Recently, we discussed the best practices for selling clothes and where to sell them [PART 1 AND PART 2]. Before you go through the effort to sell secondhand clothing, however, it might help you to know how much you can expect to earn.
Naturally, there’s a wide range of prices clothing and accessories could fetch. We’re talking anywhere between the tens of thousands to the tens of… cents. Some of the factors that go into pricing used clothing are fashion label, style, seasonality and condition.
Know Your Target Market
Different buyers prioritize different aspects: while a trendy thrift store might put current fashion in great condition first, a vintage buyer might not mind a moderate amount of wear on an authentic antique. Whether you’re selling online or in stores, you’ve got to do your research. See what else is selling in a given venue, check the asking prices, and don’t hesitate to develop friendly business relationships with local shop owners to get inside information.
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There are tons of resale sites besides eBay. Some are great for a general collection, and others appeal to a certain niche. With discernment and strategy, you could make hundreds or thousands per month selling individual pieces online. The more time you are able to put into it, the more you can potentially make selling clothing at competitive prices.
If you don’t have the time or space to photograph clothing and fulfill orders, some services like thredUP will do it for you. Send in clean clothing in decent condition by the bag, and you’ll receive a check for your trouble. Selling in bulk can get you anywhere from pocket change per piece to hundreds of dollars. As with brick and mortar shops, it all depends on demand for the item and the resale price.
Selling to Shops In Person
Buyers want to make sellers happy, but it’s not possible (let alone profitable) for them to accept everything that comes in to the shop. For this reason, they can be pretty straightforward about what they are and are not looking for if you ask. You can also save yourself some frustration by learning about their resale and payout percentages.
Let’s say you’ve done your research on a stylish women’s sweater with light wear. You’ve cleaned it and brushed off all the dog hair, which can certainly make the difference between a sale and a dud. Now let’s say it’s sweater season, and you go to sell the piece at a store. You know it was selling for $60 new, and you also know that store’s resale and payout scale.
Retail Value: $60
Resale Value (70% of retail): $42
Your Earnings (30% of resale): $12.60
Of course, valuing used clothing varies by style, condition and location. The point of the example is to show there is method to the madness. The more practice you get, the more you’ll be able to anticipate your potential earnings and separate the duds from the winners.
Selling at Yard Sales, Garage Sales and Flea Markets
Angie’s List posted some guidelines for selling at yard sales. Generally, $3-5 per piece of clothing is a good ballpark. Kid’s and baby’s clothing sells for less, because kids grow so fast that people tend to shop for bargains. Big-ticket items like leather jackets could go for $10-15. If you have a lot of products to move, consider offering bulk discounts, like “Fill a Bag for $10” or “Buy 2 Get 1 Free.”
Writing Off Clothing Donations on your Taxes
“A penny saved is a penny earned.” While you won’t earn cash for donating clothing, you can write gently used items off on your taxes.