Student Entrepreneur is Flipping the Flop

 

Reed Farrar, 21, worked at a typical summer job during the three months away from college. He could easily recall the hot summer days spent working long hours in a non-air-conditioned warehouse lifting heavy boxes. The air was stuffy and uncomfortable, especially after hours of physical labor.

It wasn’t a job he enjoyed.

Two summers ago, a friend introduced him to a new kind of hobby that turned into a business. “He kind of just showed me what he was doing for a hobby. He was going to yard sales and flipping things,” Reed said. “He would buy them for like fifty cents or a dollar and sell them for like 10.”

Many people find a thrill in going to yard sales and garage sales and sifting through a collection of items someone had collected over the years. For Reed, it was more than just a treasure hunt. It wasn’t about the dusty cassette in the corner. It was about the lightly used shoes waiting to be bought, posted and sold online for a higher price.

It was also about the mission. Someone else’s pair of Nike sneakers selling for a few bucks could be sold on eBay or Poshmark for $20.

He and his friend went out that summer and bought miscellaneous things. Eventually, he started making friends on Instagram with other people in Maine who had a similar business or hobby.

“It got me hooked with going to thrift stores and buying shoes,” Reed said. “So mainly, I do used shoes and I flip them on Poshmark.”

Reed is a senior at the University of Maine at Presque Isle pursuing a degree in business. It’s not every day that you find a 21-year-old who wakes up and goes to work for himself.

Fenix Jourdan met Reed in the dormitories on campus their freshmen year. They became friends and have been since that day. Fenix found Reed to be very inspiring, especially as a young entrepreneur. “Like we all have our own goals and aspirations and they are different from each other,” Fenix said.  “But it can light a small fire for each of us to reach ours seeing him accomplishing his goals, even the small ones.”

Reed really began to enjoy flipping shoes. “I started doing this and it was a lot of fun. I was successful at it too,” he said. “There weren’t a lot of people doing what I was doing at 19 years old. If you’re able to just get up early and put in the time, it’s easy to be successful.”

It wasn’t always like this, though. A different look appeared in Reed’s eyes and he frowned a bit. “The first year I did it, it was kind of like a hobby and I had a summer job.”

Reed’s shifts usually ended early in the evening.

“There was one night they told us we were going to be working until 10 p.m. It was

lunchtime and I just went to the managers and I was like, ‘I’m done.’”

Just like that, Reed left his job. He was 19 at the time and his parents were not

impressed with the decision. “I tried going to garage sales and selling stuff, but I didn’t sell enough,” Reed said. “I kind of failed.”

At the time, it almost seemed as if he had accepted his fate, convinced that he wasn’t good enough. Despite his first failure, he decided to pursue it again this past summer. He spent a lot of time thrifting for used shoes and then flipping them on Poshmark and eBay. At first, before he would consider if something would sell, he would check it online to see how much it was selling for. As Reed delved deeper into the business, he began to build a mental database.

“I actually helped my friend who was already successful in this.  I was kind of working for him, but also working on my own business. Now I think I know what I’m doing a little bit, but in the beginning, I just flopped.”

As a friend, Fenix has been able to watch Reed grow throughout the years. “He’s very focused on his goals and does work hard to surpass them,” Fenix said.

Now that Reed is back at college in the county, he has found that business has slowed. It isn’t easy buying items to flip in northern Maine, which is why he had to expand and improvise. Lately, Reed has been buying shoes and toys from the local Marden’s.

Reed isn’t exactly sure where he wants his business to go just yet, but he’d like to pursue it after graduation. He’s hoping that his business degree with give him the skills and experience he needs to be successful. “There’s no limit, there’s no cap to what I can do.  So I hope I can just keep doing this.”