Cashing in on Your Wardrobe: How to Re-Sell Your Clothes Like a Pro

By Claire Bates | News
Posted May 27, 2016

I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, the home of Buffalo Exchange, so re-selling my pre-loved clothing has been a part of my life since my early teenage years. The “Buff” flagship store is located on the edge of the neighborhood where I grew up. As I continue to incorporate re-sale fashion into my shopping routine, I have become a self-proclaimed master of the fashion re-sale system; now I go to sell clothes every two months and I never leave with less than $100 in cash. This guide will help you to incorporate re-sell fashion into your life and ‘cash’ in on all of its wonderful benefits!

In addition to the environmental benefit of keeping clothes in the circular economy, the other benefit is giving yourself an opportunity to de-clutter your closet and invite a new energy into your space. If you have clothing in your closet that you haven’t worn for months, something you’ve never worn or only worn once, or even things you don’t remember buying – it’s time to let it go and begin making more responsible consumer decisions. Let someone else love the clothes you weren’t able to. They will always carry a little bit of you with them on their next adventure!

Selling- The Basics:

  • Put in the extra time to remove stains, wash, or steam/iron clothing before bringing it in to sell. Clothing with pilling, stains, wrinkles, dirt, or signs of over-wear will not be bought.
  • Buyers want unique trend right items or classic pieces that will never go out of style. Yes, flannel shirts are trending, but they aren’t unique. Chances are if you are trying to sell a basic flannel in fair to good condition to a re-sell shop the buyer will pass because they already have plenty of stock in flannels. On the other hand, bring in a unique suede mini skirt with fringe and you’ve hit a home run!
  • Seasonality is very important. We tend to want to rid ourselves of seasonal items once the season is over. But bringing a New Year’s dress to a re-sale store after the holiday, or a coat at the end of winter simply won’t pay off. The store has already missed the peak selling for that item, and they’re already moving on to the next season. If you’re new to the re-sale world I suggest a re-sale roundup 4 times per year- once at the beginning of each season. If you find yourself heading to sell your clothes at the beginning of summer, make sure your bags are loaded with summer appropriate clothing.

The bags in the picture above were worth $200!

The Re-Sellers- Know Before You Go:

  • Know the buyback structure of the store you are selling to. Buffalo Exchange, for example, offers sellers 50% of the selling price in store credit or 35% of the selling price in cash. I walk around and shop while the buyers look through my bags. If I find something I want to add to my wardrobe, I use the store credit and take what’s left in cash. Some re-sellers don’t have such a flexible structure. For example, many re-sellers offer less than 35% in cash, some don’t offer cash as an option at all, and some don’t offer store credit as an option.
  • Know the stores overall aesthetic- who is the customer and what type of clothing do they carry? Residing in San Francisco, I am lucky to be in a thrift, vintage and re-sale sanctuary. To help explain this strategy, let’s talk about three of the biggest re-sale shops in San Francisco: Buffalo Exchange, Wasteland and Crossroads Trading Co., all of which operate in locations within a few blocks of each other on the world famous Haight Street. How are all three able to thrive in such close proximity? Simple, they each have a very different aesthetic. Wasteland has roots in Los Angeles and has a huge selection of designer re-sale, vintage, men’s and also a curated selection of new collections. Wasteland is the most ‘picky’ of the three stores, so I always start there. Next, I hit up Buffalo Exchange. Buffalo buys very seasonally appropriate, their buyers have a clear idea of the needs in the store and they have a good eye for unique. My last stop will be Crossroads Trading Co. Crossroads has the lowest retails of all three stores, thus you get less money for your pre-loved items. Crossroads seems to be the least picky and they go for items more widely accepted in fashion rather than for the extremely unique and hip styles.
  • Know when to go. Time is money, and waiting in line for an hour only to be told your stuff isn’t good enough is a waste of time. The worst time to sell to a re-sale shop is on the weekends. If you can’t go during the day on a weekday (prime time), try to go on a weekday evening close to when the store closes. Research the store’s buying hours before you go. Some re-sale shops buy for only a few hours each day or may even restrict buying to a few days per week. If you absolutely must go on the weekends, go on Friday night or try to be the first person in line when the store opens on Saturday or Sunday.

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