Let’s get selling!
So, you have a pile of clothes, and it’s time to start listing them online. I don’t know about you, but my days of market stalls are over – online is the way to go. The thing about being online though is that the customer can’t feel the fabric or try a top on for size… can they?
Well, virtually they can, that is, if you write a product description to knock their socks off. Buyers want to know what they are getting, and as a seller, you’ve got a reputation to keep up. Let’s get it happening so that the buyer is happy and you feel confident in what you are selling.
First up, spend some time examining the item yourself. You might like to take notes – I use my laptop so I can copy and paste information into my description. Some things to look for:
Sorry to start with the negatives, but this should be the first thing you look for, whether you are selling new or old stock. There is nothing worse than photographing your items, measuring them and then finding an awful stain somewhere, rendering it unsellable. If you do find a stain, consider soaking it to see if it will lift, but if not… well, I’ll leave that one up to you. If you do decide to continue selling the item, you’ll need to describe the stain as much as you can in addition to photos.
Again, tears happen – different fabric runs easily, lace is notorious for catching on things, and so on. You’ll need to decide if you should still sell it, and if you decide to go ahead, describe the tear in as much detail as possible as well as taking photos. In your photo, consider placing a ruler or coin next to it so the buyers can see how big the blemish is.
Any repairs that could be made before selling
I recently bought a top to resell which was lovely, but had buttons missing. I’ve recently purchased the replacement buttons and I will sew them back on to the top later. That’s about as far as my sewing abilities extend to, I know my limits! On the other hand, if you want to sell something that can be repaired, consider taking it in to an alterations store or dressmaker to have it fixed. You’ll need to include this in the cost of your item, but for something pricey, it could be well worth the effort.
If you have made a replacement or alternation to the garment, make sure you tell the customer beforehand through the product description. In my case, the replacement buttons were black, not white like they were on the top originally. Details are everything, and although I know my black buttons look amazing, the customer may not agree.
It doesn’t really matter how old your item is, but the condition should be commented on. Often you’ll see BNWT (brand new with tags) listed with items. Usually these are sellers who have buyer’s remorse, or people who sell new items. BNWOT (brand new without tags) apply to all items which are new and have had tags removed. Both types of new clothing should be in perfect condition.
Customers can be more willing to by preloved items. ‘Preloved’ is a nice way of saying used. Some people may refer to clothing as a retro or vintage. Don’t get too confused by these though! Etsy state that vintage clothing is anything older than 20 years, though that does seem relatively recent for vintage items. A retro item, like it’s name suggests, is retrospective. It could be vintage, but more likely a retro item is a reproduced or lookalike garment to reflect a certain style or era.
If you are reselling clothes you have stored at home, consider including a comment in the product description: ‘this item comes from a pet and smoke free home’. If you do have pets, you can say something like ‘this item comes from a home of cat lovers, but our cats do not visit the closet’. This makes it fair for people who have allergies.
People often know that sizing of clothes can be super inconsistent, even so, it’s still used as a basic guide for shoppers. If you sell a particular brand, or your buyer knows it well, they are probably well versed in what the sizing looks like on. If you are selling a brand that often runs small, or makes clothing a little larger than usual, you can tell the customers this in the product description.
You could also find the size guide from the retailer’s website and post this on the description so that the buyers know what typical sizes look like in that particular brand.
It’s really important that you do list the measurements of the items you want to sell. It helps increase sales and saves the customer having to question you for more information. It would be easier for all involved if they already knew the size.
People will often want to know length and width of different items, measured from different points
You can use Size.ly to list all of the measurements for you in a clear and concise way. They use diagrams of the items and add your measurements to the diagram to help the buyer. It looks much neater than a long list of measurements and there isn’t any confusion about where to measure from either.
As you are measuring, you might also find that an alteration to the item has taken place before you owned it. There’s no reason you can’t sell an item with shortened hems, but you need to tell the customer in your product description – this is of great importance. You should also consider lowering your selling price.
The stretched measurement is difficult to do. You’ll need to enlist the help of someone to hold the item stretched and taut while you get out the measuring tape.
If you’re selling an item that isn’t clothing, such as a handbag, I would include the measurements for these also.
I sell a lot of swing dresses, so this will be my example. A swing dress is a style of the item which people commonly search for, assuming they know what it’s called. There are also different types of swing dresses, and if I know what type it is, I’ll include it. I often sell full circle dresses with a halter neck, so I include this as well. The length of the dress and type of halter neck (does it tie or button up) do really matter to people, so I would include this also.
If you’re going to sell a sheer top or a mini dress in the middle of winter, make a suggestion of how the buyer could wear this. ‘This mini dress would look great coupled with leggings and a cute cardigan’. If you are also selling leggings and the cardigan, you could link these.
Assume that the buyer has no idea what a swing dress is. They’ll probably do some searching for themes: 50s, rockabilly, retro, vintage, polka dot dress. The list could go on, but you get my drift. Include some themes your item might apply to in the description.
Also, maybe you would wear a swing dress in your every day wear, but some people would just wear it for a costume at a party. If you know your item has the possibility to be used as a costume, write this in as well. Many times I have sold items which people have wanted to buy for a dress up party that weekend, and it has made me rethink how I list items too.
When was your item sold or created? If it is recent, you can tell your buyer a short story about this, such as ‘I purchased this peasant top in Spring 2014 at a local retailer’. This tells your customers that you owned and wore the item and you’re not just flipping it.
If you are flipping, no shame there, I’m a flipper myself, you should try to work out when the item was sold. For me, a giveaway of the 2000s is an uneven hem or ruffles at the bottom of a skirt. You could list this if you wanted to, but people are less likely to buy it because it’s a little too recent to be vintage. Maybe the item is worth holding onto for a little longer instead. This is one of the tricks of finding items to resell – some things are worth leaving on the thrift shop rack, and others are worth grabbing just in case they come back into fashion soon.
If your item is vintage, this is a big selling point. Vintage clothing is very chic and items can sell fast, assuming they are genuine and not reproduction.
If your item is sold by a brand, this is super important. Make sure you list the brand or designer of the item in the title and description. Some people will only buy brands, and some people will only buy certain brands of particular items.
Maybe your item is handmade or doesn’t have a brand because it’s sold through large chain stores. You can still list this with your item: ‘This size 10 jacket was purchased from Target in spring 2010,’ if you like, but it won’t be a big drawcard the same way a designer or brand might be.
Now, get writing!
So you’ve got everything you need to get your product listed on a website. Let’s do it. Here is my example – maybe you’ll buy the top for me so I don’t have to list it.
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