Now, we’ve rarely sold a piece of clothing for a whole lot of money, but there are definitely bucks to be made in this category. The best thing about selling clothing is that it is easy to buy, easy to list, and easy to ship! Just because you can’t always hit a home run with this category, doesn’t mean you should ignore it completely.
Where to Buy
Buying clothes is easy because you can find them just about anywhere: department stores, discount stores, Goodwill, antique stores, and yard sales. For obvious reasons, you probably won’t find great deals in department stores, unless they’re having a killer sale. Discount shops like thrift stores are great because most of the clothing is new or gently used. Antique stores might be a little more expensive, but you can usually come across some unique finds. Yard sales are great price-wise, but you have to watch out for condition – make sure there are no holes or stains!
How to Buy
Always look for big name brands! This is very, very important. You can try to sell clothes from WalMart all you want, but brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, or Banana Republic are going to do much better. Some of the lesser known brands will sell too, but we’ve been having a lot more trouble with brands like Old Navy or American Eagle. It’s best to stick with the good stuff.
This is a nightdress from Missoni. Missoni is a HUGE name and can sell really well if you get your hands on the right items.
Material is important too. If it’s made out of genuine leather, buy it! It can be worth a lot of money. And while we’re speaking about information you can find right on the tag, let’s mention where the item was made. Places like China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have very little pull for buyers. However, places like the USA (to an extent), England, and India have higher standards and will do much better.
Also check for logos that may be printed on the clothes – is it a Scooby-Doo shirt? Is it a Giants jacket? Is it a pair of sweatpants that says “Team Edward” down the side? Selling to a niche market will be more lucrative and probably keep the same people coming back for more.
Lastly, a lot of yard sales will have deals like, “fill a bag for $5!” This is great to do! You can roll up your clothes and fit a lot into a single bag, and it’s also a great way to get some higher end stuff for a much cheaper price if you’re able to take this route.
How to Sell
Selling clothing is easy! First off, make sure that you have your stuff in the right category. Although I can’t say that I know the numbers on this, I do think that categories for clothing are more important than almost any of the other categories. Think about it. If you’re looking for something super specific, you’re not going to click through the countless categories to find it. You’re going to type it into the search box and boom, it’s there at your fingertips. But what girl knows exactly what she wants when she goes out shopping? We love to look, and on eBay this means we’re probably going to go by category: Women’s > Shoes > Size 11 (what? I have big feet) and then find a style we like. Therefore, make sure your clothes are in an ideal category.
Buy brand names and, if you can, buy them NEW.
Next, you want to make sure your title will bring in as many people as possible. (Again, you always want this…but it’s more important when selling clothing.) The number one rule is this: make sure you state what you’re selling. I know it seems super obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rattled off a list of fabulous keywords and forgot to put the most important one in there: “shirt.” Oops. Also, be specific when you list colors – if the shirt is purple, also mention if it’s lavender or plum (or something in between). Someone might be trying to find a specific color to match another piece of clothing they have. Lastly, a lot of people search by size. I usually try to spell it out and put an abbreviation in there (ie. extra large and XL).
And now that I’ve said all of that, I’m going to take some of it back…kind of.
Item specifics are huge for buyers in this category because it allows them to narrow down their search field to something a lot more specific to their wants. This is especially true if they didn’t think about typing some of that information in the search box initially. If you don’t have the item specifics filled out, your items will not show up after the buyer has narrowed his or her search down. In the clothing category, at least, some item specifics are now required. Make sure you fill out these and as many other ones as possible.
So, here’s the part that I’m sort of taking back – if you’re listing information in your item specifics, you don’t necessarily have to list it in your title too. Item specifics are searchable, so technically you’d be wasting valuable space if you put that info in the title, too. HOWEVER, sometimes people just scroll down through the listings and glance at the titles. If you don’t have “XL” or “Plum” or “Dress” in your title, they could skip over your listing entirely.
Sometimes brand names don't matter if the piece is really cute!
So, what am I actually trying to say? Pick and choose. Put your most important keywords in your title, but don’t be afraid to leave some out and just add them into your item specifics below. Both places are searchable and more than likely you’re going to come up in the search results if you build a strong title and fill out your specifics.
The last big thing is the description. Always describe your clothing as specifically as possible, especially colors and pattern. When talking about colors, be specific. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a pair of aqua pants with daisies on them and getting them and realizing they’re actually turquoise with sunflowers.
But seriously. Color and pattern are important. So is condition. If there’s a stain, make sure you mention it. If it’s small enough, most of the time it won’t matter. The buyer may even have a trick to remove it. And let’s not forget that holes are so in right now. You might be surprised at what will sell. Make sure you mention material and size, too. I ALWAYS put in the dimensions in addition to the listed size because different companies have different sizing charts.
(For pants, I include the waist, inseam, and rise measurements. For shirts I list the length, bust, and sleeve length. For dresses I include length, bust, waist (if it’s fitted), and sleeve length.)
Think seasonal. Hawaiian shirts with big floral patterns tend to sell pretty well in the Spring and Summer months. (On the flip side, remember that while it's winter here in the US, it's summer in Australia. You can list any type of clothing year-round!)
The best part of about selling clothing is that it is wanted all around the world, so you have a HUGE audience. There are a lot of developing countries that try to emulate American culture and will snatch up popular name brands. And shipping is easy! Most items are small enough to fit in an envelope and light enough to go First Class.
There you have it! It’s a bit general, but if you’re just venturing into the world of selling clothes online, this will be a good place to start. If you want to only sell clothing, or at least make that your main income, I suggest narrowing the field down and trying really hard to stick with a certain brand name or theme. It’ll make it easier on you as far as listing goes, and your customers will probably return to your store if they know that’s what you sell.
And as always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave a message below! I make it a point to respond to as many people as I can.