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I love to shop, especially for my kids. There are two things that I always keep in mind when I’m purchasing clothing; Will it wash well, and will I be able to get anything for it if I try to resell? I loathe having yard sales and you’ll generally only get pennies on the dollar for most items. Everyone expects a newborn to move through sizes quickly, but my 8 year old just skipped from size 8 to 12 before we even got the tags cut off! A few months ago a friend introduced me to websites and Facebook groups that allow me to sell our gently-used clothing. I’ve found that they’re often an equally great place to buy. Today I’m sharing how to get started selling gently used clothing online, with some tips for helping to prevent wash wear like using Member’s Mark® Ultimate Clean Fresh Clean Detergent from Sam’s Club to help increase resale value.
The key to getting the most money back out of your used clothing is to make sure that it’s in good condition. It all starts with properly washing your clothing. I use a variety of products to pretreat any stains or spots, and then I carefully wash them in the proper detergent. We live on a working farm and our son plays multiple sports, so we do a lot of laundry. I use Member’s Mark® Ultimate Clean Fresh Clean Detergent from Sam’s Club because it helps keep our clothes clean and fresh, and it’s also very budget friendly. I set my washing machine on a wide variety of cycles and even adjust the settings so that the soak time, rinse time, and spin speeds are appropriate for the fabric that I’m washing. All Member’s Mark laundry formulas have recently been improved for even more stain fighting and whitening/brightening power and from 12/27/17 through 1/28/18 you can find instant savings in the Sam’s Club Instant Savings Booklet for $2 off regular price. It helps to remove stains the very first time.
How do I get started selling gently used clothing online?
If you’re selling clothing online, you’ll need to set up a Paypal account. It offers you protection as both a buyer and seller, and allows people to pay you hassle free. The money can be quickly and easily transferred back to your checking account.
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Once you have all your gently used clothing washed and sorted, you’ll need to figure out the condition and price. If you sell on a website, many of those websites will have set pricing guides to help you price things fairly. If I’m selling from a clothing resale group on Facebook, I will search for the brand and try to find a current market value. You can find many of those groups by using keywords such as ‘boys name brand resale,’ or ‘buy, sell or trade.’ There are groups dedicated to specific brands of clothing, which is great when trying to sell items purchased from boutiques.
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With the emergence of varied digital marketing agencies (like iTonic and similar others) in the mix, e-stores and online businesses have now an additional edge to sell and advertise their product online. Building an e-commerce site has become easier due to online marketing techniques. Researching before starting any new endeavor is always a good idea. If the research is fruitful and well implemented, your online business is sure to gain traffic and potential customers.
For example, there is a new trend on Instagram and many individuals create “closet” accounts to list items that they would like to sell from their closets. Perhaps more people should try and do this. Instagram is a huge social media platform, so it’s likely that there will be people on there that want to purchase these clothes. People could even use something like Upleap to grow their account, making sure that more people see the posts. Hopefully, this will result in more people buying these clothes. Instagram is a great place to sell things as there are so many people on that platform. Online retail portals like eBay or Amazon could prove an effective platform for selling your products online. If you are planning on taking this route, then a good read of the terms and conditions regarding starting a new account (and managing it) could help immensely. There is a great article about keeping your amazon store from getting suspended, one that could help you get started with the basics of what not to do as an e-Seller.
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You’ll want to lay out your clothing in direct sunlight and photograph the entire piece. It’s also helpful to buyers if the seller includes multiple photographs including tags and/or flaws. You don’t need any special equipment. I use the camera on my cellphone for the photographs and lay them out on a white or solid color background.
Here are a few terms that you should know when reselling clothing online:
NWT- New with tags
NWOT-New without tags
EUC- Excellent used condition No wash wear, rips, stains, or loose seams. This includes washed unused items, though feel free to state washed not worn.
VGUC-Very good used condition Used item still in quality condition, but some wash wear or minor issues that would not prevent you from sending your child somewhere nice wearing them, or other problems that can be easily fixed. You must disclose all faults.
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GUC-Good used condition Used item you would still let your child wear, but more obvious faults. You must disclose all faults.
Play– Clothes only fit for play. This includes but is not limited to larger than pin size holes, easily visible stains, and obvious fabric thinning.
Smoke free– That you don’t smoke in your home or around the clothing (some people have allergies)
Pet friendly or pet free home– Again you need to disclose just in case someone has allergies.
You’ll want to label clothing by condition, brand, size, smoke free and/or pet friendly, and I even disclose the type of detergent that I use for washing our clothing.
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My son has allergies to lots of things and I would want anyone I buy from to honestly disclose.
I label the condition with extreme caution, and I try to look over garments carefully for stains, snags or holes. I want everyone buying from me to be happy with their purchase. Paypal will allow an unhappy customer to return merchandise and they will refund their money. If you repeatedly sell merchandise that isn’t in the same condition than you stated, you’ll likely receive bad seller ratings.
You’ll need a few supplies to ship sold merchandise and I suggest ordering most of it online.
- A scale for weighing packaging;
- Shipping labels (preferably the peel and stick kind;
- Poly mailers for shipping. They’re significantly cheaper to order online; and
- Packing tape
I weigh everything ahead of time and include shipping in my estimated cost. Shipping and supplies will eat up your costs if you aren’t frugal when purchasing them. I always double bag my items just in case the poly-mailer gets a hole or snag.
It’s also good to know that it’s always cheaper to pay shipping costs through Paypal than it is to purchase at the Post Office. An item shipping first class weighing less than 8 ounces will cost roughly $2.70 but the same item will cost $3.00 at the Post Office. The .30 may not seem like much now, but it quickly adds up over time, and that eats away at your profits. When you purchase through Paypal it also automatically adds tracking information to the receipt so that the buyer can track their packages and you can monitor its delivery. If the item is valued above $50, I suggest adding insurance. If the item is lost by the Postal Service, you will be still be responsible for refunding the buyer if they don’t receive it.
I love to dress my children in nice clothing and since I’ve discovered how to sell gently used clothing online, I have much less remorse over what I spend.
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Many higher end brands will resale for half of the original retail if still in very good used condition or better. If I can find those same brands on sale when I originally purchase, I only lose a small portion of my investment.
Don’t my kiddos look cute? Pretty soon these well loved outfits will make their way to new owners, and I take pride selling other parents/caretakers affordable and adorable gently used children’s clothing.
I hope you found this piece about selling gently used clothing online helpful. If you have any questions or if you’re curious what specific groups that I buy, sell or trade in, please feel free to leave a comment below or send an email. Remember that using a good quality laundry detergent not only helps keep your clothing looking its best while you’re wearing it, but it also helps with the resale value. The next time you’re in Sam’s Club check out Member’s Mark® Ultimate Clean Fresh Clean Detergent.