There comes a time in the life of any closet where things just aren’t working out anymore. Everything clashes, things don’t fit like they used to, and those sequined micro-shorts you splurged on have remained (mysteriously) unworn. You know it’s high time for a style renovation.
Selling clothes you no longer need or want is a great way to make extra money. But there’s a lot to consider when purging your wardrobe and typing up those eBay listings. The Pulp Zine is here to help!
Step 1: Cleanse Your Closet
This is the all-important liquidation that sets the groundwork for the future of your wardrobe. There are the obvious pieces–favorite jeans, go-to sweaters–that you don’t even need to take off the hanger. But what we most often get caught up on are the sentimental pieces, whether or not they serve us.
This month at The Pulp Zine, we’re talking nostalgia, and clothes can be some of the most powerful nostalgia-conductors of all. A t-shirt from a former girlfriend or a hoodie from your first concert can conjure up some very real emotions. Spend some time considering what’s truly important to you and think of how these clothes could possibly help someone else. Setting rules like “For every one nostalgic item I keep, I’ll toss three” can really help move the process along.
Blogger Gala Darling wrote an excellent series on Wardrobe Taming a couple of years ago. It’s a great jumping off point for anyone remixing their closet. You’ll be surprised how cathartic this process can be!
Step 2: To Sell or Not to Sell
Though you should definitely get rid of that 2004 Jonas Brothers World Tour tee, you’re probably not going to find much of a resale market for it. Here’s where you separate things into Recycle, Donate, and Sell categories.
The Recycle pile is reserved for things that are damaged, permanently stained, or full of holes. Keep these clothes to the side and find a place where you can recycle fabric. The Council for Textile Recycling has a locator you can use to find the nearest drop-off point.
The Donate pile is for clothes that are in fair condition, but aren’t sellable. Like the aforementioned Jo Bros t-shirt, this section is best for clothes and accessories you got for free at events, children’s items, pajamas, and basics.
What you choose for the Sell pile should be in great condition, washed (unless unworn), and marketable. If it’s from a brand people will recognize, even better. But with some marketing magic, vintage and off-brand clothes can definitely sell just as well.
Step 3: Choose Your Selling Platform
There’s no shortage of available e-commerce platforms when it comes to selling your stuff. But choosing the right one for you can make a huge difference in the success of Operation: New Wardrobe. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a few:
Pros: eBay is great for offloading a bunch of stuff in a short amount of time. Start your bids low and you will get rid of those ill-fitting Urban Outfitters gauchos by Friday. Even if you sell something for just $0.99, you’ll still make $3.99 from shipping! Plus, it’s completely free to sign up and sell.
Cons: In comparison to other sites, you might not make as much money due to bidding wars being out of your control. So while the flow of sales is usually consistent, the money you’re actually making can vary pretty widely from week to week.
Pros: Storenvy allows you to create your own online storefront for free. You can customize the layout, categories, tags, and even add things like an “About” page if you’re feeling extra fancy. Their customer service is also quite fantastic. If customization and presentation is important to you, Storenvy is the way to go.
Cons: Not many people take advantage of Storenvy’s Marketplace feature, meaning that your shop isn’t very likely to be randomly stumbled upon as it is on eBay. It’s really best for someone who wants to create a store they will promote elsewhere, like tumblr or Facebook.
Pros: Poshmark is a shopping app that turns buying and selling old clothes into an Instagram-like experience. It’s insanely straightforward and easy to get all of your listings up. Best of all, Poshmark handles the shipping. If someone buys one of your items, Poshmark sends you a pre-paid package that eliminates post office struggles (which are very real).
Cons: As a new and unique platform, Poshmark can be hit or miss. Some people have reported incredible success, while others say their listings go forever unnoticed. To succeed on Poshmark, it seems like you have to be willing to promote and network in order to get your virtual boutique off the ground.
A Note About Offline Selling: Don’t forget that there are great clothing exchanges all over. Places like Buffalo Exchange will give you cash or store credit upfront. Though you can make more money selling the same clothes online, clothing exchanges are always an option for the quickest turnaround.
Step 4: Create Amazing Listings
Any e-commerce maven will tell you the ultimate key to selling anything is to create an amazing listing. This means you need to step up your photo game, write detailed and interesting descriptions, and generally make your clothes look like something worth buying.
For your photos, try and hunt down a picture of the item being modeled. Often, a quick Google Image search featuring the branch and description of the item can pull up pictures, even from years ago, of store’s webstore pictures.
If you can’t find the original pictures, or if you’re selling vintage, you’ll need to take the pictures yourself. Lighting, styling, and visibility are all key. Etsy has written a Guide to Photography and Product Photography for Beginners, both of which offer awesome insight. Don’t worry about needing a $2000 camera–set up a great shot and take the pictures with your phone! I promise no one will know.
When it comes to your product descriptions, the more information the better. The more you can create a clear image of the product, the more likely someone will feel it’s worth their money. Make sure to include any and all measurements, styling suggestions, and description of the fabric, and care instructions. Feel free to exclude “One time I got Marinara sauce on the collar but my mom got it out so no worries.”
Step 5: Promote
Now that you have a fabulous new webstore, it’s time to make sure people know about it! Use Facebook, tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram to share pictures and info about what you’re selling. Bonus: If your friends see something they like, you can just trade in person and won’t even have to pay for shipping.
Step 6: Reinvest in Your Wardrobe
Now that you’re raking in the $$$, it’s time to reinvest in creating the wardrobe of your dreams. Whether you’ve been saving to buy a pair of long-coveted Yohji Yamamoto Tabi Booties (not speaking from personal experience or anything), looking for a vintage winter coat, or you want to get brand-new basics, the fashion world is now your oyster!
When shopping, consider checking out some of the websites where you’re selling your wares. You’re an awesome human being selling your stuff out there, so chances are there’s someone else who is selling exactly what you want in return! You’ll be supporting the network of Stylish Babes Worldwide.
Remember to stay organized with your listings. It can be easy to get tangled up in listings, messaging buyers, and keeping your PayPal account neat and tidy. Record your sales and earnings in a spreadsheet and monitor them regularly. You’ll be grateful you did when you’re building a fashion empire by next month.
Share your stores in the comments or on The Pulp Zine Facebook page. We can have one big TPZ clothing exchange!
Images: Charlotte Powell/Flickr