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How to Sell Vintage Clothing
Selecting and Preparing Clothing to SellSelling OnlineSelling at Local Shops and AuctionsArticle SummaryQuestions & AnswersRelated ArticlesReferences
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Vintage clothing is popular with many people because of its quality, unique nature and history. If you have old vintage clothing lying around, you can sell it for profit. First, browse your wardrobe for items you no longer use. You can also buy marked down vintage clothing at local outlets and sell it for a higher price. One of the most convenient ways to sell vintage clothing is online. However, if you prefer face-to-face sales, you can also sell in your local market.
1Selecting and Preparing Clothing to Sell
1Browse your wardrobe for items you no longer wear. If you've collected vintage clothing in the past, you may have some old items lying around your closet.
- Oftentimes, people buy a vintage outfit for a special occasion. You may have worn a vintage dress or suit to a theme party or a wedding, for example. Be honest with yourself. Are you ever going to wear this item again? If the answer is no, it may be a good idea to sell.
- You could also talk to older relatives, who may have vintage clothing on hand. If your grandparents are not interested in hanging on to old outfits, they may not mind donating them to you.
- Check places where you may have stashed old clothes in the past. Browse your attic, basement, and other places where you store old things.
2Select quality material. Not all vintage clothing is made the same. Items are more likely to sell if they're made from quality material. Vintage clothing is often seen as a collector's item and may be priced high. Therefore, buyers look for the best materials when making purchasing decisions.
- Artificial fabrics are notoriously difficult to clean. If an outfit is in good quality otherwise, you may still be able to make a sale. However, you should consider selling this item at a lower price to entice buyers.
- Higher quality fabrics, like wool and cotton, tend to sell more easily. You can also sell at a higher price due to their quality.
3Look for stains and holes. As vintage clothing is older, stains and imperfections are common. You may notice stains under the armpits and small holes here and there. An outfit with a small imperfection can still be sold, but you'll want to correct the problem before attempting to sell.
- Check for any obvious stains. If you notice sweat stains under the arm pits or any other wear and tear accrued over time, see if the outfit can be cleaned. Attempt to remove the stain using a cleaning method appropriate for the given material.
- Small holes, tears, and missing buttons may be fixable. You can sew on a missing button or patch up a tear.
- Some items may be too damaged to sell. If an item of clothing has stains that will not come out or very large rips, you may be better off tossing it.
4Consider buying to sell. You do not have to rely on your old clothing alone. Sometimes, you can find items to sell in local markets. At a thrift store, a vintage dress may be priced well under what it's worth. You can also look into local flea markets or do clothing swaps with friends.
- Avoid vintage stores. You're unlikely to find something you can sell for profit. The owners have a certain level of expertise, and will be selling items at an appropriate price. You will only be able to sell back the item at the rough price you paid.
5Decide how to price clothing. Once you've gathered clothing to sell, you'll have to make decisions on pricing. Pricing is somewhat subjective, and you may find you don't have an exact method when it comes to pricing clothing. Each piece may have to be individually priced based on its worth.
- Do some research to see how items are generally priced. Browse online outlets to get a sense of the average price. You could also visit some local shops and look at prices. Break down price by type of clothing. You may find a vintage dress generally goes for $45 to $60, while a vintage blouse runs between $20 and $30.
- Consider profit. If you bought an item, you'll want to sell it for slightly more than you paid. If you had to repair an item from your closet, make sure the price outweighs the cost of repairs.
6Take measurements of clothing. Before you sell items, measure them. Instead of listing sizes, it's a good idea to list specific measurements. Sizing charts have changed greatly over time. This is especially important if you're selling online, as potential buyers have no means to try on an outfit.
- Dresses are measured at the shoulders, hips, waist, and bust.
- You can measure the waist of pants, as well as their length. You may also want to consider measuring shoulders and waist size for blouses and shirts.
1Research different outlets. There are many outlets available for selling vintage clothing online. Before you begin to sell, research your options and decide what works for you.
- You can sell vintage clothes on many mainstream websites. Auction sites like eBay can be helpful. You can set a base price and let potential buyers bid. You could end up making a good sum if two buyers want the same outfit. Sites like Etsy can also work, although bidding is infrequent.
- You can also look into specialty sites. These are auction sites and websites specifically designed for the sale of vintage clothing. Such websites can be helpful as you'll be reaching your target marketplace instantly.
Create an account on your chosen website. Once you've decided where you'll be selling, create an account on your chosen website. This should not take long. Usually, you need to provide basic contact information like your name and address. You may also have to create a brief profile where you explain a little about your history and background. You can write something simple, just stating you love vintage clothing and are looking to sell some extras from your wardrobe.
3Take clear photographs. You'll need to put up some pictures of the items you're selling online. It's important that you get clear photographs. Buyers will want to see your outfits from multiple angles so they can decide whether or not to buy. Do not rely on a phone camera. Use a high quality camera to take photos of a given item from a variety of angles.
- If you don't have a great camera, see if you can borrow one from a friend. If you're not particularly adept at technology, see if a friend would be willing to take some pictures for you.
- It may be helpful to have someone model clothing items for you. It may be easier to get a sense of how a dress may look like if you can see it on a person.
4Build a brand. If you want to sell vintage clothing professionally, you'll have to build a brand for yourself. Your brand is how you market yourself. Think of a unique story or style. There are many ways to brand yourself that increase your sales.
- You should get on social media outlets. Link things like your Twitter and Instagram to your online selling profiles. You can include pictures of upcoming items, as well as behind the scenes looks at you preparing items for sale.
- A blog can also be a nice touch. Try starting a blog about vintage clothing. Talk about the history of vintage clothing and your adventures shopping for clothing and preparing them for sale.
- Let your personality show. Drop references to TV shows, books, and movies. If you have a sense of humor, let it out in your social media. On occasion, post something amusing from your personal life. This will entice more followers and therefore more sales.
Provide accurate details about the clothing. Honesty is important when building a reputation online. You want to make sure you have buyers' trust. Most sites allow users to leave reviews. If you were dishonest about an item's quality, a buyer may call you out. If an item is slightly stained or worn down, be honest about it. Many buyers don't mind purchasing a fixer-upper, but they'll want to know what they're getting themselves into ahead of time. Honest sales will allow you to gain a good reputation, enticing more buyers in the future.
Market yourself. You should find ways to market yourself. You can start by posting links to what you're selling on sites like Facebook. You can also get involved in online forums where people discuss vintage clothing. You can get to know other sellers, network, and advertise your products. You should also maintain active social media profiles advertising your brand.
3Selling at Local Shops and Auctions
1Research local outlets. You may prefer the simplicity of selling locally. You do not have to worry about shipping fees and marketing yourself if you're selling your clothing to local outlets. Browse the market before choosing a place to sell your items.
- Look at local thrift stores and vintage stores. You can ask for advice on where to sell, and you may even get an offer for your clothing items.
- You could also see if there are any small local auctions happening around your town. It may be a good idea to sell at a local auction, as bidders may compete with one another. This could result in you getting a fairly high price for an item.
Browse typical prices for similar items. Before you sell an item locally, browse the local market. See what the typical going rate is for, say, a vintage dress or a vintage suit. You want to make sure, when you do choose to sell, that you get a good deal. Educate yourself going into any sale so you'll be able to use your knowledge to negotiate.
Be careful with thrift store and consignment shops. Thrift stores and consignment stores often purchase old clothing for resale. However, be careful when selling at such places. You'll often end up selling your clothing for less than half the retail price. This is where educating yourself can come in handy. Always negotiate with the teller, showing him or her you know how much a piece is worth. While a store will never buy an item for its full retail price, you can work your way up to a higher percentage of the retail value.
4Set up a booth at a local fair or flea market. If there are any local fairs or flea markets coming into town, this can be a great place to sell. You'll be able to sell your items at their full retail value.
- Research a fair beforehand to make sure you have the right audience. A craft fair may draw in buyers interested in vintage clothing. However, a fair designed for children is probably not the best option.
- Look into the regulations at a given fair to figure out how to sign up and set up your booth. You'll need basic supplies, like a cash box, a table, and some chairs. You'll also need clothing hangers to display your vintage clothes.
Do TV studios (such as those in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles) buy vintage clothing?
If you find the right buyers, yes. Unfortunately, many of them can afford to make new designs that look vintage for their shows.
Ask a Question
- It may be a good idea to google the brands and types of clothing you're selling. Providing a little information and history to buyers can make your clothing more appealing.
- Some places forbid the resale of used underwear and such clothing. Know the local laws and be sure to comply.
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