVEN -- Melanie Heltke is cashing in on the online resale trend. Her side hustle us booming. She has been using the Mercari app for the last 4 years, that first year, she says, she made an extra $55k.
"I'm a shopper, I love to shop — and I love a bargain! Shopping with my girlfriend we used to come in with bags and bags and bags and it was just so much fun! Then we started to research our bags, and we were like wait a minute- Let’s throw them online!"
Heltke uses her passion for shopping thrift and consignment shops, estate and tag sales, combing through Goodwills and Savers, to uncover gently used, often high-end treasures to make extra money. She cleans her finds up and sells them online.
She's also purged her home of unwanted items, decluttering, and getting rid of fine items she just no longer needs or uses.
Heltke successful side-hustle with Mercari is now allowing her to make hundreds of extra dollars a month outside of her day job as a realtor.
While there are many new apps and online marketplaces to sell, Heltke prefers Mercari.
On the site, 150,000 new items are posted each day and over 45 million downloads in the U.S. to date. They tout taking the hassle of meeting up with strangers locally out of the selling process and makes it as simple as snapping a picture on your phone. Heltke's storefront within the marketplace is called Melanie's Once Again.
" I've been on Mercari for almost 4 years now and I have found I’ve noticed a lot more items, a lot more people, it is getting popular, which is great it just opens up the whole shop for everybody."
She's right, online consignment is booming.
Thred Up, another consignment service online, released a 2019 report with Global Data which found the secondhand market now valued at $24 billion and is estimated to reach $51 billion in the next five years. The millennial and boomer age groups are into thrifting the most. Also there is an increasing desire in shoppers to reduce their carbon footprint through buying second hand.