Seller Success: 4 Questions with a Million Dollar Retail Arbitrage seller
November 10, 2019
If you looked at Nathan’s Jackson’s Amazon sales numbers, you would probably assume he manages a large company. He’s done more than $1 million in sales since he first started in Spring 2017, a huge feat for even any startup.
What’s more surprising though, is his inventory. In two years, he’s sold more than 10,000 bras.
Nathan sat down with me to answer a few questions about retail arbitrage, his rapidly growing Facebook group, and why he’s recognized in Kohl’s stores all around Florida.
How did you get started selling on Amazon? It’s a big move from your previous career.
My wife Alysha and I were teachers in Florida. It was going OK, but teachers don’t make a lot of money here and we wanted to start a family. Running the numbers, we realized we would qualify for food stamps if my wife quit working and we relied solely on my teaching salary. We knew we had to find something else because it just wasn’t working.
I looked at a bunch of ideas, but Amazon seemed the most promising. I appreciated the ability to scale it, particularly with retail arbitrage. I also liked how little upfront investment and risk were involved -- if didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be out a bunch of money. To be honest, I started by scanning books at Goodwill. My wife was skeptical; she didn’t think people would buy used old clearance books for more than we bought them for. I started with $100 flipped my money a few times. Then we moved into the more mainstream retail arbitrage like at Walmart and other big box stores.
What was the biggest turning point for you?
Kohls was a game-changer for our retail arbitrage business.
The shift happened early on. When I first started I would wake up early on Saturday and go to 6 or 7 different Walmarts. I would probably spend $50-$100 at each, but it would take a full day. At this point, I was still a full-time teacher, so I knew I had to have a business that worked at scale. One day at Kohl’s, I figured out I could spend an hour in the bra section and find $500 worth product without too much difficulty.
It’s just exploded since then. At this point I buy much stuff, I’m known as the bra guy around Orlando.
How are you scaling your Amazon business now?
We’ve actually shifted our focus and are happy where we’re at. We’re not trying to be the next billionaire couple. We became foster parents 7 months ago, and that has become our “why”. I typically work 20-30 hours per week. We don’t care how much money we make, we just want to make enough to stay at home with the kids. We’re doing 6 figures, and that is enough right now.
How do you spread out your risk?
We’re expanding to other major brands that were previously restricted to us like Nike, Under Armor and Adidas. I think it’s important to always keep tabs on opportunities, new stores, and new categories. Bras are great, but they did go away for some reason, there are plenty of other places we could get inventory.