Did you know that selling your old clothes is now a billion-dollar industry?! In fact, it’s a $16 billion dollar industry, according to Business Insider. (Those aren’t the newest stats either … I bet the number is climbing!)
It’s been a while since I sold clothes online. And things have changed!
In the past, I sold brand-name clothes on eBay and vintage clothes (my favorite type of clothing!) on Etsy. I was mostly selling my own clothing … but sometimes I’d pick up AMAZING pieces at thrift stores and turn around and sell them online. I never tried to make it a full-time job … just something I did from time to time. But over the past few years, I’ve been busy with my photography business and life and just haven’t thought much about selling things online.
Today, though, as I looked into my seriously over-stuffed closet, I realized that it was time for a clean out. And since extra money is always a good thing, I decided to try some online selling. Where, though?
I frequently drop stuff off at the consignment store around the corner from me. I love the people who work there and they do a FABULOUS job selling things. But the problem I’ve had with that route is that the second I walk into the consignment store, I find something I just can’t live without! And so I walk away with more things than I’ve dropped off. (Pleeeease tell me I’m not the only one with this problem!)
A couple of years back, I downsized from a three-bedroom home to a small apartment. It’s been two years since I made that move … which essentially took me from 5 large closets down to one … and I’m still in the process of purging clothes! My goal is to downsize even further … into a studio cottage of sorts. Happily, there are lots of places like that here in the Hudson Valley. I dream of gardening, having a little doggie, and having VERY little stuff.
My closet door can hardly close these days … so I decided it’s time to look back into selling online.
Turns out that over the last five or so years, a TON of new options have opened up as far as where and how you can sell your clothes online. And that’s really awesome because quite frankly, I kinda gave up on eBay a while back. As their fees grew, so did my annoyance, and I jumped ship. Plus, it seemed to be taking longer and longer to actually get a listing up and running. It just became kind of a hassle. Of course, that’s just my take. PLENTY of people are still loving eBay!
Even though it’s awesome that there are so many places to sell used clothing online, it also leaves me feeling a little overwhelmed. So, where should I sell my used clothes? And is it really worth all the trouble it takes to sort through my clothing, clean them, photograph them, post them, answer questions, pack them, and ship them? I mean, that’s a LOT of work.
For me personally, it’s worth it. And here’s why:
- I’m cleaning out my closet. Maybe the doors will finally shut and things won’t fall on my head in the morning when I’m trying to find an outfit to wear.
- I’m mixing it up a bit. Although it may sound like an incredibly adventurous life to be a photographer (are you picturing the photography guy in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?), like any job, at times things get terribly monotonous. Stepping away from my average daily tasks and doing something a little different … especially something in which I can add a creative flair (good marketing is always super creative!) … is good for my soul.
- I’m earning some extra change. I’m not a stay-at-home Mom like so many self-employed ladies. I’m a single woman who spends a good 20 hours or so in volunteer work each week. My volunteer work is kinda like my baby ; ) I try and work no more than 20-30 hours a week with my secular work … and sometimes, I work less if other commitments call for it. Therefore, extra money is always good.
If any of those points above resonate with you, then let’s consider some of the different ways we can sell clothes online today! Each and every site is different. Some only accept certain high-end brands. Some offer a community type environment. Others look for vintage treasures. Perhaps the most important thing is to do your research, read their selling guidelines carefully, and then choose which one will work best for you. Or, if you’re really serious about selling clothing online, try out more than one service so you can compare and see what ends up being the best fit.
Here are six of the top spots for online sales.
With Poshmark, you’ll need to download their free app to get started. I’m going to be 100% honest … I didn’t want to! I feel overwhelmed already trying to keep up with the social networks I use for business. I didn’t want to have to add any more apps to my phone. But, I ended up doing it because I LOVED the idea that I could just easily take a picture with my phone and then have the listing up and running in literally seconds. And I do mean … seconds.
When you sell an item through the app, Poshmark’s system will automatically send you a shipping label. Download, print it out, and then ship the clothes. I don’t really know why making up a shipping label always felt like a big task for me. But with Poshmark, I don’t have to do it. I just print the label and tape it on the package.
As for fees, Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95 for all sales under $15. You keep the rest. For sales of $15 or more, you keep 80% of your sale and Poshmark’s commission is 20%.
How do you get paid? According to Poshmark’s blog, “Buyers have up to three days to accept the item and after that, the funds are automatically released to you, the seller. Once the buyer receives your package and has accepted the item, your earnings will be automatically deposited into your Poshmark account.”
I love that you can withdraw your earnings at any time and be paid via Bank Direct Deposit or Check Request.
I JUST uploaded some things a few days ago to give it a test run. I’ve sold a pair of shorts and the process was so easy. I’ll definitely be uploading more things in the future. I’m pretty sure that for the moment, this is going to be my go-to way to sell clothing online.
They call themselves the largest online consignment and thrift store. As someone who will literally drive to another state to go to an amazing thrift store, that title alone got me kinda excited! (Except, it got me excited about the wrong thing … buying stuff! not selling!)
With thredUp, sellers can earn up to 80% of the selling price of any item that thredUP can resell. Simply contact them for a Clean Out Kit bag — which comes complete with their address and a prepaid shipping label on it — fill it up with your used clothing, and return the bag via FedEx or USPS at no upfront cost to you. Or, you can even schedule a free residential pick up.
Items are sorted through and those that aren’t accepted for sale are either donated to a charity, or can be returned to the sender. (You will have to pay for the shipping back, though.) Accepted items are either sold upfront or via consignment. Any items with an initial listing price of $59.99 or less qualifies for an upfront payout. Sellers can expect to earn 5% to 40% of the anticipated selling price. An item with an initial listing price of $60 or more qualifies for a consignment payout. Sellers can expect to earn 50% to 80% of the selling price.
Once an item sells, thredUP notifies you, and after 14 days, you can use the earnings to shop on thredUP.com or cash out via PayPal or a thredUP Visa Prepaid Card.
This is a great way to sell things if you don’t feel like taking pictures of your items or doing the research needed to figure out the right pricing for your clothing. You also won’t have to handle any of the shipping. I would venture to guess it’s one of the easiest ways to go about selling your clothing online. Of course, you probably won’t make quite as much as if you were selling each individual item yourself. But if you only have the time — or desire — to fill up and mail ONE bag, then this route might be the one for you!
Ten years ago, eBay was it. If you wanted to sell something online, you turned to eBay! However, with an ever-increasing number of policy changes and rising sellers’ fees, many people have jumped ship and switched to other platforms for their online sales. That being said, eBay continues to be a popular spot for online sellers.
eBay’s mission is to be the world’s favorite destination for discovering great value and unique selection. On eBay, you can put your used clothing and pretty much anything else you could dream of selling. One lady once sold a partially eaten grilled cheese sandwich for $28,000. She believed– and obviously plenty of other people did, too — that it had an image of the virgin Mary in one of it’s slices of bread. (Source). With eBay, you put your item up for auction, which is open to bids for exactly 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days. When the time is up, the highest bidder wins and you ship him or her your product.
There is a small fee to list each item, and eBay takes 10% of the value of the sale when an item sells. You can read about eBay’s current fees here.
How can you sell clothing on Instagram? You can do it within your own account. Or, you can open up a specific account just for clothing sales. Personally, I feel like this would be the better way to go so you don’t flood your friends’ feeds with photos of clothing you want to sell.
Here are seven easy steps to get up and running with your very own “clothing store” on instagram.
- Create your new account. You might choose a name like “Kate’s Closet”. Well, you might if you were me : )
- Start out with a welcome post. Tell people about yourself and show them who you are with an up-to-date photo. This is important as you want to build trust.
- Your next post should be a policies post. Explain to customers things like how quickly you ship, average shipping costs, payment methods you accept (most people opt for Paypal), etc. People who are power sellers on Instagram suggest including the cost of shipping in the price of the item. It helps to simplify things for your shoppers.
- Take a beautiful photo of the item you wish to sell. It needs to be a great photo otherwise people won’t pay attention. Include hashtags like #instasale #clothesforsale #shopmycloset #instacloset so that people can find your post! Include details … size, measurements, colors, brand, etc. … along with the image.
- Have people leave their Paypal email address in the comments of a post to indicate that they want to buy something. If multiple people leave a comment with their Paypal address, most store’s policy is to select the first commenter.
- Create a detailed invoice through Paypal and send it to the buyer. When you price your items, remember to factor into your costs the fees that Paypal takes from every transaction.
- Once the buyer pays the invoice, ship the item … and you’re done!
With Instagram, you have total control over how the process goes. You set the policies. That’s pretty awesome! However, it’s not quite as easy as it all sounds. The difference between selling items on Instagram and using an app like Poshmark is that you definitely will have more work on your end. Poshmark handles the invoicing, label creation, policies, etc.
But if you’re willing to do the work, there are fewer fees involved and many people report amazing success via clothing sales on Instagram.
Tradesy specializes in authentic designer clothing and accessories. On any given day, the site has $300 million worth of merchandise offered for sale, according to a recent article in USA Today.
If you are hoping to sell high-end items, this might be the choice for you!
How do you sell your clothing with Tradesy? Simply snap a few photos of the clothing you wish to sell, add a description and price, and your listing will be up and running within 60 seconds. There is no fee to list your item. Once the item sells, Tradesy will send you a free pre-paid shipping kit. Pack up the item and send it on it’s way. The company takes a 9% commission, but only after the item sells. You can then withdraw your earnings using Paypal, a debit card, or an ACH transfer.
Want to check out which designers names they accept? Here’s the list.
If you’re sitting on a pile of amazing vintage clothes, an Etsy store might be a great way to sell them. If you just want to sell a few items and that’s it … then stick with eBay, Poshmark, or something a little more quick and easy. But if you have a lot of clothes and really think you’d enjoy making a part-time or even full-time business out of the sale of vintage clothing, Etsy might be the right choice!
To join Etsy and start a shop is free. You’ll pay three basic selling fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee, and a payment processing fee. It costs US $0.20 to publish a listing to the marketplace. A listing lasts for four months or until the item is sold.
I juuuuuust opened up an Etsy store with the goal of selling some of the natural beauty treatments I enjoy making. Since I’m not the best person to offer up an advice on how to make a successful go at vintage clothing sales on Etsy, I’ll refer you to someone who is! Take a peek at this excellent article by Femptreprenur.
How about you? Have you ever had much success selling clothing online? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Where did you sell and would you recommend the process to others?