As trends roll in-and-out, there may be clothes we may have never worn sitting in our closets. With the rise of fast fashion, never-before-worn clothes are ending up in landfills, and this is becoming a huge environmental crisis.
One solution to this dilemma is thrifting. However, thrifting is a time consuming process, as most items are just thrown on the rack by size. It can take hours to search for the perfect item: one that fits, is in good enough condition to get a bunch of wears out of, and has stylistic potential.
While thrifting used to primarily be done in department-like stores, most people now turn to online platforms such as Poshmark, Depop and The RealReal for their secondhand clothing needs. These platforms are more efficient in the way that you can search for specific items you want and find it within a matter of minutes.
Like most, at the start of the pandemic, I did some heavy spring cleaning. I cleared out multiple trash bags full of old clothes, and I faced two options: sell them or donate them.
Obviously, I wanted to donate my clothes, but some of the clothes in these bags were things I thought I could definitely turn a profit on. I had multiple items that still had tags on them, and other clothes (such as rave and going-out clothes) that were in perfect condition and probably would not have been very useful to someone in need if donated.
After doing a little bit of research, I decided to try out both Depop and Poshmark, shopping apps where I could post listings of my items.
After trying both, I found no success with Poshmark, so I decided to focus all my time on Depop. At first, I had trouble selling, but by the end of the summer, I made over $700 and sold over 50 items. Here’s how I did it.
- Make your item look as nice as possible
This should go without saying, but always make your clothes look the best possible before listing them! If your item has a huge stain or a rip, try mending it or washing it. For pilling, I suggest investing in an electric lint remover from amazon (buy it here).
If the piece isn’t in selling condition, simply do not sell it. No buyer will leave a nice review if they buy an item that is not in nice condition.
- Take aesthetically pleasing photos
This might be a given, but you would be surprised at how many people post listings of cute clothes with bad lighting and overflowing trash bins or laundry in the background. This deters buyers.
Pick a nice, clean background and capture your photos in good lighting. Buyers will be drawn to your page if you create an aesthetic for your account.
Along with this, make sure you use as many photo spaces as allowed on the app. The app allows four photos and one video, so take four photos, and maybe a video, too! Additionally, take a photo with the clothes on (if you can) so that buyers can envision how it might look on them.
3. Stay active and message people back quickly
The faster you respond to a potential buyer, and the clearer you are, the more likely they are to purchase an item (or multiple) from your shop. They are also more likely to give you a better rating. If you are rude or uncommunicative, the buyer will shop elsewhere or leave you a negative review. The more active you are, the more likely you are to sell items off your page fast.
4. Do not set your price too high
People are not on Depop to buy super expensive items; they are on Depop to buy discounted items. Do not price as if your item is brand new: price your item with reason and be open to offers from potential buyers.
People may message you asking for a lower price, and if you are receiving many requests for this on one listing, it probably means that you overpriced your item.
5. Be nice to all buyers or potential customers
With an app like Depop, buyers can leave reviews after they have bought from you. Even if you are dealing with a rude customer, always be clear and respectful to them in case they DO end up purchasing the item. That way, you will save yourself from getting a negative review.
Sellers can also leave customers reviews, so if you have a negative experience with a buyer, you can report it after they receive their package.
6. If there is something wrong with the item, do not try to hide it
Be very clear with any problems in the item. If there is a small stain, pilling, hole, rip, etc. you need to let the buyer know. I suggest posting a photo of the item with its problem area zoomed in on and using the description space on your listing to describe the issue in concise and clear language.
7. Repost your items and organize your feed
This one is by far the most important on the list. The algorithm of Depop pushes the newly posted items to the top of people’s pages. So when your item is not selling, it is probably because it is not appearing on people’s feeds.
You can easily repost your listings without making an entire new listing by clicking the original listing and then clicking “post listing,” which will also list the item at the top of your own feed.
Since buyers can like items on Depop, all the old likes will remain and the reposting just allows your item to get more recognition from other potential buyers. This also allows you to organize your feed. Most buyers usually have items they want to sell at the top (meaning recently reposted), and then the sold items on the bottom (not resposted).
I also post my items in order of category (tops, bras, skirts, etc.) so that buyers are able to easily sort through all the items I was selling and could purchase “bundles” if they wanted to. “Bundles” on Depop are when buyers buy multiple items in your shop.
8. Package your items nicely.
This one does not really matter in the long-term scheme of things, but it will make a better impression on the buyer when they receive a pretty package instead of a disheveled one.
I found really cheap cute mailers on Amazon. I would package my items the day they were sold (or as quickly as possible) so that I would not forget about them and take a long time to ship them out.
I also always sprayed my items with a little perfume and stuck them in the mailers with a handwritten note that said something along the lines of: “Hi! Hope you enjoy the item! Please leave me a review!” The note shows buyers that you are putting a lot of effort into building a credible shop. Usually, customers would end up leaving me a review.
The more positive reviews you have, the more buyers will trust your shop. Being a credible seller attracts more customers. Packaging goes a long way with establishing that you care about the item you are selling, and that you care about how your shop is perceived by the buyer.
9. Once sold, ship as fast as possible and send the tracking to the buyer.
At the top of a seller’s page, potential buyers can see on average how many days it takes sellers to ship their items. Ideally, you want this number to be the lowest number of days possible.
The most successful shops average one or two days, so I always packaged my items and got them to the post office as quickly as possible and then sent the tracking number to the buyer so they would not have to rely on me to communicate when their item would arrive. Remember to keep your receipt from the post office so that if a package is lost in the mail you can prove it was shipped and not be held responsible for not shipping an item.
10. Consider donating!
If your item is something that could be useful to someone in need (coats, hats, gloves, etc.) consider donating it! I ended up donating everything that did not sell in a month and stated that clearly on my page so people who felt compelled to buy would be pressured to within that time frame. This made it so I knew when my items were officially NOT going to sell, and I could detach myself from any idea of profit that item could create.
Hope you find success with these tips, and know that you are helping the environment, as well as making a little extra money by selling with Depop!