Old clothes, new business: how senior entrepreneur turned hobby into profits

Senior Bennett Bartz

For the average 17-year-old, it is only a dream to start their own successful business doing something they love. Senior Bennett Bartz has turned this fantasy into a reality.

Bartz runs his own online vintage clothing business where he buys clothing from local thrift stores and online marketplaces and then resells them online for profit.

He said that he was introduced to vintage clothing at the beginning of his sophomore year through an Instagram ad of two vintage T-shirts. He said he still keeps them in his room to remember his first purchase.

The initial purchase of these T-shirts led Bartz to visit nearby thrift stores, where he hoped to find similar vintage clothing.

“I found this old San Antonio Spurs jacket, and I was freaking out,” he said. “I ended up selling it for $70.”

This initial success of selling the Spurs jacket, Bartz explained, sparked his interest in collecting more vintage clothes with hopes of reselling them to earn money. He added that he sells the clothes on eBay, Depop and Instagram.

Bartz said the profit margins while buying and reselling vintage clothing are huge. Often, one can purchase a piece of clothing for a low cost and sell it later for a much higher price, he explained.

“I went to a garage sale where I bought 20 T-shirts for $30,” Bartz said. “I ended up selling the T-shirts in a bundle for $2,000.”

Starting his business was difficult and took a lot of time and effort, Bartz said.

“There was a point where I was doing this three or four hours a day,” he said. “In the summer, I would go to the Goodwill bins for four hours at a time and come home and list stuff for another two hours.”

Finding valuable clothing is often very difficult as others are competing for the same clothes he wants to buy, Bartz explained.

“It is cutthroat, like insane,’’ Bartz said. “If you go in and you are not friends with them, they will get you out, and they will throw clothes at you until you leave.”

Even if the environment can be intense at times, he said his interest and passion for what he does keeps him running his online business.

“I put in a lot of work, but I enjoy it enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m working,” he explained.

However, the business can get difficult, he said. Clothes can take anywhere from one day to one year to sell, and it can be a struggle to resell certain products.

His newfound passion for business and experiences with his own company inspired him to want to study business in college.

“It is something I am passionate about, and I love how the profits work and how I can manage it myself,” Bartz said. “I feel it will be a great asset to me in college.”

Bartz said he plans on continuing his vintage clothing business while he attends Southern Methodist University next year. He added that his entrepreneurial knowledge gives him a great advantage due to the amount of experience it provided.

“Dallas has a great thrifting scene going on down there, so I will definitely be able to continue this business,” Bartz said.