In order to raise funds for a second pair of Clydes, I posted my ES Harper tunic up on Poshmark last night for $140 (it’s currently on sale brand new for $158). By the next morning I had already gotten an offer for $100. I counter-offered. It ultimately sold for $120. ~$20 goes to Poshmark, and ~$100 goes to me. Wow, that was fast!
A year ago, I sold pants from ES on Poshmark within one week of posting it for nearly the same price as retail. It’s impressive how easy ES is to re-sell and makes me feel better about buying more ES, knowing that I could probably make my money back if I grow tired of it. I think people are willing to pay high prices for used items to avoid the long ES made-to-order wait times.
On a little bit of a high from making such a quick sale, I decided to walk over to my local thrift store to sell a few more things. I had read reviews on Yelp about how this particular thrift store was very selective in what they buy. Some reviewers complained that the associates were snobby and cold. Meanwhile, people who shopped there boasted about finding great deals on designer clothes.
Thrift stores pretty much rob you, but the trade off is they’re quick, convenient, and yield instant cash. The clothes I wanted to sell weren’t big ticket items and they wouldn’t bring in much money from eBay or Poshmark either so I felt it wasn’t worth the effort to photograph, post, package, and send them. But I felt that they were good enough to sell and didn’t want to just recycle them or drop them off at Goodwill either.
The 5 items I brought to the thrift store were:
- a wool work dress from Zara (that I bought 9 years ago)
- an army green trench coat/dress from Zara
- an Objects Without Meaning patterned maxi dress
- a leather bag from Amazon / a knock off of Meghan Markle’s Chloe bag
- Slouchy white chinos from Everlane
To maximize the chances of selling, I made sure all my items looked pristine. I ironed, lint rolled, and carefully folded each item into a neat pile. I placed the leather bag in a dust cover bag (from the Real Real). And placed everything in a sturdy paper bag. Then I dressed myself up in the outfit above.
When I arrived at the thrift store, I was the third woman in line to sell items. The first lady brought in two Whole Foods paper bags full of clothes (the paper bags were torn and overflowing) + 1 black trash bag full of clothes. The lady was sweating and unkempt and had said that she spent all day cleaning out her closet. The sales associate rummaged through her stuff. In the end, everything was rejected. The lady then asked for directions to the nearest Goodwill and went on her way, very disappointed. The second woman in line brought in two huge tote bags overstuffed with clothes that weren’t even folded. Many of the clothes still had hangers on them, like they were just ripped out of her closet. They turned down everything except for one pair of shoes.
Then it was my turn. The sales associate looked at my stuff with relief. She smiled and said she would look through everything before telling me what she would take. She commented on how much she loved the brand Objects without Meaning and gave me a nod of respect. She also loved the Chloe knock off purse and commented on how she got an instant whiff of that nice leather smell when she opened the dust bag. She commented on how cute the army green trench coat was and asked me how I wore it, like a jacket or like a dress? And I told her I’ve done both. I don’t think she was too impressed with the other stuff, but I think because she was impressed by a couple of my items and saw that everything was neat and clean, she decide to buy them all. In the end, I only made about $40 in cash (33% of the sticker price).
I thought maybe I’d sell one or two things, but not all 5! I think my success had a lot to do with presentation. Observing the other two women in front of me taught me that if you stuff your clothes in trash bags, it will look like trash. Kind of a no brainer. And imagine how the associate feels about rummaging through huge bags of mostly junk. It’s a lot of work without much return. I imagine they’ll get frustrated and be more likely to assume it’s all bad.
It probably helps to keep the number of items low, to neatly package everything, and to mix in at least one high end item to elevate everything else. This is actually my first time selling my stuff at a thrift store in person, so I’m not an expert, but I felt like I learned a lot just by observing and thinking about it critically. Overall, it was fun. I might do it again.
7 thoughts on “outfit: Today I sold 6 items of clothing, and earned $140.”
Good for you! I sold a fair amount of clothing in consignment stores once-upon-a-time (luckily that phase of my life is over now, and I only go on occasion to sell a few items), and I can say that while things being clean and well presented is important, the brand and style is also critical. They generally want brands a little more “elevated” or “fashion” than, say, Target, and things that are on-trend. Each store will have its guidelines for the look they like to present. Also, they tend not to pick up basics, like plain t-shirts for example (unless maybe it’s from a fancy brand?). Oh, and they usually buy within season to avoid the need to store.
I have to imagine that wading through several bags full of junk doesn’t put the sales associate in the most receptive frame of mind for buying your stuff though, as you say!
All good points. The sales associate is human and subject to the same psychological influences as everybody else.
it is *so* satisfying to sell used clothes, I think! I usually do it on eBay. sometimes it takes a while for something to sell, but I’ve gotten good prices for a range of things, from simple muji shirts to designer items. of course I love getting a little bit of money for making space in my closet. but I also love the feeling that the item is definitely going to a new home where it’s wanted and will hopefully be used.
True. Even if something sells for very little money. It feels good knowing someone else will use it.
Congrats! I think selling in person has a lot to do with how you look/are dressed. A friend of mine always does better than me and I think it’s because she looks cooler.
Oh yes, it must. The whole process is full of social judgment. It’s kind of icky…
Interesting thoughts on the presentation for selling at thrift stores. The one near me is always slammed and you sort of leave your bag for them to go through without you. I bet having fewer, nicely stacked and pressed items definitely makes a difference.