Experts Say To Avoid This Common Mistake When Reselling Fashion Items

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If you're spending more time at home than usual, you're perhaps more aware of how many items are in your closet and how much (or how little) you actually wear them. This reality check may be inspiring you to get into the resale game — after all, someone should enjoy the fruits of your very carefully curated designer bag collection. And if that means more cash in your pocket, then why not?

But if you’ve never explored the luxury resale world, it can be difficult knowing where to start. While brick and mortar consignment stores are still part of the retail landscape, a host of platforms have come along in recent years, all aiming to make the resale experience more seamless and advantageous for sellers. For instance, the number of potential buyers who may walk into a consignment store is far less than the number of folks actively scrolling through online platforms in search of their next designer buy.

So, all you have to do is post your item and be done with it, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Although reselling your luxury goods no longer requires you leaving your home, it does still require some strategy and deliberation. Even the most label-obsessed sellers can end up making mistakes that will cost them in the long run.

“Know who you’re selling your items with,” Kevin Ngo, handbag expert and authenticator at The RealReal, tells Bustle. “Spend time researching the company you plan to consign with so you know how your items will be priced, and you can better understand the commission you could make. If the shop or website doesn’t look and feel high-end, they may not be a trusted source to sell your products.”

It’s important to have an understanding of what your items are worth before you decide to consign. “Take a look to see how your items are being priced on the secondary market so you’re able to go into your appointment with an understanding of the value they hold,” Ngo advises.

If those dust bags are collecting a little too much dust these days and you’re ready to give resale a try, read ahead for expert advice from the industry’s leading voices.

How to make money from reselling shoes and clothes:

This seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating: Ensure that items are clean and in good shape before consigning them. The better the condition, the higher the price and the more commission you could receive. Dry cleaning out a stain or fixing loose stitching can enable your items to be priced higher and, in turn, they will sell faster.

“One of my biggest recommendations to help easily keep your pieces in top shape is to be sure they’re organized and stored properly,” Ngo says. “Be sure your clothing is hung correctly, [and] store your jewelry in a safe place away from sunlight. Specifically for luxury handbags, I highly recommend keeping them in their dust bags when they’re not being used. And avoid stacking them on top of one another in your closet so they don’t lose their structure.”

What are common resale mistakes to avoid?

It all comes down to putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They’re on the hunt for as much information as possible to ensure authenticity, quality, and fit. Provide as many details as possible to save yourself headaches during the resale process.

“The biggest mistake we see is not providing enough [information],” says Fanny Moizant, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective. “We guide members through the entire listing and prompt you to take thorough photos at each angle in good lighting, provide detailed description and measurements, and note any damage or defects. Finally, finding the right pricing is key — we have an algorithm that suggests pricing that will lead to a quick sale.”

The team at Rebag offers a similar process that can take the guesswork out of the appraisal process. “We developed Clair by Rebag, our luxury appraisal index, [which is] designed to bring transparency to the opaque resale market,” says Charles Gorra, CEO and founder of Rebag. “All you have to do is answer a few questions regarding the bag you’d like to sell, and it will instantly generate the resale value we’re willing to pay for that item. It’s useful whether you choose to sell to Rebag or not, as the technology is rooted in current market data.”

What are the most popular items to resell right now?

As of late, the top sellers on Rebag include the LV Favorite Bag, the Chanel Classic Flap, and the Christian Dior Vintage Saddle Bag. “The first two are classic, versatile styles that appeal to many handbag lovers for their clean and recognizable designs,” Gorra says. “Meanwhile, Dior’s Vintage Saddle Bag is popular due to its more accessible price point in comparison to the newer Saddle released in 2018.”

On Vestiaire Collective, the trendy and in-demand “new” luxury brands like Off-White, Gucci, and Balenciaga are always popular. “We’ve seen particular interest over the past year in Daniel Lee’s designs at Bottega Veneta,” Moizant says. “Classic handbags and designers like Hermes are widely considered a good investment as they hold their value and continue to be one of our top-selling brands. Demand for ready-to-wear has dramatically increased and is becoming one of our best-selling categories. Our community loves brands like Reformation, Staud, and Ganni.”

At The RealReal, consumer interest is also diverse. “Handbags from classic brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton always see strong demand on our site,” Ngo explains. “Especially during these times, we’ve seen customers gravitate toward classic styles from these brands because they know they will retain their resale value over time. The Louis Vuitton Onthego and Gucci Marmont Matelassé Shoulder Bag are examples of handbags that always perform well on our site and command high resale values because they are timeless pieces that never go out of style. We’ve also seen customers gravitating to new guard emerging brands like Nanushka and Ganni for spring staples, like feminine dresses and lightweight sweaters.”

How has coronavirus affected the resale business?

“While stuck at home, we’ve seen a lot of members using this time to clean out their closets and make extra income,” Moizant shares. “New items listed to our site have increased by 44% over the past month.”

To keep up with demand, Vestiaire Collective will launch a new Direct Shipping service in the United States on May 13: For all items under $500, buyers can opt out of physical quality control and authentication, receiving purchases directly from sellers. “We’re also offering free shipping on this service, which saves buyers an average of $20, reduces delivery times by nearly 40%, and cuts down on shipping-related carbon emissions,” Moizant says.

What's the future of the resale business?

In short: Resale is not going anywhere, especially as people embrace more sustainable shopping practices.

“The resale market has boomed in response to a shift in the consumer mindset about how they think about their wardrobe and the way they buy fashion,” Moizant explains. “We know consumers are passionate about sustainability issues in the industry and are turning to resale because of this. Buying pre-owned is one of the best ways to reduce your wardrobe’s carbon footprint — we believe circular fashion is the future.”