T&T NEWSLETTER EXCLUSIVE: RESELLING Q&A
You’re two months into 2019 and you’re ready to declutter! Great! You watched every single episode of Marie Kondo and you have a pile of clothes on your bed and have been sleeping on your couch as a result. Not so great! I know many of you are ready to start reselling but feel daunted and don’t know where to start. I am here to tell you that selling through your closet and making money is really not that hard; you just need to get started. Once you get the hang of it and start making money, you’ll be hooked. I promise you. It is addicting. Before you do anything, you will first want to read my tips to cleaning out your closet and my tips for selling Poshmark (more resources to come soon!). Once you’ve read those two guides, you’ll want to then read these commonly asked questions direct from fellow Thrift & Tell followers. If you take nothing else away from this, I would recommend not overthinking it. Something is better than nothing, so just start listing and you can always course correct from there. Happy Selling!
Q: How long does it typically take to sell something on Poshmark. I’m not having much luck selling.
A: My biggest advice is give it time. I have so many followers who list items and within a week are discouraged. You must give it time and you must try to simply forget about those items and see what sells. Beyond time, the number two reason your closet is not selling is your prices are too high. The next thing to consider is the photo itself. Did you take a photo of a top, crumpled, lying in a heap in your dark apartment on a weird, stained rug from college? It’s unlikely anyone will want to buy that! Would you? I recommend photographing your items in an appealing way that would catch your own eye if you were scrolling. Take your photos in the morning when the light is bright and aim for a neutral, plain background. I take most of my photos on a sisal rug. You don’t have to be Annie Leibovitz, just try to make the photo appealing.
Overall, patience is also going to be your friend. If you want to get top dollar, it will take finding the right buyer. If you want to get rid of things overnight, price the items below average.
Q: How do you know how to price things?
A: This is one of the most commonly asked questions! Search for the item you’re selling on sites like Tradesy, Poshmark, or The Real Real and see what they have sold for. “Sold” being the operative word here. There are countless people hoping and praying their beat up Louboutins from 2008 will sell for $800. Spoiler alert: they will not. Focus on what has sold in the same category at a similar condition to what you’re listing and start there. For example, search “Chanel espadrilles” and see what comes up under sold (most sites allow you to filter to only show sold items.) It doesn’t matter that there are espadrilles on there for $1000 if they haven’t sold. I think the hardest part of reselling is coming to terms with the fact that some of the items that you paid a lot of money for have a market value of 50% + less. It is sad, but you have to move on. In the future, you can shop the T&T way and buy low and sell high. Until then, just get rid of the stuff that is bogging you down and give yourself a break.
Q: What would you price shirts and blouses from Joie, Equipment? What would you price certain items such as Rag and Bone, Current Elliot, and Frame Jeans?
A: See above.
Q: How do I price items, especially brands like J.Crew or Old Navy, that are in good shape?
A: See above. I will say that for inexpensive brands like Old Navy, H&M, and Forever21, you can test reselling, but you may feel more satisfied donating to a women’s shelter or giving them to a girlfriend who is strapped for cash and needs clothing. You’re going to make maybe $5-15 per item, so with those items I typically give them away. If you’d rather sell, by all means do, because eventually it all adds up but just keep in mind the earnings per unit will be low. J.Crew is marginally better but again expect $10-40/item.
Q: How long do you try to sell an item before accepting a price way below your original asking price?
A: Like many things in life: it depends. Are you desperate to declutter, moving, or have little patience? Then lower it. Or is it stowed away neatly in your basement and far too nice/unique to slash the price? Then keep it as is. You do not need to have majored in Economics to know that price is the driving factor in most things, so if you want to move items faster, lower the price. If the item has been sitting for months on end, it is probably a good indicator that you’ve priced too high. In all things consignment, I recommend you ask yourself, “would I buy this [insert item] used from a stranger at [insert your listing price]? If the answer is a resounding no, lower the damn price!
Q: How do I photograph clothes that no longer fit. I have a ton to sell but don’t know where to start since I can’t model them.
A: I never model clothing! I lay them down on a neutral colored floor. I state the size and how I think it fits (for example if it is a Medium but fits someone who is an XS I state that. You will get people who ask you to measure inseams etc., but I refuse to do that for a pair of $20 jeans. My mentality is , “you’re buying second hand clothes online. Enter at your own risk!” I know that is probably not a kosher response, but that is how I think about it. Overall, clothes are slower sellers than accessories I’ve found since sizing is trickier. That being said, I still think you can make money from clothes and something is better than nothing.
Q: I keep getting “offers” on Poshmark. I have no idea what to accept and what not to accept. What is your strategy?
A: Poshmark allows buyers to negotiate price with the seller by submitting binding offers. It is a bit annoying, as the culture on Poshmark now seems to be that just purchasing at the listed price is somehow a failure on the buyer’s part. What that then means is that you will get a fair amount of low ball offers: think $100 on a Chanel wallet listed for $700. Everyone has their own approach but for me I basically entertain any respectable offer. Think $340 on an item listed at $400. If you declined offers on Poshmark, occasionally you’ll get an email from Poshmark discouraging you from declining. I ignore those. Sometimes you’ll also get someone who really is not getting the hint. You’ll decline their low ball offer, and they’ll come back with another low ball offer. Typically by the second decline they stop. Only once did I have to block someone who would not stop sending me absurdly low offers.
Q: How do you store all these things that may take some time to sell? I’m in a cramped NYC apartment.
A: I don’t live in a McMansion either! I use under bed storage and closets. If the items for sale are really taking over your life, just list them at very competitive prices and they’ll sell quickly. Alternatively, you could bring them all to a consignment store or sell to The Real Real and be done with it. There is no shame in that!
Q: How long do things take to sell? Is it season based?
A: As I have mentioned, price is going to the biggest determinant of how fast your items sell. I have a friend who sells all her designer jeans for $20 to get rid of them and make money quickly. If you list your designer jeans for $100 they may sell, but they’ll likely sit for a long time. It’s hard at times because you think of how much you spent, but if someone can get the same item on sale at a department store at the price you list, they’re not going to buy it used from you. Surprisingly, I’ve found seasons don’t really matter. I’ve sold sweaters in the summer and cover ups in the winter. Tradesy and Poshmark don’t take down your listings, so no harm in putting everything up at once. From there, stow it all away somewhere and forget about it. It will eventually sell.
Q: How do you sell shopping bags, dust bags, boxes, ribbon etc.? How do you know how to price?
A: Yes! People will buy these things! It’s mostly the higher end designers (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Louboutin etc.) that sell. Unfortunately, Stuart Weitzman level boxes and lower do not sell very well. What you can do for those types of boxes is make a set. For example, I sold a ton of random boxes and bags for $15. A woman who was organizing her kid’s closet bought them. For the higher end items, just look as see what has sold in the same category. You’re not going to hit the jackpot with a single box sale, but overtime those small sales add up!
Q: Ugh. I dont have the patience for that. Maybe I should just throw my boxes and bags away?
A: Heck no! If you have too much going on in your life to possibly take on one more task: outsource. Give your unwanted boxes, bags etc. to your kids to sell and let them take a cut or keep all the earnings. Do you have a girlfriend who is strapped for money and willing to work? Give them to her and let her again take a cut or have all the winnings. Just don’t throw them out. It’s a waste.
Q: How do you combat the Poshmark algorithm?
A: I don’t try. I share my listings when I have time, but frankly am too busy with a full time job, my family and friend, and Thrift & Tell to be worrying too much about the algorithm. (Full disclosure: I was unaware there was one! ha!). My items sell fairly fast, so I don’t see any reason to overly complicate things.
Q: Do you opt into the sale promotions on Tradesy?
A: No. I used to because Tradesy absorbed the sale and paid as if the seller purchased the item at full price. If Tradesy would let me pick the items to put on sale, I’d be okay with it, but they do it across your entire closet and I don’t like that.
Q: Is there a better site to sell clothes on versus shoes?
A: In general, I find clothes are harder to sell online than shoes and accessories, because sizing is much more straight forward with shoes than say a dress. I can be 4 different sizes in clothes depending on the brand and cut. That shouldn’t stop you from selling your clothes, but just something to keep in mind. If you’re in a hurry to clear your closet, I recommend consigning with a local consignment store. I think clothes sell faster when the buyers can try them on. You’ll get less at a consignment store, but you’ll be done.
Q: Can I send you my clothes for you sell for me?
A: Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or space right now. If you’re desperate to get rid of things, I recommend a local consignment or an online consignment store.
Q: Is Poshmark better than Ebay?
A: I can’t really answer that question, as I have never sold on Ebay. At some point when I have free time (ha!), I will try and explore Ebay to provide some insight, but the last I checked it confused me. All the offers and bidding were perplexing. Unless something has changed, you also only have active listings for a short period of time. What I like about Poshmark is that I can list it and forget about it. They won’t take my listings down after a certain period of time. Overall, Poshmark can be a true PITA, but shipping and payment are so easy I put up with all the low ball offers etc.
Q: I think I have great pics, great prices, and really solid pieces, and they don’t sell. What am I missing?
A: If the above is true, the missing component is time. Give it time. If it’s been 3-6+ months and nothing has budged, I am going to question some of the above assertions. It just doesn’t make sense that if after adequate passage of time nothing is moving, if indeed these items are fantastic and priced competitively. Have a friend look at your closet and see what her feedback is. Likely you need to lower the prices. I know it can be hard because you think of how much money you spend, but sometimes you have to face the music.
That is all for now! I will continue to update this as I get more repeat questions. As always, I love to hear about your resale successes, so be sure to message me on Instagram or email me when you hit your stride.