Maybe you splurged a little too hard at that sample sale, or maybe you’re just cutting out some extra room in your closet in the name of spring cleaning. Regardless, the online resale market is thriving these days, and there's more ways than ever to make a bit of extra cash in the name of wardrobe minimalism.
Of course we’re all too familiar with the infamous resellers that suck the life out of Supreme lineups or box you out of a major release with bots, but thanks to the internet, there are tons of ways you can shift your unwanted garms for a bit of extra cash.
From finding the right marketplace, to creating a clean and inviting listing, here’s some tips on selling clothes online, complete with illustrations by Tokyo artist Yu Nagaba, who created the below character especially for Highsnobiety.
Wanting to buy, not sell, some grails? Here's everything you need to know about copping secondhand gear online.
Find Your Marketplace
The greatest thing about the online shopping scene is how varied it is — it's a seemingly never-ending experience, filled with tons and tons of fire jawnz. That said, when you're trying to sell clothes online, all that variety is exactly what’s going to get in the way of you making a sale.
Before you start drafting the perfect product description, you should think about where you’re most likely to make to a sale. Tentpole streetwear labels like BAPE, Palace and Supreme have dedicated members-only Facebook groups for reselling.
Wanting to shift some Rick Owens, Junya, Raf, Supreme, and...well, just about any piece of clothing this side of J.Crew? Grailed is a great choice. If you're trying to sell something really niche, there's clued-up shoppers to be found on Reddit and StyleForum. Deadstock sport team tees? You’ll probably run into more fans on somewhere like eBay.
Basically, there’s something out there for every jawn. Finding the right customer will increase your chances of making a sale, and probably allow you to get a higher price, too.
Try An App
This being 2016, there's a few dedicated apps for selling clothes online that you could try, too.
Grailed has its very-own mobile version, which syncs to your web account. You can definitely sell your...well, grails, through the app like you can on its website, but it's also worth taking it for a spin so you can see how things look from a buyer's perspective (know your enemy and all that).
Depop is a great place for selling lower-priced garms and streetwear — you won't have much luck shifting some Haider Ackermann or Rick Owens, but if you're wanting to clear out a few Stussy tees, then this is the place to be.
If you happen to be selling some womenswear, you could try Poshmark (shout out to all the Highsnobiety-reading ladies out there).
Of course, there's eBay's own app. Nothing new here, it's just eBay on your phone. If you're looking to sell some generic, run-of-the-mill stuff, this would be a good bet.
Describe Your Gear
The product description is your greatest advocate - and your best bet at convincing someone to buy your piece.
This block of text shouldn’t be an essay, but it should include all the necessary information. Essential points to establish include the garment's sizing (preferably with measurements), shipping info, condition, original tags and the feel of the fabric.
You’ll also want to quickly point out any defects or alterations that the garment might have. Online shoppers are as picky as they come, and unless a stain or imperfection is microscopic, you can bet your seller rating that you’re going to be called out on it if you don’t state the facts up front.
Giving a nuanced breakdown of the garment’s fit (“shirt runs large,” or “heavyweight fabric”) will help prevent any extra questions, thereby delaying what could be a simple sale. If there’s a logical reason for why you’re reselling the piece—say you bought something on sale and decided you didn’t like it after the return deadline lapsed—then that may be worth noting as well.
You'll also want to explain if you're accepting returns or not, and how you'll be shipping the garment — pretty much everyone expects a tracking number these days.
Honesty helps make your listing relatable and trustworthy. The more information you provide, the less thinking the customer will have to do = the more likely they are to cop (in principle).
A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Bucks
This where your listing lives or dies. A good set of product shots is so important that the people over at eBay even made a video about it.
Your photos should give viewers a full look at the item. That means you should include a full front shot of the garment, a full back shot, and a shot of the tag. That's the bare minimum.
Now, there are a few other things that you’re going to want to include. For the sake of your seller rating, if there are any noteworthy defects on the piece, you’re going to want to photograph them too. Nothing is going to ruin your reputation faster than selling what’s basically damaged goods under the guise of “NWOT” (aka, new without tags).
Oh, and in the case of runway or webstore images, tread with caution. On its face, this can be a great way to provide clean images if you've not got a good camera setup. However, sellers can abuse this to disguise defects or issues with their products.
If you're going to use professional photos of your garment, make sure you also include some shots that you took IRL. Exclusively put up images direct from some other webshop, and—unless you’re selling Supreme on a Thursday—you’ll likely have to send a buyer some personal product shots anyway.
Make Sure the Price is Right
Of course, this is going to depend entirely upon the market and rarity of the piece, but your pricing strategy depends on the platform you're using.
Naturally, eBay’s default, “auction-style” interactions means that pricing is in flux until literally the last minute. Grailed users have a highball-lowball strategy, where sellers mark up their goods to a high value and knock them down gradually, as a 10% price drop bumps products to the top of the feed. Message boards and Facebook groups often have strict pricing rules, and usually have dedicated followings that know the right price for pretty much anything.
First impressions are everything, and you don't want to scare off potential buyers with a rip-off price, but you don't want to lose out on cash by selling something for less than it's worth either. If you're selling via an auction or bid system (a la eBay or Grailed), it's probably a good idea to set your asking price higher than what you're actually expecting. On the flip side, if you're selling directly to people through a group or message board, it's probably better to be a bit more realistic with your asking price.
You'll also want to factor in shipping costs here — you'll be eating into your profits if you need to ship your piece to the other side of the world but haven't thought how much it'll actually cost to deliver it.
Ok, so you’ve written up an honest description. You’ve taken clear photos of your garment, and you’ve established when, where, and how much it’s going to cost to ship your listing to the lucky shopper. Now you play the waiting game.
Fast forward, and now you’ve got a buyer lined up. If you're lucky, they'll cop right off the listing price, but it's highly likely that you'll have to do some negotiating to establish a final price, shipping costs, payment methods etc.
This whole process depends entirely upon how long you’ve been waiting for a buyer, and what you think your chances are of getting a better offer. Obviously, if your listing is sitting even after you’ve talked it out unsuccessfully with several interested people, you could be the one negotiating your way out of the deal. It’s exactly why, on platforms like Grailed, you have a clear option to drop the price by a certain percentage in order to recirculate your listing. Long story short, be optimistic—but also realistic.
Oh, and if no one bids on your item long after you wished you'd sold it? Start from scratch in a new marketplace. You know what they say: “If at first you don’t succeed…” Either way, this isn’t a science. Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you have to make your own luck.
Selling clothes online is all about placement and patience. Unless you have a super-hyped item people are dying to cop (or you’re just incredibly lucky), you’ll be playing a waiting game. Don’t overvalue your product (but don't undervalue it either), and don’t underestimate the time and work that goes into getting your garment out of your closet and into someone else's. Do your homework, find out what your stuff is worth and where the best place to sell it is, present it properly. Basically, try to look at things from a buyer’s perspective, and you'll be rolling in (some) cash in no time.
For more shopping guides, take a look at our Check Before You Buy series.