Preparing your item
Before you list, and definitely before you package your item, be sure it’s clean!!! Wash the item (unless it’s brand new and never worn) and make sure there is no lint or pet hair on it.
It’s also a good idea to be sure you have something to ship your item in before you list. Speaking from experience, it’s really unpleasant to make a sale and then have to frantically look for something to ship it in or to have to go out and buy something. Some options for packing supplies:
1) Bubble mailers! The extra padding is nice, but if you ship a lot the cost can add up.
2) Save the poly mailing bags you get from lulu and other merchants. Turn it inside out, and tada! You have your shipping bag.
3) Use a lulu shopper bag with the straps tucked in and liberal amounts of packing tape.
If you want to really be efficient, weigh and package items for sale before you even list them. (Don’t tape them shut yet, though, in case you need to provide measurements/additional pics for a potential buyer!) Write down the weight on the package itself for when you create a label, or on a separate piece of paper/doc on your computer. Then, once you make a sale, you will be able to just print a label, tape it up, and send it off.
Assessing your item’s condition
First things first, you need to assess the condition of your item. Be sure to carefully examine the item for loose seams, holes, stains or discoloration (especially at the armpit, neckline, hems, crotch, and ends of sleeves). Always disclose everything you find, with pictures when possible. Failing to adequately represent the condition of your item can get you in trouble down the line and lead to unhappy buyers. Put yourself in the place of a buyer and think about what you would want to know if you were buying that item.
Here are some guidelines on how to categorize the condition of your item:
New with tags (NWT): pretty self-explanatory. Never worn except maybe to try on.
New without tags (NWOT): also pretty self-explanatory. This does NOT mean “like” new. It means ACTUALLY new and has never been worn (except to try on). If the item has not been worn but has been washed, it’s nice to mention that.
Excellent used condition (EUC): this basically means “like new”. It’s only been worn a few times and there are no signs of wear whatsoever. It’s perfect. Some people will say “VEUC” (very excellent used condition) or “EEUC” (excellent excellent used condition) to indicate that the item has only been worn a handful of times.
Good used condition: there are some signs of wear such as a little pilling, discoloration, or fading from washing. Generally there are no major flaws like obvious stains, holes, or tears. If it has some vague signs of wear and is therefore not considered EUC, but the wear is nothing major, you can call it “VGUC” for “very good used condition”.
Bonesy/Fair used condition: has flaws and/or signs of heavy wear. May have rips, tears, all-over pilling, stains, etc.
Note that these condition descriptions are still subjective, but they are a safe place to start if you’re new to selling. When in doubt, be conservative about your condition descriptions.
Taking pictures of your item
Taking quality photos are a crucial aspect of getting your item to sell. Now is your chance to showcase how beautiful what you’re selling is, so do it justice!
You should always make sure you include at least one picture of the actual item you have for sale. Do not use stock photos from lulu’s website as there have been copyright issues with this in the past and it can get your listing removed. It’s ok to use pics that a store posted (like the ones found on this blog) to demonstrate fit as a supplement to your photos of the actual item. And of course, be sure to take photos showing any imperfections the item has.
Here are some ways to make your pictures look their best:
1) Take photos on a solid, neutral-colored surface. Busy patterns/backgrounds are distracting to the eye and make your item look crappy.
2) Lay the item as flat as possible, smoothing out bunching or wrinkles. Laying flat almost always looks better than on a hanger.
3) Solid surfaces work better than, say, your bed.
4) Natural light is helpful. If the picture of the item doesn’t look like it’s color in real life, note this on your listing, and try to include a photo that more accurately represents the color.
5) I don’t recommend using filters from Instagram, Snapseed, etc., because it can make the details or actual color of the item harder to make out. Adjusting brightness, contrast, or the color tones to make the picture look more true-to-life is ok.
6) At the risk of stating the obvious, blurry and dimly photos are a no-no.
Besides the marketing aspect, taking good photos protects you as a seller. In the uncommon event that a buyer tries to claim the item has marks or stains that you know were not present when you sold the item, you will be protected because you will have the photos to prove it. Good photos also give the buyer peace of mind.
The prices you can expect to receive (or to pay) on the resale market have a huge range. Some items will go for only a quarter of the original retail value, while a special few will fetch several times more than retail.
So, how do you decide what a fair price is for your item? The best way is to find a similar item and see what that sold for. You can search for the item on eBay and check the box in the lefthand option bar that says “sold listings”. You may be able to find similar items for sale/sold on Facebook groups as well by doing a search. (Side note: keep in mind that if your item is a different size, this can sometimes affect price–sizes 4, 6, and 8 tend to sell for slightly more than 2, 10, and 12, although not always.)
If you can’t find anything similar, a good place to start is 80-90% of the price you paid. If you got a good deal or the item is very popular, you may be able to ask the same price you paid.
If you don’t get any interest after a week or two, or if you don’t get any bids after 2 attempted auctions, lower your price by another 10-20% or by $5-10. The more you watch items come and go on the resale market, the more you’ll start to develop an intuition for what kind of prices you can expect.
If you’re feeling ballsy and/or are in a hurry to sell, listing as an auction (on ebay or on a Facebook auction site) with a starting bid of $1 can actually be a great strategy in addition to taking the guesswork out of pricing. Sometimes items won’t garner any interest at a certain starting bid, but will actually end up selling for more than that if bidding was started at $1. Using the $1 starting bid strategy tends to be more successful the more popular an item is. While it has its risks, ultra-low starting bids can be a great way to move your item out the door sooner rather than later!