Hi! My name is Jessica Rensing. My wonderful husband Joe and I founded The Family Flips together, but the story began long before that. I look back, and I can’t believe that part of this story belongs to me. We’ve been so floored by how things have turned out, and I hope that, by reading this, you can get an idea of what your love and support means to us. Because this story doesn’t belong to just Joe and me. This story is all of ours.
Feel free to sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy the read!
– Jessica Rensing
Joe began his reselling journey in 2011, but he’s been an entrepreneur for as long as he can remember. He was married previously and lived in Tennessee with his then-wife while she pursued her dream to go to audio engineering school. Her full-time commitment to her studies caused them to go from a two-income family down to one. He had to find a way to support their lifestyle, so he started selling extra items from their home. Eventually, he started purchasing items from local Goodwill stores to sell, and settled on specializing in reselling women’s jeans. Honestly, to this day, he couldn’t tell you why he began selling women’s jeans, but he got good at it, and somehow, that’s where it started.
One day, while sourcing at Goodwill, he heard an advertisement for shopgoodwill.com and was really excited at the idea of being able to source more items from home without having to go out and shop (because he was never a huge fan of shopping, and still isn’t). That’s when the bulk sourcing started. He purchased various things to resell and even bought boxes of old flip phones with the intent to resell them, too, but never got around to it because life changed, as it tends to do.
He moved back to Arkansas and got a high paying job as a general manager for a well-known restaurant chain. But he also found that he was miserable. He became married to his job and divorced from his wife. It was then he began to pray and ask for help.
Late one afternoon as he was riding his motorcycle down the backroads of rural Arkansas, he heard God speak. “Do you trust Me?”
He replied, “Yes, God”.
He responded, “…Do you trust Me?”
The presence of God laid heavier and heavier as He spoke. “I trust You.”
But He asked one more time, “Joe, do you trust Me?”
With tears in his eyes and the heavy presence of God upon him, he said, “Yes, God… I trust you”.
He then spoke again,
“I want you to put in your two weeks’ notice at your job. I want you to move out of your home and into an RV. Do you remember that box of phones you purchased a while back to resell? I want you to begin to resell those. Buy more, and resell them, too. Don’t stop until I tell you to.”
In faith, Joe put in his two weeks’ notice. Immediately following, his ex-wife’s uncle called him and asked me to come by after his working shift. When he arrived, his ex-wife’s uncle said, “I was praying this morning, and for some reason, I feel like God wants me to give you this 26-foot Winnebago RV.”
He signed over the title immediately, and there, without even having to look for it himself, God had provided Joe with a place to live. Floored by the kindness and faithfulness of God, to this day, Joe looks back fondly on that moment, knowing that God still provides for him and his family.
Joe and I got married in September of 2015, and I quit my job as a preschool teacher to join the reselling business. We were flipping cell phones and consumer electronics and fairing pretty well but we were working out of an eighty-one square foot spare bedroom. That proved difficult. We eventually earned enough to rent a 1,000 square foot office space in the heart of Conway, AR. Almost immediately following, the market began to change for cell phones and consumer electronics. Prices for our inventory increased 200 percent! So, we had to get creative and find another way to source products.
Joe stumbled across a commonly known liquidation website and in his excitement, he won our first pallet auction! We eagerly waited for the freight truck to deliver this pallet. The day finally came, and Joe and I excitedly brought the pallet to our office space, and with high hopes, began to unpack it. Based on the manifest provided, there were multiple coffee makers, pressure cookers, and air fryers on board. Oh yes. We absolutely could NOT wait to flip these babies!
But every single item was broken. As I pulled the first pressure cooker out of its box to inspect it, the front face panel came off, showing all the wiring inside. Joe was angry and I was certainly not amused. Upon further inspection, the listing said these items were “salvage” — which meant they were likely broken or not working. We had no idea what that meant when we ordered this pallet, but we knew we were never going to make that mistake again. In fact, that day we learned a very valuable lesson: READ THE LISTING CAREFULLY.
We tried again with another two pallets (still not sure how Joe convinced me to try pallets again), but after that, the rest was history. We rented out a 2,600 square foot warehouse and started purchasing truckloads! It was extremely exciting, but in the end, due to the needs of our family, we realized that this endeavor required too much of our time. We live this life to be able to spend more time with our family, but the warehouse was not working for us. Instead, we found ourselves working for the warehouse, which was the exact opposite of why we started a reselling venture to begin with. So, we downsized. We moved our remaining inventory into a storage unit and started operating out of our garage.
For years, we worked out of our garage, buying pallets, and storing them in a storage unit. We unboxed them for YouTube and then turned around and sold them for profit on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and other sites. We also tried diverse ways to sell items locally and even played around with a flea market booth for a couple of years. We learned so much along the way and have recorded the process, vlog style, on the YouTube channel to give others an up close and personal view of the emotions, challenges, and excitement that goes along with being a small-time business owner in a big and competitive world.
We eventually had the honor of being featured on A&E’s Extreme Unboxing in August of 2022 and that was an amazing, eye-opening experience that just added so many tools to our tool belt that we still use today.
We found great success in getting out from beneath our debts and living a simple life. We were saving up to build a home for ourselves and were renting until our children got older and we knew exactly what kind of space we would want or need. But before we could get to that point, we got terrible news. The housing market had changed, and our landlord wanted to sell the house we were living in. We would inevitably have to move, and soon. Then, 45 minutes later, our one and only (paid off) vehicle broke down on the side of the freeway and was later deemed completely totaled. So, again, under immense pressure, we found ourselves having to move, purchasing another vehicle, and having to find a new home for our business. Among other, smaller issues, such as my main business phone (my cell phone) shattered and was no longer working. Usually, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but… with all the other expenses coming up, it wasn’t something I was prepared to replace.
Turns out, we had a great amount of favor in our life! We just didn’t know it yet. We found a home that was better than our old one, a car that was almost too good to be true, and the ability to open a storefront which would allow us to grow and hire employees. Furthermore, one of our sweet YouTube viewers had been through a similar experience before, and offered to replace my phone for me, free of charge. I was floored! I am thankful for this time in our life, because though we were comfortable, we needed a little fire under our backsides to get us out of that comfort zone and into something bigger and greater.
The bin store was an experiment, and it went better than we anticipated! We had to move out of our smaller space and into a larger one in less than a year, just to facilitate the growth and support of our community. We’re blessed and honored by each of our customers every day, many of whom have become our friends.
We’re thankful for this business. It’s given us so much time and financial freedom. We have a desire to share that secret with everyone else. I will warn you that dream chasing does not have a “get rich quick” strategy. It involves work, planning, hard work, sacrifice, and determination.
Whether you’re a customer reading this to learn our story, or if you’re an aspiring or current reseller, hoping to learn a little bit more about how we made this work for our family, we want to encourage you. Your dreams may not be the same as ours, but if you want them, you can absolutely reach them. Sometimes all it takes is a little creative thinking and a lot of stubborn determination. And we hope that you achieve all that you dream of. We’re rooting for you, always.
Joe and Jessica
The Family Flips