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My Ugly Side Business Confession

ugly sweater shop: www.junkybrilliance.comI absolutely love thrift shopping. For me, there’s a certain excitement that comes along with walking in to a secondhand shop, not knowing what treasure might be lurking around the corner. My sentiments are the same for garage sales, estate sales, auctions, and online sites like Craigslist.

I have a short list, and my favorite things to hunt for include mid-century furniture pieces, musical instruments, and designer kids clothes. I’m pretty successful in my shopping, and in my opinion my kids dress pretty darn great for about at cheap as it can get.

So a few years back, I got an invitation in the mail to attend an Ugly Christmas Sweater party. I love a good theme party and an excuse to shop, so I quickly I hit up my favorite local thrift shop in hot pursuit of the most hideous ugly Christmas sweater in the state of Indiana.

It was there, in the middle of that smelly junk store, that I had what Oprah would call an “a-ha moment”.

Immediately, I snatched up all the ugly sweaters in the entire store and rushed home. Within the hour, I had set up an Etsy site called Junky Brilliance selling Ugly Christmas Sweaters. By the end of the day, I had made my first sale.

I know what you’re thinking. Who on earth would buy an ugly Christmas sweater for $20, when you can simply go to the thrift store and pick one up for a few bucks?

My answer? Lots of people. People who don’t have time to do the hunting, but want a really great sweater for their party. People who hate shopping. College kids and business men. Folks who live in warm climates where sweaters are sparse. People who live in NYC where big box junk stores are not commonplace. People who don’t live in Indiana when the ugly runs deep. (I’m convinced Indiana is a Mecca for ugly fashion,and as a Hoosier, I say that in the most loving way possible.)

This season will be my third year selling ugly Christmas sweaters, and to-date I think I’ve exceeded over 300 sweaters sold. You guys, I love this seasonal little side business. My husband and I are a team, and we have a great time doing it together. I find the sweaters, take the photos, and activate the listings online. He models the sweaters, drinks beer, and ships the sweaters every morning.

I realized, if I’m going to thrift shop anyway, why not make a little side business out of the deal, right? So every time I drag my kids to a thrift shop, we hit up the sweater section. Doesn’t matter if it’s July or if it’s December. It’s always sweater weather at our house.

How about you? Have you ever made a little extra cash in an unique sort of way?

A big thanks to Citi for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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