He pays cash up-front for your pre-owned luxury goods

Posted: January 16, 2014

 MICHAEL ZAKROFF, 33, of Southwest Center City, is founder and chief operating officer of CashinMyBag.com, a Narberth-based online retailer. The startup buys preowned authentic designer handbags, shoes, jewelry, accessories, women's apparel and men's fashions for cash and pays 50 percent of an item's online value. Clients can cash in online, drop merchandise off at the Narberth location or arrange a personal house call.

Q: How'd you come up with the idea for the biz?

A: I was a hairstylist on the Main Line for 15 years. I saw an article where you can leverage a handbag in Asia as collateral for a mortgage. I thought there must be real value in these items. That was a year ago and we actually launched in June 2013.

Q: Where did you get the money to start the biz?

A: I had money saved from my work as a hairstylist. My father is also a partner.

Q: How's the biz model work?

A: Go to our website and click "Cash in Now." Say you have an Hermes handbag you want to sell. Take a photo, tell us the condition and email it to us. We send a preliminary quote of what we'll pay and a prepaid shipping label to mail us the bag. Then we examine and authenticate it and send a final quote. If you agree, your check is sent within 24 hours.

Q: Where do you get goods?

A: We have a referral program where anybody who sends us a customer receives $100 cash for their first referral and 10 percent cash for every referral after. We also have people who go and clean out closets.

Q: How do you make money?

A: We buy the item from you at wholesale based on its worth in the online marketplace, not retail. We try to make [a profit] of at least 50 percent.

Q: Who do you buy from?

A: A lot of Main Line women have tons of high-end fashion and we get stuff through mail. I would say our customer base is 80 percent women, ages late 20s to 70s. They have so much stuff in closets they don't wear and we take it off their hands.

Q: How much do you sell and who buys it?

A: We sell 100 to 200 items a week online, mostly handbags, accessories and women's clothing. The majority of our buyers are women; most live in the U.S. and 30 percent are overseas.

Q: How big a business?

A: We currently sell $50,000 a month of inventory.

Q: Employees?

A: Three plus myself.

Q: Competitors?

A: Consignment shops, but it's a totally different business model. There you don't get paid until the item sells.

Q: What are some examples of inventory you have?

A: This is a brand-new Hermes handbag from 2013 that retails for $3,600. It's never been used. We'll sell that for $1,000, maybe a little less.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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