If you’re like most of us, you have dozen(s) of items you need to part with for one or a number of reasons. If you start by selling items you outgrown, followed by those fashion mistakes you never ever wore, and the items you haven’t worn in a year or two, you’ve got enough inventory to test the market and see if you want to turn this into more than just a way to earn some money for a summer vacation, or a certain something you been craving.
If you’re good at it, you can figure a way to make money at this on an ongoing basis. Once you’ve sold all your items, offer to help a friend or coworker sell their unwanted items, for a small commission or fee. Another way to get more inventory is to shop local estate sales, thrift shops or consignment stores for good items with resale potential. With the experience you gained selling your own items, you’ve gotten at least a basic feel for what’s hot and what’s not. Like any skill, you’ll get better at it in time, and pretty soon, you’ll be surprised how much you’re making.
A key to your success will be finding the best online method, site, or app for selling your items. All the programs are unique in some way. Any even where they’re similar, they each have a different set of shoppers that frequent their site, so definitely check out more than one site to see where you get the best results.
We did some upfront work for you, and for us. We all have items we need to sell and a need for an extra dollar or two. So we spent some time checking out online options for selling clothes. WE compared the ease of use, the commission we’d receive, how soon we’d get paid, the amount of time required from us, and finally, the online buzz. We found three sites/apps we’re going to try and a few others we’re going to stay away from.
We don’t profess to be know it alls, that’s why we’re asking for your input. If you’re had experience either positive or negative, with online clothing sells, tell us about it. We’ll post this story on our website and we hope you’ll add your comments.
Here are our top three picks!
For all of our label snobs out there, Tradesy is a website with a smartphone app exclusively for buying/selling lightly used designer items. Downloading the app and creating an account is free, but there is a selling fee for every item sold through Tradesy. For any items sold for $50 or less the seller will lose a flat commission fee of $7.50 to Tradesy. Items over $50 have a 14.9% commission rate. Adding your listing to Tradesy is easy: upload a few photos of your item, fill out the information, leave a short but detailed description, and finally name your price.
One feature on Tradesy that is really useful for sellers is the price calculator; this feature estimates a good selling price for your item based on similar items being sold on the market currently. When your item has sold, Tradesy will provide a free box and a printable, prepaid shipping label for you to send your item to your customer. You as the seller will see one additional charge of 2.9% if you choose to cash your earnings out to a bank account or Paypal account. The only way to avoid this final additional charge is to use your earnings as Tradesy credit.
No, we didn’t forget the men. For male readers interested in making a quick buck off of some old clothes, this app features a men’s clothing section. Poshmark is a website and app available for free download on Apple and android devices that features clothing for women, men, and children. Making an account is free, but Poshmark does keep a commission on every item sold.
For all sales under $15, there’s a flat commission fee of $2.95. All sales over $15 experience a commission rate of 20%. To sell an item on Poshmark, upload a cute photo of your item, fill out the information, leave a description disclosing any damage, and name your price. Buyers and sellers can interact one-on-one—buyers can make offers on the price and negotiate with sellers. So, on this site it might be a good idea to mark your item a little above your desired selling point. After an item has sold, Poshmark will email you the prepaid shipping label, and you just pack your item and take it to the post office. Sellers can withdraw their total earnings at any time in the app for no extra charge.
Vinted is another downloadable app available for smartphone. You can make an account, and upload a listing all free of charge. Vinted’s only features women’s clothing, but one feature that is unique to Vinted is the swap—users can exchange one of their items for something in someone else’s closet. Because of this, Vinted seems to have the most interaction between the buyer and seller. Like the other sites mentioned before, Vinted does have a seller’s commission fee of 19% of the item’s final selling price (The maximum seller’s fee is $5, and the minimum is $1). For most items, this commission rate is slightly better than Poshmark, but keep in mind that Vinted does have fewer users, and therefore a smaller audience to see your closet.
To sell an item on Vinted, upload a few pictures, fill out the information and leave a description, then name your price. If you are unsure of how much your item should sell for, Vinted’s price calculator can help you find a good price to make your items a value but still allow you to make a profit. After your item has sold, Vinted will email you prepaid shipping label to print out and tape to your packaged item, which you then simply drop off at the post office. You can cash out your earnings into a bank account or onto your PayPal for free.
Why we recommend these:
These apps are all exclusively for selling clothing, which means that every shopper on these apps is looking to buy clothing. Unlike Ebay where people are looking for power tools, office supplies, or who knows what, on these apps, it requires little effort to find your market. We also liked these apps because of their ease of use and because of the positive online buzz we heard that rates these sites as trustworthy and safe.
In our research, we noticed some website names popping up over and over, but following our investigation, we ended up giving the following sites a thumbs down.
On the surface the website ThredUp seems like a great, hassle-free, opportunity to sell clothes online. To sell your items you simply sign up to receive a bag, which ThredUp ships directly to you for free. You fill the bag with the items you no longer want, and ship it back to them. When your items arrive, they go through them carefully, checking to see if they’re in good condition, on trend, and in season. After accepting your sellable clothes, your earnings will be deposited into your account, which you can then choose to redeem by having it deposited into a Paypal account (extra fees apply), or onto a prepaid visa card (no extra fees apply). Any items that are deemed unsellable are sold to textile recyclers.
This website is totally hassle-free, but sellers will end up paying for the hassle free process. Because ThredUp is actually purchasing your items, without necessarily having a buyer for them, they’re taking a risk and they pay you like they’re taking a risk. In addition, they’re awfully picky. Even on their website, the say they accept less than 40% of the clothes sent to them.
If your clothes are deemed “unsellable,” they are sold to textile recyclers or third party sellers, the profits of which go back to cover shipping and labor costs, and not to you. In fact, if you want the clothes they turn down back, you have to pay them $10.99 for shipping.
ThredUp has a nifty feature on its site that estimates how much they will give you for an in-season, on-trend, perfect condition item. When I tried searching by a few different brands, it was rare that ThredUp would pay out more than $1 for an item. So if you sent a bag of 10 items to ThredUp, you could expect them to accept 4 items (40%), and receive $4 back. No thank you!
Mercari was another app name that kept popping up, but it doesn’t seem to be a website that is beneficial for sellers. Mercari is a little different than the other sites listed because it not only sells clothes, but also home goods and makeup. This does make the audience quite a bit more diverse, making it harder — in comparison to some other apps — to reach your targeted market. The process is very similar to Poshmark, Vinted, and Tradesy: upload pictures, fill out some info, and ship the item yourself. Mercari is different because the system makes it very easy for buyers to scam the sellers. Reviews from sellers are almost all negative. It appears buyers report they never receive the item, and customer eservice refunds their money without following through. In these situations where scamming buyers take advantage of sellers, Mercari customer service has proved hard to reach. Instead of real people, you get an automated message and not much support resolving your issue.