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Hardworking Hawaii: Woman turns thrifting into side business for extra cash

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On top of a full-time job with the city’s billing and collection department, Jessica Umetsu runs a side business from home to earn extra cash.

“Coming to Hawaii and having to pay for everything, you really realize what you can afford, and what you can’t afford,” Umetsu said about what it was like being on her own for the first time.

After moving away from home, Umetsu quickly realized the things she wanted in life cost a lot of money.

“I just wanted to save money because I like to travel. I like to go out and eat. I like to shop,” she said.

All of those things cost her more than what her one job could pay for. So Umetsu got to work. She started working two, sometimes three jobs.

“I was a cocktail waitress at a bar. I worked as a cashier as a door girl at a night club just things I could do while working a full-time regular hour day job,” Umetsu said about the many hats she wore.

Wanting to go back to college, Umetsu knew she wouldn’t have time to work three jobs and attend classes. She needed a less time consuming way to pay for school.

“It’s definitely necessary to work a lot, to work another job, but if you don’t have time for another job, there’s other ways that you can do things from home,” Umetsu said about the high cost of living in Hawaii.

That’s when Umetsu became a seller on Poshmark.

The app and website allows users to sell items to people all over the world.

“You take your photos, you write a description, you pick a price, you list it, and you just wait for somebody to purchase it,” Umetsu said.

The company takes 20% of the purchase, but Umetsu is still able to make a profit when she finds treasures at a good price.

Typically, Umetsu will find deals at Goodwill. She takes advantage of the free rewards program to help her get even more discounts.

If an item is worth a lot, but isn’t in great condition, Umetsu said that’s not an issue.

“People donate for whatever reason. To them a small stain is like the end of the world, but to me a small stain can be removed,” Umetsu explained showing off the tools she uses to bring items back to life.

For Umetsu, selling items she finds at thrift stores brings in a few extra hundred dollars a month. It helped her pay for college by herself without having to take out student loans. It’s helped her pay for her wedding, and now allows her and her husband to have the things they want.

“It’s just on top of my full time job. This is just for the things that I want to have that maybe are not necessities,” Umetsu said. “So even though I have a decent job, it’s just not enough for Hawaii.”

Check out Umetsu’s Poshmark closet here.

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