A 44-year-old mom of 3 made $735,000 last year from a reselling business she launched using just the clothes in her closet
- Mona Mejia, 44, was a stay-at-home mom when she began reselling on Poshmark in 2015.
- She earned $735,000 last year selling on social media livestreams and through brand partnerships.
- She’s confident others can have similar success as well, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
Before 2015, Mona Mejia’s full-time job was taking care of her three children.
Now, the 44-year-old Houston-based mom boasts an income of $735,000 last year, according to documents verified by Insider, selling new and used clothing, home goods, and toys on social media.
She says she’s never invested a single dollar out-of-pocket into her business. Starting with just the clothes in her closet, she later used her earnings to purchase additional inventory to sell at a markup.
“When I talk about everything that we’ve gone through, I’m still shocked about it from where we came from to now,” Mejia told Insider.
Mejia is one of millions of Americans who are finding ways to make ends meet without relying on a traditional 9-to-5 office job. US workers filed over five million new business applications in 2021, the most since 2005. A 2021 Upwork study found that 59 million Americans — or 36% of the US workforce — had performed freelance work over the prior 12 months. Others, like Mejia, have found ways to start businesses of their own. While these lifestyles are not without their challenges, they’ve provided some Americans the opportunity to finally get ahead financially.
“Everything was selling really quickly”
In 2015, Mejia’s family was in need of additional income to supplement her husband’s pay. It was a “really hard time,” she said. “You don’t know where you’re going to eat.”
When her sister introduced her to the reseller platform Poshmark, she began selling a few items from her closet.
She remembers her first sale — a dress — which sold for $36 after 11 hours. When she began listing more items, she noticed that “everything was selling really quickly” and real money was trickling in.
Two years in, Mejia’s husband had open heart surgery and wasn’t able to work — the responsibility fell on her to support the family, and she took her efforts to another level. As Mejia branched out to other reselling platforms, she says the $100-200 she was earning per week turned into $1,000 — translating to nearly $50,000 in total earnings in her first year.
It wasn’t until roughly a year ago, however — when she started selling on livestreams through Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, that her business really took off. While she earned $23,000 through Poshmark last year for example, she says social media is where the bulk of her income now comes from.
Her husband’s health has since improved, but rather than going back to his job, he now helps his wife keep up with her thriving business. Together, they now own a home that they’ve paid off in full and have sent two children to college without any student loans.
“The more you list, the more money you’re going to make.”
After working through her closet, Mejia took her earnings and went to yard sales and clearance sections to look for bargain products she could buy and resell. That included clothes, shoes, home goods, kids items, accessories, jewelry — “pretty much everything.” She’s sold items for as low $15-20 to as high as $1,300-$1,400 for a Louis Vuitton or Chanel bag.
While she still frequents yard sales and retail stores, the majority of her purchases are now bulk orders bought at a discounted price from various vendors.
Mejia then lists most of her products at a roughly 40% off their market rate, or the price a customer would pay at a retail store for instance. She says large discounts are typical on reselling platforms. She once paid $30 for a dress that sells for nearly $300 at Anthropologie.
Despite discounting, she says she’s able to maintain high levels of profitability by only selling items she bought at especially cheap rates.
In a rare instance, however, she recalls making quite the profit on a pair of “flamingos and frogs” pants that she paid $1 for at a yard sale. “These are hideous but I’m going to try them,” she thought. They sold for $100.
Mejia doesn’t think she has a particular talent for choosing what to sell, and that “the more you list, the more money you’re going to make.”
“Everything sells,” she said, adding that the shift to e-commerce when the pandemic began has fueled sales — which have risen 50% vs. pre-pandemic levels.
“I love it. It’s an addiction to me.”
Mejia says she spends eight to ten hours doing the bulk of the work on her business, but really she is “working all day” and is on the clock “24/7.”
Early on, she recalls stuffing boxes in the corner of her dining room and kitchen in the family’s one-bedroom apartment before they were shipped to customers. Now, they have a home with six-bedrooms, two of which — an “inventory” and “listing” room — are used to store future shipments.
She lists at least 100 items each day, but it’s the evenings — when customers tend to buy — that are especially busy. She says she stays up till 3:00 AM to ensure shipments get out the door — then wakes up at 7:30 to start the next day.
“There’s no stopping, but it’s okay,” she said. “I love it. It’s an addiction to me.”
Mejia thinks anyone can find success as a reseller but emphasizes that it takes hard work and commitment — it took her seven years to get where she is now. A lot of people give up, she says, but perseverance can pay off.
“A lot of people see where I’m at right now. And they’re like, ‘Oh, I want to do that right now,'” she said. “Yeah, it’s going to happen eventually, but it’s not just going to happen overnight. So I would say don’t give up and just keep listing, keep sharing your closet, be consistent.”
Though her thousands of followers on social media are certainly helpful, she says “you really don’t have to have a huge following to make money.”
Thanks to her selling success, Mejia says she has signed contracts with Torrid and Target, which pay her to wear and promote their clothing on social media. It’s because of deals like these that she earned $735,000 last year.
She plans to continue full steam ahead with her business as well. Sales have grown 30% over the last six months, and she has plans to open up a “pop-up” retail store of her own next January in Houston. She’s planning to hire three employees in December to help out.
“We love what we do,” she said, “and the only way to continue to grow is working.”