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When we’re out thrifting, we always meet people who want to talk to us. If they were people who knew us from the blog (or even just smelled normal) we’d be totally fine with it…but they’re not. We were out sourcing about a year ago when a lady cornered us and started talking about her reselling business. It turns out that she sold nothing but plush and baby blankets. Her main customers were people who were trying to replace a lost blanket for their kids and she had OVER $70,000 IN SALES LAST YEAR!
When I tried to match pace with her and tell her about a book we had recently sold for $550, she one upped me and said she had just sold a limited edition Valentines Hidden Mickey teddy bear for $1,100. Ouch. Turns out, there is something to be learned from everyone! I’ll admit that I spent a few hours digging through plush after this encounter – but never found anything quite that good.
Plush is one of my least favorite things to sell. Possibly gross to dig through, slow to sell, bulky to store, and low profit margins. At least, that’s what I tell myself. However, in order to give you a more complete picture, I’ll let you know that I personally know a man who has 60k worth of sales a year just from stuffed animals. While we don’t actually love plush, we are familiar enough with the game to give you some specifics on how to be successful.
Disney Store Plush
Plush from The Disney Store is possibly the most common profitable find in the plush section. If you see the Disney tag on a character you don’t recognize (such as the one on the right), grab it in the hopes that it’s rare!
For Disney plush, condition is extremely important and the most valuable pieces still have the original tags.
Ironically, the only Disney plush we regularly avoid are Mickey and Minnie. Unless they are very large, we put the poor mice back for someone else to love.
Hidden Mickey Bears
idden Mickeys bears are possibly the worst kept secret of the BOLO world. If you’re unsure how to recognize them, take a look at the one on the left. The face forms the outline of Mickey’s head (as do the paws on older versions). Many sellers have been over the moon about finding a Hidden Mickey, only to find out that the bear they have is only worth $20. The sold Hidden Mickeys currently on eBay range from around $10 to almost $1,000. So what makes them valuable?
The most valuable bears:
- Are the pastel editions from 2003-2005
- Are a special holiday edition (such as valentines)
- Are the larger version (Disney bears come in 12” and 17” versions)
The other phrase that you’ll see all the time on eBay in relation to Hidden Mickeys is “Pre-Duffy.” Pre-Duffy bears are often vintage and are typically more valuable. Look for a tag that says “Duffy” on the bear and, if you don’t find one, you might be in luck!
Hello Kitty pieces, particularly older ones or ones made in Japan, are excellent sellers on eBay. The one on the left was actually a promotional piece from Godiva Chocolates. Why anyone wanted it, we’re not sure… but we picked it up on a whim after checking out the other sold listings for Hello Kitty plush. a lot of gigantic plush things are worth selling just because of the size, but especially if they are a specific character. Look up any large (we’re talking like 2.5+ feet) plush you find!
Cabbage Patch Dolls
Although Xavier Roberts had been producing dolls for several years, it was not until 1982 that the first dolls with the Cabbage Patch name were on the market. Recognizable by the distinctive cloth bodies and round heads, Cabbage Patch dolls come in many different styles (including soft face models). Since people often look for dolls that look similar to their kids, unusual combinations (such as red hair and blue eyes) are the most unusual and sell the best. Look for older dolls with the Xavier Roberts Signature and year on the rump. Condition matters!
My Little Pony
My Little Pony is not new, but its popularity has grown exponentially within the past couple years. This growth has created a huge demand in older, pre-boom memorabilia. Small plush hold their value well, but large plush can be worth hundreds of dollars! Be sure to research the name of the pony you find, as fans are often looking for their favorite character.
Specific Dog Breeds
We have known several people that believe they have discovered the secret of life: Weiner Dogs (or Corgi’s, Huskies, etc.). As such, they need Weiner Dog bumper stickers, stuffed animals, sheets, etc. So if you can find a stuffed dog/cat with a specific breed, you can market it and sell it to a person who will love everything about it!
Care Bears, especially older versions, can be great sellers on eBay. We often save Care Bears until we have sets of 2-3 similar bears and sell them together. Newer bears are often of much lower quality and value. Many of our Care Bear buyers are young parents who simply want to find their new kids the same bear they had when they were young. Find a bear’s specific name and model before listing it on eBay.
Kid’s Show Characters
Characters from children’s shows are consistent and high profit sellers for us. Most of the animals in pre-owned condition are purchased by parents trying to calm an irate toddler who has lost a similar animal. Look for animals from Barney, Sesame Street, Teletubbies, etc. The bigger the better!
TYPES OF PLUSH TO AVOID:
It should go without saying that the majority of plush at thrift stores are worth next to nothing on eBay. We don’t bother going through small plush, avoid anything with a brand/company name on it, and throw back all promotional items eg. from Kohls Cares. Even if plush like these are a good character they are so common and cheaply made that it is very difficult to sell them for enough to make it worth it.
INTENTIONAL SOURCING: THE BEST PLUSH BRANDS
As with everything, brand matters when it comes to plush. Brands are harder to find than on clothing, but if you get used to checking enough materials/brand tags on plush butts, you’ll get pretty quick at it! Also, many of these can be sourced intentionally on Facebook Marketplace, at Antique Malls, eBay auctions, etc.
- Dan Dee
- Beatrix Potter
- Build A Bear
BEANIE BABIES ON EBAY: A SPECIAL CASE
If there is any type of stuffed animal that has more mystique and misinformation surrounding it than Beanie Babies, we have yet to find it. People are still holding onto the idea from 10 years ago that they can retire on their Beanie Baby collection. If you have this belief, I hope you’ve priced out each piece in your collection because we have yet to meet a single person who has found a valuable beanie baby. The low cost of the majority of them makes very few experienced resellers willing to spend time on them. We often hear squeals of excitement, however, when new sellers find a “rare” bear such as a Princes Dianna Bear with an error and list it for $5,000…along with the other 966 “Rare” Princess Dianna bears with errors on eBay….Take a look at the listings below before we dive into what makes Beanie Babies valuable and whether or not you should jump in….
Seems, appealing right?
Well check this out:
Sorry to say, but your beanie babies collection probably isn’t worth much. There are some high dollar items that have sold, but almost every one is a suspicious listing. If you see some freakishly high sales, it’s safe to assume that people are simply using the sale to launder money or transfer funds. While I’m not saying that there aren’t good finds out there, it has become necessary to have your beanie babies authenticated if you want any real money for them.
Now that you’ve acquired some plush, let’s get it listed! Here are a few tips that will ensure a faster and pricier sale:
- Use a common item to give scale to your pictures. If you are using a white background, it can be hard for people to tell how big your plush is. We have a Coke can near by that we stick in at least one picture so people have a reference point.
- Take great pictures. Dark and cluttered pictures always give the impression that your plush is not clean.
- Mention your hygiene. We always mention in our description that buying used plush for your kids or collection can be scary, but we sell only clean plush with no smells/stains/etc. If you need to clean any plush you find, that guide is here.
While there is always more to learn, that’s enough for now! Go make money!