thredUP Mystery Box Review
As a second-hand clothing reseller, I’m always looking at where to get better and cheaper items to sell on Poshmark. One way is to purchase mystery or rescue boxes. I tried out a thredUP mystery box recently and want to share my experience and what I received in this review of my thredUP mystery box.
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***If you don’t have a Poshmark account, you can receive a free $10 bonus when you sign up with my code SFGIRL2015. The $10 bonus is a limited-time promotion available 6/2019. The typical promotion is $5.***
***If you don’t have a thredUP account, you can sign up for a thredUP account and receive $10 to spend towards inventory to resell or something for yourself.
What’s a mystery box?
A mystery box is a box of items where you don’t know the contents in advance. It’s like a grab bag where everything inside is a surprise. These boxes are sold at a discount often because the seller wants to get rid of lots of items quickly.
It’s not worth it for sellers to list each item individually. Maybe they don’t have the time or space for that. Offering mystery boxes is an easy way to get rid of the items without much hassle.
On Poshmark, you’ll commonly find people selling mystery boxes with 5 items for $25 or 3 items for $30 depending on what the items are. You can find mystery boxes on other platforms like eBay and on liquidations websites too.
You might be wondering why some people get mystery boxes. After all, wouldn’t you want to know what you’re getting before you buy it? Here are some of the pros and cons:
You acquire items cheaply so that you can resell them and make a profit.
The items come to you in the mail. This is great for people who can’t leave their home to source items.
You can get clothing brands that you normally wouldn’t find in your area.
If you find someone that sells you a great mystery box, you can purchase from them again and again for a consistent source for inventory.
Some people like surprises. If you like surprises, then you may find mystery boxes fulfilling that way.
You end up with things that aren’t resellable. Clothes may be from brands that have no resale value. They may have stains or holes in them.
You lose money. It may not be worth your time and energy to try to resell the items you receive and you ultimately lose money on the mystery box.
thredUP mystery box selection
After hearing more and more about mystery boxes recently, I wanted to try one out. My friend recommended I sign up for thredUP, and soon after, I received an email that they had mystery boxes for sale.
thredUP calls these rescue boxes. As of this writing, they’re not available. The rescue box site redirects to the homepage.
They’re only available at certain times when the company restocks them. It’s worth checking from time to time or signing up for email notifications if you’re interested in purchasing one.
There were many options for type of clothing and how many to purchase. I chose a box of 50 pieces of mixed women’s clothing in sizes M/L.
I actually wanted the plus-size box because I heard that plus-size clothing sells well, but it was sold out. I decided on the M/L clothing because those are common sizes for a lot of women. I wanted to give myself the best chance to resell these items.
The box cost $140 at full price. Because of the sale, I ended up paying $119 with free shipping. I wasn’t able to use my $10 sign-up credit towards the mystery box. That came out to $2.38 per item.
What I received
I’m trying out ads and video content on FP2P. If you prefer to see a 5-minute video of what I received rather than reading them, take a look at the video below.
I really liked 6/50 items or 12% of the items. That’s not a very high percentage in my opinion. These are items that are in style and that I think will resell for a profit. It didn’t matter to me if I personally liked them or would wear them.
White House Black Market skirt
TYR reversible swimsuit new with tags
Two by Vince Camuto vest
M2 by Mocha Apparel romper new with tags
Lularoe long open sweater
Talbots floral print dress (petite size)
I received items from many other brands of items that I would consider passes. These are things I would pass in the thrift store. I didn’t care for the brand or don’t think the item will sell well because of something about it like it’s style or condition.
These are the rest of the brands I received that I would pass on:
Aina Be or Alna Be
A New Day (Target brand)
Apt. 9 x2
Christopher & Banks
Excuse me I have to go be Awesome
Lauren Ralph Lauren x2
New York & Company x2
No brand/Illegible brand x3
The Balance Collection
I received a variety of items such as tanks, blouses, sweaters, pants, dresses, and skirts. I’m glad I received mostly tops and dresses. I only received two pairs of pants (besides gym pants), which is fine by me because I don’t care to sell pants.
My impression of the mystery box
As a reseller, this box was a disappointment. Most of the items in the box are not worth reselling. The more I look through the items and inspect them, the more disappointed I am with them.
First of all, I had high hopes for the box but was prepared for the worst. I knew I wouldn’t be getting a lot of great brands and styles. If the items were great brands for resale, they would have sold as individual pieces on the thredUP site. They wouldn’t be in a mystery box.
I think the impression that a lot of people have about mystery boxes on thredUP and elsewhere is that they’re composed of rejects. They’re the things that didn’t sell individually.
They are boxed up to send to you at low prices so the person or company can get rid of stale items and recoup some of their money. That’s not always the case, but I suspect that is the case here.
Have you ever been to a second-hand store like Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange? These stores pride themselves on being fashion forward. They buy things that are in style and expect to resell those items for a profit.
Those shops have half-off racks. Sometimes the items are damaged with stains and holes. Sometimes they’re decent clothes that just haven’t sold for one reason or another but are still from good resellable brands. I was hoping the box would be like those half-off racks at Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange.
I wasn’t expecting to receive in-demand brands like For Love & Lemons, Lululemon, or rag & bone. But I was hoping to receive mall brands that can resell reasonably well like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, or LOFT.
Most of the brands I received are lower end than that. I wouldn’t expect to see most of the brands I received at stores like Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange.
The other thing is that several of the items are out of style. Yes, there is a buyer out there for everything. I just don’t want to keep an item listed for a year or two waiting for that seller to come and buy it for a few dollars.
This leaves me wondering what employees thredUP had working for them that they purchased these items to resell in the first place. If their goal is to resell things for a profit, most of these clothes don’t cut it.
That said, most of the items came in decent condition. There are some items with pills here and there. There are some with small marks, stains, or holes. One sweater was pretty but obviously missing a button. I would say that all the items are in good or fair condition and some were even new with tags.
As a shopper (not a reseller), the box was a decent deal. If a person is on a low budget and not too picky about her clothing, she could end up with many new items for her own wardrobe. All of the items were in wearable conditions. A little more than $2 an item is reasonable if you’re not concerned about the latest brands or being in style.
I’m thinking about listing 36 of the items (72%) and donating 14 of them (28%) to the thrift store. I plan to list most of the items for $5-10 and offer a bundle deal. I may change my mind on this though and just donate everything but the 6 items I really liked.
It remains to be seen if I’ll make my money back on the box, much less make a profit from it. That’s a difficult pill to swallow given the amount of time and energy it takes to sell the clothes, including sorting, inspecting, photographing, packaging, and shipping them.
If I’m putting that much time into 36 items, I want to see a better return than just making my money back. Because I have the ability to go out and shop, my time and money would’ve been better spent out and about shopping for myself at thrift stores. I have my fingers crossed that I make more profit than the cost of a package of ramen noodles!
The other thing I want to point out as a reseller is that my Poshmark closet (where I primarily sell) reflects my business and style. I sell quality items from on-trend brands that hopefully have buyers returning knowing the kind of items they can expect from me.
I don’t want to fill my closet with low-value brands and items that don’t match the vision I have for my business and closet. That’s why I’m passing on putting most of the items up on Poshmark.
There you have my honest opinion about the thredUP mystery box I received. I’m disappointed but glad to have tried it. You never know about a new opportunity for sourcing until you try it at least once.
This could have turned out to be a great opportunity to get new inventory for me. I also got to share what I received and my impressions with you.
You might be surprised to find that I’m still willing to buy mystery boxes. There’s a lot of variety in mystery boxes out there in terms of who’s selling them, what they’re selling, the price, and the quality of the goods.
Some people have given good reviews of thredUP mystery boxes, particularly those for purses, denim, and shoes. I don’t plan to buy any thredUP clothes mystery boxes in the future. I’ll stick to buying individual clothing items that I like from them.
I’m more likely to try mystery boxes from another company or individual reseller. I want to find one that I can return to again and again for easy and inexpensive sourcing.
Depending on how things go, I may update this post in the future to let you know how I did with selling the mystery box items. As for now, I’ll be spending the rest of this week listing and trying to get these items sold.
Have you purchased mystery boxes before? What did you like or not like about yours? What recommendations do you have for picking a good box?
By the way, I created this handout on 200+ top-selling brands to know to help you find the best thrifted items so you can make more sales. Click on the button below to grab your copy!