Plus, how to get top dollar for your wardrobe
If your clothing has worn out its welcome in your closet, here’s how to cash out.
The best time to sell clothing online is starting the third Monday in January (this year, that’s January 22nd) through the end of February, according to an analysis from clothing resale site thredup. During this time, clothing sells 20% faster than the rest of the year — and that’s particularly true for athleisure items, with people trying to keep up with those New Year’s resolutions.
Of course, to earn top dollar for your clothes online, you have to be smart about where you sell them, how you market them and more. Here’s what experts and frequent clothing sellers told Moneyish for getting top dollar for your wardrobe.
Price it right. “The rule of thumb is to set the price at about a third of the original retail price,” says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst for DealNews.com. So if you’re trying to sell designer jeans that you bought for $300, price them at $100. “If they’re in exceptionally great condition, you can try to charge a little more, but probably not more than another $25 to $50.” You should also look at what others are charging online for the same or similar items, because a particularly hard-to-get item, for example, could fetch higher prices.
Photos matter most. They’re the No. 1 thing that sells your clothing, so make them good. If you have a model or a mannequin to put the clothes on for the photos, that may be best; if not, “put on a hanger or lay flat with a simple background. People want to see how the garment hangs,” says Rayne Parvis, a Los Angeles-based style coach and author of “Ultimate Guide to Style: From Drab to Fab!.”
Shoot against a simple background like a white wall, says Macaire Douglas, owner of clothing store Half Pint Shop and frequent reseller of clothes. And snap the pic in natural sunlight, says Parvis. “Avoid flash and filters. Shoot your items by a window with the product facing the window or the sun, and have your back to the light source.”
Take a “a minimum of three photos: front; 3/4 or side angle and back…but ideal is 5-6 shots,” says Parvis. Be sure to get closeups of any detailing, as well as imperfections, says Douglas. And, if “if you are going to make this a side hustle, invest in a quality digital camera or make sure your smartphone has a great one like the Samsung Galaxy or a new iPhone,” Pavis adds.
Find a spot to sell — and then look at its fees. Natasha Rachel Smith, a personal finance expert at TopCashback.com, says to look to different sites for different things: “Poshmark is great for name-brand attire or accessories, while Ebay is great for vintage or less-popular brands,” she says. Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95 for all sales under $15 and for those of $15 or more, you keep 80% of your sale price. EBay’s fees are a bit more complicated and are listed here.
Don’t feel like dealing with listing, shipping and other annoyances? Consider an online consignment shop. “ThredUp takes the hassle out of listing items, monitoring sales and shipping since you send the items you’d like to sell straight to them,” Smith explains — though you do have to make a special request to get the clothes they don’t want to sell returned to you.
To (mostly) avoid fees, Douglas says she sells most of her clothing through Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, she posts photos of the clothing on her account using certain hashtags so that people can find it, and also uses accounts that sell clothing on Instagram for sellers like this one. On Facebook, she does something similar, looking for groups that buy and sell certain brands and posting her wares there. And public relations professional and frequent clothing seller Kelsea Schagrin is a big fan of selling locally. Consider a yard sale if you have a lot of items that likely aren’t worth a lot, as well as local Facebook groups.
Write a clear description. You must include the brand, size, condition, color, details about the item and any imperfections, stains or other issues in the description. You may also want to include the item’s measurements, as people often ask this anyway. Douglas says she often also adds a personal, but not too flowery message, like “I love this item, but I just don’t wear it enough.” Something that shows why you’re selling it, while also making it seem still desirable.
Know what sells. While you can sell any clothing items you want online, some sell better than others. Schagrin says that wallets, purses and sunglasses tend to be great sellers, especially if they are known brands. “Those items are more universal and don’t have to be a specific size to fit someone,” she says. She adds that college sweatshirts, jackets and shoes are great sellers too, while pants — which often have to fit just right — are harder to unload.
Brands matter too — and while, of course, your Kate Spade’s and Louis Vuitton’s of the world can likely sell, you can, and should, look beyond those big names. Douglas says a big trend right now (at least for women’s and children’s clothing) is female-owned brands that use thoughtfully sourced materials. Bobo Choses and Rylee & Cru are popular children’s brands, and Ace & Jig and Ulla Johnson are popular women’s brands.
Time it right. Though now is, in general, the best time to sell clothes online, you still have to think of seasonality and other factors. ThredUp notes that athleisure is a particularly popular buy right now because people are getting into their new workout routines. And Schagrin points out that while things like jackets sell better in colder weather and sandals in warmer weather, things like “wallets, purses, college sweatshirts, sunglasses tend to be all-seasons.”
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