The clothing resale market is expected to surpass fast fashion in sales within the next decade. Meaning fashion resale will be worth more than $35 billion worldwide! This is great news for the planet and a growing population of people who embrace vintage fashion and sustainability. If you’re looking to offload your gently used clothing or are interested in getting into selling secondhand clothes on a regular basis, there is no better time than now. Read on for the top 3 ways to sell secondhand clothes in 2021.
1. Sell Secondhand Clothes Yourself
To make the most money from selling gently used items, selling them yourself is the way to go. Marketplaces have taken over the internet and they show no sign of slowing down. There is a buyer out there ready to purchase almost anything someone has for sale.
Selling clothing yourself takes a little more time and effort, but it has proven to be well worth it. Your profit potential can be anywhere from tens to thousands per month depending on what you’re selling, how much of it you have to sell and your hustle. The beauty of doing it yourself is you can embark on a one time journey, establish a lucrative side gig or morph it into a full time business.
Which Online Resale Site Should You Use
There are many online resale platforms, so you’ll want to find one that most closely matches your goods and target buyer. For example, there are resale platforms that cater to only luxury goods, only women and children, only men, only clothing, only shoes, etc… Check out our detailed article on the 10 best online resale apps for 2021 where we break down the most popular places to sell online, who they cater to, the fees they charge, etc… Plan to stick with one or two, no need to spread yourself thin by listing on eBay, Poshmark, Depop, Etsy, etc…
How Do I Know What Will Sell
Don’t list just any used clothing, you’ll want to list items people want to buy. But how will you know what people are interested in buying? We recommend checking out the Poshmark Blog. Poshmark is one of the largest resale platforms the planet. They went public recently and are valued over $3 billion. The company posts a quarterly update of the most popular brands and items that sell on their platform. Their update includes great information on men’s and women’s fashion in addition to kids, home goods and luxury brands. Here are two graphics they posted recently:
Prep Your Clothes For Sale
Once you’ve chosen the resale platform and set up your account, it’s time to prep your garments. Prepping your clothing for sale online is the same as when you sell to consignment stores, with a few added steps:
- Iron (if necessary)– Appearance is everything when it comes to online selling. Wrinkled clothes will appear dirty even if they’re not.
- Take quality photos – Modern cell phones take great pictures. A DSLR will also do the trick. Photograph in bright, natural light when possible. Also try to use a contrasting background from the color of your garment.
- Measure – How do you expect someone to know how an item that’s been previously worn, washed, and potentially altered will fit? Don’t make the mistake of only sharing the tag size. We created a measurement guide for both eBay and Poshmark. Tailored even created a way to measure a garment in seconds using your phone.
- Be consistent – Pick a spot in your home where photos will look the best. Take a stab at staging like in the image below. This has been known to increase interest in an item as well as the sale price.
You want listings to move quickly and the best way to do this is to price right. Price too high and no one will buy, price too low and you’ll leave money on the table. A simple search for the items you’re selling, or like items, will show example pricing.
Pro tip: consider pricing your clothes a little higher than what you’re willing to accept. Chances are someone will try and knock off a few dollars anyway.
Write Key-Word Rich Descriptions
In simple terms, key-words are what people type into Google to search for something. You’ll want your product description to contain terms people will search for, this way your listings have an opportunity to show up not only on the resale platform you choose, but Google as well. Here’s a list of descriptive terms to put in your listings:
- The brand name
- The season the garment can be worn
- The color
- The style
- The size
2. Sell To Local Consignment Stores
If you’re not in the mood for selling your own items, let someone else handle the selling for you. You’ll make less than you would selling on your own, but you’ll also spend less time doing it. There are two ways to sell used clothing without doing it yourself:
- Sell to local consignment stores
- Send your items to online resale companies (discussed in #3)
You should start the process of selling locally with Google. You’ll want to lookup local clothing consignment stores in your area. Selling to local stores is a great way to support individuals and businesses in your community. If you don’t have any luck with locally owned consignment stores, check out the following US based consignment store brands (listed alphabetically). Click on the names below to see if they have stores in your area:
What You Can Expect To Make
All consignment stores operate using the same business model. They look to sell secondhand clothes that are in good shape, in style and in demand. Given that these are physical stores with employees, they’ll be looking to take a significant chunk of your earning potential to cover overhead and for doing the selling for you. Expect to pay them about 1/3 of 1/3 of your garments original purchase price.
Consider this example: You present them with a well kept Michael Kors jacket you originally paid $200 for. The store will assume they’ll be able to price the item between $60-$70. They’ll take 70% of that and present you with a check for around $22.
Prep Your Clothes For Sale
This may seem like an obvious step, but it is worth mentioning. When you bring your clothes in to sell, you’ll want to present them in their best light.
- Wash and fold your clothes – Consignment stores are not in the business of cleaning clothes, so be sure to bring clothes in washed and folded.
- Check for pit and other types of stains – Eliminate these garments from your consignment pile.
- Carry them in anything but a trash bag – When you see a trash bag what do you think of? Trash. Lug your folded clothes into the store in a laundry basket or a nice crate.
Pro Tip: Sell often. Like every 3 months often. This will keep your clothing stock fresh and in style without allowing you to buildup too much excess inventory.
3. Send Your Clothes To Online Resale Companies
If you’re looking to sell secondhand clothes but put in minimal effort, using a global clothing reseller is your answer. Literally the only thing you’ll need to do is figure out which one will the best place for selling your items. The way these companies work is you request a mail-in kit, which they’ll send to you free of charge. It will contain all the packaging necessary to send them your used apparel. They handle everything else, from photographing to writing product descriptions.
The good news here is you’re helping supply the circular clothing economy. The bad news is you should expect to make very little money, unless you’re selling luxury branded items. Check out this article on one persons experience selling on ThredUP.
Though making money may not be your goal when you decided to sell secondhand clothes. You may be totally fine clearing out your closet in a manner that doesn’t require you to leave your home or deal with people. There is nothing wrong with it either! Another nice thing about cleaning out your closet this way is what ever items they don’t accept, they will usually donate for you. Bang, two birds one stone.
Top Mail-in Resale Companies
We’ve made a list of the top mail-in consignment brands. These companies are online only and some are a hybrid of both mail-away and peer to peer.
The same clothing prep principles apply when sending to an online reseller. They’ll be more strict than your local consignment store as your garments will be competing with tens of thousands of other digital consigners. Of course all three methods of getting rid of old clothing take more effort than tossing items in the garbage. But if we all took a little time to properly dispose of consumer goods, our planet would be a much better place for the generations coming up behind us.