Child fans of CS Lewis’s Narnia series are used to thinking there might be an enchanted land lurking just inside our closets.
For adults more worried about the cost of living than having tea with a faun, our wardrobe could yield the answer to paying off some of our debt – even if it isn’t the portal to a magical adventure.
Websites such as eBay, Vinted and Depop are alive with users who are selling off their old clothes and using the money to buy new ones. Vinted was the most downloaded fashion app in the UK in August, with nearly double the downloads of second-placed fast-fashion retailer Shein.
Meanwhile, financial app Revolut says second-hand clothing purchases have increased by 4% since last year.
Buying and selling second-hand clothes can bring you considerable savings. Fashion marketplace Depop has calculated that 18 to 35-year-olds in Britain could pocket an average of £535 extra a year by buying and selling pre-loved fashion.
Buyers of used items estimated that they are saving 25% on each piece they buy, with tops, coats and shoes offering some of the biggest savings. Peter Semple, chief brand officer at Depop, says that buying and selling second-hand clothing can save the planet as well as your pocket.
‘A straightforward way to reduce the overall environmental impact of fashion is to reuse what already exists, displacing brand-new purchases with second-hand ones. We’re intent on making second-hand clothing as desirable, accessible and affordable for as many people as possible,’ he says.
But how can you get started with buying and selling second-hand clothes?
Understanding the websites and apps you can use will help.
eBay and beyond
Many of us will be familiar with auction site eBay as a place for buying and selling second-hand clothes. But, more recently, new apps have sprung up that may have lower fees and less onerous listing techniques.
Making the most of these apps as a seller involves taking good pictures of clothes you have to sell, making sure you list your items in as detailed a way as possible and ensuring you benchmark your prices against similar items online.
Lucy Peacock, head of preloved at eBay, suggests taking photographs of your items for sale against a neutral background, and being honest about aesthetic damage.
‘Pictures are important – for best results, take photos in natural light,’ she adds. Researching prices of similar items in advance will also help you to price things correctly.
Be savvy with charges
Each site for selling and buying second-hand clothing has different rules and charges. It is important to understand what you will pay, and the postage charges, so that you do not end up out of pocket.
Anna Cargan, who runs second-hand childrenswear business, BuildaBundle, says: ‘It’s very time-consuming, having to meticulously inspect items, take lots of photos to cover condition etc, upload them, deal with questions and messages from buyers, parcel items all up individually, cost of packaging, and take them to the post office/courier.
Customers can send second-hand clothing directly to her to do this work, in return for less cash.
Similarly, clothing agencies, online and in physical locations, will do the work for you – at a price.
‘The commission rate through my agency is 50%, but for this the seller doesn’t have to do anything,’ says Cathryn Turner who runs clothing agency Number 29, online and in North Yorkshire.
Try these clothes re-selling sites
There are so many platforms to use to sell clothes now that it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some of the biggest…
The original auction website. Listing on eBay is free for the first 1,000 items but you’ll be charged 12.8% of the value of the sale, including postage, taxes and the price of the item, plus a fixed charge of 30p per order.
Your final value fees are automatically deducted from your sales proceeds, with the rest paid to your bank account.
Vintage clothing app Depop charges a 10% fee for sales. There’s also a standard transaction fee of around 2.9% plus 30p levied for taking payments.
Selling on Vinted is free so you will get the full price of the item uploaded to your Vinted balance. The app charges buyers a 5% protection fee, and the buyer pays for shipping.
Selling website Preloved is free, but you can pay to become a premium member so that more people see your ads. This site is targeted at people in your area so they can arrange to pick things up from you.
This app allows you to send all your stuff bagged up to be photographed, listed and sold by the Thrift+ team.
Obviously you’ll get less money than if you do all the work yourself, but you will get credits to spend with the app or to swap for vouchers.
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