This Story happened 2 years ago, Snapchat Spectacles came to NYC on November 21, 2016. From Nov 21-December 25 I essentially skipped college and was down in the city every single day (only going back to school to take my Final exams).
I had been following the Specs since Business Insider covered their reveal in September. I thought they’d be a cool piece of hardware to own, so I planned to buy a pair.
I never thought about reselling them until I saw this article on the day the Spectacles Bot dropped in Venice for only 24 Hours. It says the Spectacles were selling for ~$1k on eBay (after buying for $130). I wanted to do some traveling after I graduated college, so I felt like this would be an easy way to make $500-$600 bucks by getting my hands on 2 (the max you can buy) when the SnapBot landed in my city.
From that moment on, I followed the Spectacles relentlessly on their Twitter account, checking it multiple times a day, everyday. You have to understand, $500–600 for a college student with no degree is 70 hours at a $9/hr Craigslist job- like 2 weeks of work!
And then it happened:
On Monday Nov 21, the 7th Snapbot Landing came to NYC. This is right on 5th Ave (Apple 5th Ave is the Glass Box on the right). Specs were only 1.5 weeks old so I knew they could still fetch a pretty penny on eBay. I saw it when I woke up, bought a 3 hr bus ticket from Albany, NY and headed down South.
On the way down, I listed 1 pair of Snapchat Spectacles on eBay to see what people would pay. It sold within 15 minutes.
So I had an item to ship out, but no item. I followed the Spectacles chatter on Twitter and it turns out the Snapbot had ran out of Spectacles for the day while I was still on the bus down to the city. I was really bummed, but managed to hit up some people on Twitter and buy one from a kid for $350 as he walked out of the store: SUCCESS!
And since I was outside the store, I asked the doorman where they were moving the SnapBot to next (remember, the Vending Machine only stays in one place for 24 hours, or until it runs out of supply, and then they ship it to a new city). And he said that the Store was staying there until Christmas- Oh my god what a lucky break!
I bought an Airbnb and got in line the next day at 9 AM for a 4 PM open. It was freezing but I wanted to get 2 more pairs of Spectacles. I was number 50 in line, so I felt I had a good shot to get in once they opened the doors (bc the Store would only stay open until 10 PM, and they only moved 1 person every 5 minutes).
As a joke, I tweeted out that I was selling my spot in line to anyone that would pay me $150. The official Spectacles account Retweeted it and I allowed a Group of 3 to stand with me for $300.
2 Hours before the Store opened at 4 PM, the Snap Team set up barricades around the line and handed out wristbands. This was to prove that you were in line, so they could let you in where your time came.
A few minutes before I went in, I sold my wristband to some dude for $500 + one pair of his Spectacles. You can buy a max of 2 per day, so he kept one and gave the other to me. All in all, I made $800 + a pair of Spectacles (Value $400 at the time), just for waiting in line. I knew I was on to something.
I basically spent the next month in the city flipping Spectacles online all day. I started out by paying people on craigslist $100 a day to wait in line with me. That way I was able to get 6 units per day as opposed to only 2.
Then in the first week of December my eBay account was suspended for 5 days and they removed all my listings.
I had to find another avenue to sell, so I set up an Amazon Seller Account and started to sell from there.
When the Craigslist dudes became too expensive, I started to buy from the Asian resellers on the Street. These guys had large numbers of units and very good prices, so I bought a lot from them. It also helped that I can speak Chinese, because they could not speak English. I was able to negotiate deals with them- it was a lot of fun!
Between eBay and Amazon, I was pumping out a ton of units per day, and the only limit I had was the amount of cash I could withdraw from an ATM and buy from the Asian reseller. At first I was limited to only withdrawing $500 a day per card because none of my banks were in NYC, but then I discovered I could do a Debit Card Cash Advance from almost any bank in the city and get out as much money as I had in my Checking Account.
By the end, I had turned my $12k life savings into $27k in only a month, doing $50k in sales in that time period.
I went on to be the #1 Spectacles Seller in the World. Didn’t expect that when I bought my first bus ticket down into the city, though.
Why this worked?
- I bought a ticket the first day and went down to the city. I ‘got in the game’.
- NYC was the only place anyone in the US could buy Spectacles from. Resellers had a Monopoly on the Supply.
- The Store stayed open more than their usual 1 day.
- I can Speak Chinese so I was able to buy massive quantities at low cost.
- I discovered that I could do a debit card cash advance and multiply my daily cash withdrawal limit by 30x. (I could buy 30x more units per day).
- Spectacles were an extremely hot tech item, plus it was Xmas time.
- I enrolled in the ‘eBay Selling Manager Pro’ and accidentally discovered it gave me instant access to my PayPal funds. Meaning I didn’t have to wait the standard 3–4 days for the item to arrive and for the funds to be ‘freed’.
- Item was small and it could fit in the cheap Priority Mail Bubble Mailers. $6.80 anywhere in the US in 2–3 days.
- Wholesalers were unable to buy direct from Snap at well-below-MSRP prices. Which means they were unable to sell to retailers (Walmart) at below-MSRP prices. Which means retailers were unable to sell at-MSRP prices. So resellers like me were able to sell at well-above-MSRP prices.
- I plowed every single dollar I had made in my 22-year lifetime into this. Gotta have money to make money.And that’s how I sold $50,000 of Product in 1 Month as a Full-Time College Student.
And that’s how I sold $50,000 of Product in 1 Month as a Full-Time College Student.