Back in the day, the best options for selling used clothing was limited to schlepping to a consignment store or having a yard sale. The emergence of direct shopping apps make the process a lot easier, for both the seller and interested buyers. I’ve recently started using a few services (Depop, TheRealReal, Poshmark) and here are my tips for getting the most from your older items.
1. Popular brands should be posted first. Think about brands that don’t have many sales. Those are the labels that kill it on consignment sites. However, certain brands perform better on different platforms, so do a little research to see what is doing well for popular sellers. For an app like Poshmark, Lululemon and Zara perform well, while high end consignment sites like The RealReal is where many people go for discounted Balenciaga or Celine.
2. Think like a retailer and a shopper. Think about the details that you consider before making an online purchase. I usually check the material, the height and size of the model to get a sense of how the item would look like on me. When selling an item you need to think about information you need to share (i.e. fabric, size, etc.), but also, what are some of the questions a buyer might ask? Include photos of the label, care instructions and close up images of any “damage”.
3. Style the clothing. Some pieces don’t look as good on a hanger, so wearing them is essential to giving the buyer a better idea of how the clothing looks. Style the piece the way you’d normally wear it, shoes and all. Take photos against a neutral backdrop, or do a selfie in a full-length mirror. If you are going to shoot items on a hanger, bet sure to iron/steam out wrinkles so shoppers see the true color, fabric, and wear.
4. Bad pictures can be a deal-breaker. Most people aren’t aware of lighting, but it’s the most important aspect of a good photograph. Natural, diffused light is preferable, but if you only have time in the evenings, try using a room with white light. Yellow light can make images look sallow. Clear out any visible clutter in the background or choose a location where the items aren’t competing with the environment.
5. Be flexible with price. I usually charge about 60%-70% off of the original price, but if a piece is in great condition, a brand that is highly sought after, or was a limited edition, I may change the percentage to be closer to 50%. My price usually includes the shipping and the percentage the app takes, but remember to be flexible. If a person makes a reasonable offer that’s less than the listed price, I’ll often accept it, just to clear the item out of my inventory.
6. Read all the T&Cs/FAQs before you start. Educate yourself before you use any service. I wasn’t surprised when a portion of my sale was taken out by the app, and I knew exactly how to retrieve my balance, print out my shipping label, and interact with people who had questions. It makes the process much smoother.
7. Have a goal and timeline for unsold items. Have a backup plan for items that don’t sell. I give myself a sell-by date and when that day comes, I take whatever hasn’t sold to my local donation center.
As posted in Cupcakes and Cashmere August 2015