as a teenager every few months my friends and i would each load up a bin of clothes to haul down to san francisco and spend an afternoon huffing it up and down haight street to all the used clothing shops. we’d start at one end and work our way down, taking whatever was rejected to the next shop until we’d tried them all. then we’d take our meager earnings and put them right back in, spending our store credits on vintage t-shirts and velvet chokers and babydoll dresses. whatever was left we’d get in cash and spend on thai iced teas at ploy II.
over the last 5 years the options for selling clothes have expanded in a major way. i’ve tried many of them, keeping up everything from etsy shops and insta feeds to ebay stores and posh closets. what i find staggering about all of the options out there is that all of them make it near impossible to figure out what they actually charge for the privilege of selling your clothes. the fine print is pretty cray. so i thought i would put together a list of what these joints actually charge, how they work and what all of those little *’s add up to.
etsy: the cheapest option turns out to be etsy. etsy is for vintage (pre-1998) or handmade items only. etsy is really the best spot to sell vintage, but it can be a lot of work to get good photographs and provide detailed measurements & info on the items (these things are crucial). there is also such a large amount of stuff on etsy that it can take a long time to sell something. etsy charges $0.20 at time of listing, then a 3.5% transaction fee at time of sale plus a payment processing fee of 3% +$0.25. if you choose to offer paypal as a payment option for buyers, paypal charges another 2.9% per transaction. etsy also charges a 2.5% currency conversion charge if you sell to buyers outside of the us. total fee for sales in US= 6.5% +$0.45 of item’s final sale amount.
ebay: for non-vintage (but you can sell vintage on ebay too) ebay is the cheapest overall option, and has exposure to the most buyers, but beware of headaches. many buyers back out/don’t pay or try to return items (even if you are clear that returns aren’t accepted). i have had a buyer reverse a charge with their credit card company (after a lengthy dispute process with ebay- which i won), resulting in my having to not only pay the ebay & paypal fees for the sale but a hefty chargeback fee to paypal on top of that. i’ve also had my ebay account hacked & hundreds of dollars in fraudulent purchases made, only to be told by ebay that i must have given my password to someone and let them make the purchases. needless to say it can be a shady place. here is their fee breakdown: 10% of final value + paypal’s 2.9% transaction fee. total for sales in the US= 12.9% of item’s final sale amount.
poshmark: this is my recent personal favorite because it’s straightforward and easy and you can avoid paypal. poshmark is an app based system- you take a picture with your phone through the app & post it, and buyers purchase online or through the app. it works like social media: you can follow people and have followers, and when you post something new they see it and can share it with their followers. buyers can buy at your set price or make an offer. once your item sells, a shipping label is automatically emailed to you (shipping is always $6.49- 2 day priority mail, this fee goes to poshmark). once the buyer receives the item funds are available & can be direct deposited into your bank account. for sales under $15, poshmark charges $2.95. for sales of $15 or more- 20%. total fee= 20% of item’s final sale amount.
mercari: mercari is a new app based system that seems to be trying to compete with both poshmark and ebay. you can sell anything from clothing to beauty products & household goods to musical instruments & tech stuff. you post through the app, and buyers can purchase online or in the app. you can either use their shipping label (flat rate USPS or FedEx) or choose your own & ship yourself. they only charge a 10% flat fee when the item sells, and they direct deposit into your bank account. the only charge for direct deposit is for deposits under $10- they charge $2. this is obviously the best deal going, but we’ll see if fees increase as the app grows. total fee=10% of item’s final sale amount.
tradesy: with tradesy you submit photos to them & set the price, then they edit your photos and post to the site. you have to choose whether to use your own shipping method or use one of their “shipping kits” (they will send you a box & shipping label- for a fee). once the item sells you ship directly to the buyer. their charges are: $7.50 for any item sold for under $50. $50 or more, tradesy takes 19.8%. they also charge a 2.9% “safe transfer fee” to transfer funds to your bank or to paypal. total fee= 19.8% + 2.9% of item’s final sale amount.
vestaire collective: vestaire is a luxury resale site that is sort of a hybrid of direct selling and consignment. you send photos to them for submission & set the price, they edit the photo & post your item and once the item is sold you ship it to vestaire for inspection, then they send to the buyer. it can be a lengthy process, but opens up your potential buyers to many other countries, and you don’t have to deal with buyers directly. pricing works on a tier system: vestaire takes $25 for sales under $70, 33% for sales between $70-$140, 31% for sales between $140-$345, 30% for sales between $345-$690. they direct deposit your earnings into your bank account on the 1st or 15th of the month, whichever is sooner. total fee= 30-33% of item’s final sale amount.
the real real: the real real is another luxury/designer resale site but you ship (or drop off, or they pick up in some major cities- for free) your items to them and they choose what they will post, take their own photos & set the prices. they pay on a tier system of monthly sales: you get 50% of items under $200, if you sell a total of $201-$1500 you get 55%. they direct deposit your earnings or send you a check. not a good deal in my book, but i suppose if you have a LOT of designer clothes that you don’t want to deal with, this would work. total fee= 45-50% of final sales prices set by them.
material world: this site seems to be trying to compete with the real real, but this is not a consignment shop (they pay you up front for your items). you mail in your designer (no fast fashion) items (no charge), they send you an offer on the items they want to sell, and you get “up to 70%” of their estimated resale value (their estimated payout for a celine top is $27-$43- not much!). if you accept their offer, they send you a gift card that can be used at high end shops like barneys, saks, bergdorf’s, neiman marcus, shopbop and nordstrom or on their site. if you choose to get your earnings in cash, you’ll pay 3% to have the funds transferred to paypal. total fee=30-60% of their estimated resale value +3% paypal fee.
thredup: this one claims to be the easiest thing going- just send in your stuff & they sell it for you. however, they charge you $10 for a bag to mail your items to them (an additional $11 if you want your rejected items returned to you), and for the items they select from you, they pay next to nothing: between 5-45% on items sold for up to $75. you are also subject to paypal’s 2.9% fee if you want cash for your items. to me, this is a scam and a half. total fee= 55-95% of final sales prices set by them, plus 2.9% paypal fee.
swap.com: this is another site where you mail in your items & they sort & sell it for you. they charge $11.90 for shipping to them (another $5.99 if you want your rejected items returned to you). they have a tricky tier system- here is their example transaction: “Seller sends in a box and standard $11.90 inbound fee applies. The seller sells tier 2 items (giving either 40% in cash or 50% in store credit) with the total sales of $100. This gives a cash payout of $40. After deducting the inbound fee of $11.90, the Seller can choose between a cash payout of $28.10 or Swap.com store credit of $35.13 ($28.10 cash payout multiplied by Tier 2 Credit Premium Factor of 1.25) “. doesn’t seem worth it to me. total fee= 30-80%+ paypal fee???
crossroads: crossroads is a retail chain with stores all over the u.s. that specializes in used but nearly new clothing. if you sell in person they give you 50% of their sales price in trade, or 33% in cash. they offer a drop off or a mail in option, but if you do this they only pay 30% in cash, and my experience has been that tell you they couldn’t accept anything if you are not standing in front of them watching them go through it. total fee= 50% in trade or 67% cash of their estimated resale value.
buffalo exchange: chain of retail shops similar to crossroads but they accept vintage as well as current clothing. they don’t offer drop off or mail in options. total fee=50% in trade or 70% in cash of their estimated resale value.
instagram: selling anything on instagram can be tough, unless you have a bajillion followers. noihsaf bazaar (@noihsaf.bazaar) is a feed with over 11k followers that sells higher end/independent designer clothing and shoes. the basic rule is no fast fashion, but they do take the occasional j.crew or madewell item. you submit a square photo (or multiples) to their e-mail with measurements/description & your price, they post the item & the buyer comments on the picture to buy (or make an offer). you then have to send the buyer an invoice via paypal and once paid, ship the item to the buyer. total fee= $2.80 to noihsaf+ 2.9% paypal fee of final sale amount.