Full time side hustle selling vintage designer purses

Sometimes Nica Yusay’s online vintage purse shop, FashioNica, sells out so fast that she thinks there’s a problem with her website.

A lifelong thrifting enthusiast, Yusai developed a knack for finding high-end purses at a fraction of their retail value from a young age. She amassed her own collection over the years, but never thought she could make money from her skills – until her fiancé suggested she turn it into a business.

In January 2021, Yusai took the leap, spending $15,000 on luxury purses that she intended to resell on sites like Poshmark and Depop. She also posted a TikTok video about negotiating prices with customers that went viral: Yusai says she gained 10,000 followers almost immediately. The video already has nearly three million views.

After six months of growing interest, Yusai created a Shopify website for FashioNica. By the end of the year, she had made $300,000 from the side hustle—enough to convince her to quit her $82,000-a-year salary as digital marketing brand manager for Pieology Pizzeria in February and pursue FashioNica full-time from home in California.

The Fenti-toting influencer — who has 137,000 followers on Instagram and 115,000 on TikTok — says the jump was “extremely scary,” especially considering how much she spent on initial inventory. “I think it comes from [growing up in] single parent household. I felt financially insecure,” Yusai told CNBC Make It. “It’s not a stable job by any means. If you don’t sell even one bag, you’ve made zero dollars that week.”

FashioNica has brought in roughly $1 million in revenue since the start of 2022, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It. The business earns up to $55,000 on each drop.

Here’s how Yusai runs his six-figure business and where he plans to take it next:

Regulated routine

Yusay’s secret to sustained sales is a strict schedule. She usually works six days a week, all of which lead to “drops” when she releases a new batch of 20 to 30 designer bags on Wednesdays at 7pm PT. The bags sell for anywhere from $170 to nearly $19,000 each.

Drops can sell out within two minutes, Yusai says—and getting to that point takes nearly a week of preparation.

“You’d think it would be easier once you started working full-time instead of having two jobs. But no, I’m so hard on myself,” Yusai says. “If I wasn’t super dedicated, this business wouldn’t be where it is today.”

On a typical Monday, Yusai decides which bags will be included in the upcoming giveaway. She spends hours photographing them for her Shopify website and social media accounts. On Tuesday, she posts the photos and writes product descriptions.

Wednesday is spent preparing for the launch and marketing the bags on Instagram Live. Yusai spends Thursdays in thrift stores and with her dealers, stocking up on unique bags. Fridays are dedicated to sending tags and managing her Instagram inbox.

Nika Yusai’s company, FashioNica, makes $55,000 a week selling luxury designer handbags.

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On Saturday, Yusai packs and ships the orders. I usually take Sundays off.

In March, Yusai hired her mother and sister to help her with the delivery process – helping her take some of her Saturday time back. But she says she doesn’t plan to use the extra vacation time.

“I thought, ‘If I have to hire my mom and sister, for example, and have them deliver my orders, I’ll make a whole day,'” Yusai says. “A full day might mean I can add an extra five, maybe even 10 bags to my inventory for next fall.”

Selling your way up in a cruel industry

The used luxury goods market is estimated to be worth $33 billion in 2021, according to management consulting firm Bain & Company. One popular purveyor of luxury resale goods, The RealReal, reported almost $1.5 billion in sales in 2021.

Yusai’s plan to stay relevant in such a big cutthroat industry: Keep hustling and use her well-trained eye to find purses that will stand out from the crowd. She says she looks for bag styles that have stood the test of time: Some of the items in her inventory are up to 30 years old.

Yusai employs his mother, sister and a part-time photographer. Her seller also gets a portion of her profits, depending on how many bags he delivers.

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