For Temecula’s Steven and Steph, having cameras around to document what they do every day was nothing but fun.
“Having the opportunity to come up, why wouldn’t you do it?” Steph said in a phone interview. “We get to be on a TV show doing what we’re already doing – what we love to do – we are comfortable with it. We like it. We’ve been doing it for years, and it’s a fun show. It’s a fun, new concept. So it was really fun being a part of it.”
“We have grandkids,” Steven interjected. “It’s like bragging rights. No matter what, it’ll always be there. Like, ‘Hey, we’re on a TV show. That’s how cool we are.”
“Yeah, right, they already know we’re not,” Steph replied, laughing.
Whether they are cool or not in the minds of their grandchildren, the couple will, in fact, be featured in A&E’s new series “Extreme Unboxing,” which premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4.
According to the synopsis of the show, “online retailers receive billions of dollars of returned items that are then auctioned off in large pallets to buyers. ‘Extreme Unboxing’ follows a group of pallet-flipping entrepreneurs from across the country who bid on these large boxes of returned, discounted merchandise sight unseen in hopes of selling the items within the boxes for big profits.”
“What’s amazing is that there’s going to be a lot of people that haven’t heard of it, but it’s like over a billion dollars a year of stuff gets liquidated,” Steven said.
After leaving the construction industry, Steven started selling his own stuff on eBay and started thinking about being a reseller.
“I was just selling my personal items, and I was getting more than what I paid for them,” he said. “And I was like, ‘Wow, this is ridiculous. And so we started kind of doing it as a hobby.”
“Then we started hitting thrift stores, and you’re buying stuff to flip it, specifically,” Steph said. “And then it got to we don’t know enough about all the antiques and all that stuff. We need a larger amount, and we need more time. Pallets just kind of gave us more time because we could buy stuff, have it come to our house and then we can go through it, sort through it, clean it, sell it and list it all from our house. It just became an easier way for us as a reseller to source products to sell.”
The couple scour the internet on liquidation websites, reading manifests and bidding on pallets they are interested in. While they pretty much know what is inside the pallet’s wrapping, of course, there can be surprises, both good and bad.
“There is the stuff that’s just customer returns, which is what we usually buy,” Steph said. “Then there is salvage where it’s just defective. It’s going to have stuff wrong with it. And they’re priced differently. Each company that you buy from they vary in how they detail what’s going to be on the pallet. They won’t tell you the condition, guaranteed.”
Steven said there are niches in the industry and people that specialize in reselling, clothing, toys, cosmetics and more.
“Our thing is, we’re just real opportunistic,” he said. “When something is there and it’s a good deal and we can make money on it, that’s what we buy. We buy what’s going to have the best return for us. You can shake this business any way you want. We use it to make a living and create more time. You can scale this thing and have employees, and you can buy truckloads at a time. You can have a storefront. And you can literally do it on a small scale. You don’t have to buy a pallet.”
The best part, the couple said, was working for themselves.
“It gets back to creating time,” Steven said. “Like it comes to our house and then we unbox it, sell it. And we have time to do things that a regular job doesn’t permit. If people, family and friends get ahold of us and want to hang out, we say ‘yes.’ the vast majority of the time. That’s a big, big draw.”
They said they are excited to show the world what they do for a living and the industry that’s given them much freedom.
“Our model this whole time has been to enjoy your life,” Steph said. “That’s what we want everybody to do. People can find enjoyment in a 9-to-5, but for us, it’s the freedom and to just do something different that we enjoy and that’s what we’re doing.”
Check out the promo video for “Extreme Unboxing” at https://youtu.be/8Cwxwqt4ah4.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.