Posts Tagged ‘Thrift Stores’
What’s the real price of second-hand clothing? Not from an environmental point of view in terms of re-using clothes. I mean what you can pay for it? What you can sell it for? The question is a reasonable one especially if you shop (have to shop) as much as I do. I shop in consignment, thrift stores, and on ebay. And I consign, donate and sell also. And I have discovered that what you can get for, and what you can pay for, second-hand clothing vs what you actually paid for it, can pay for it, or feel it’s worth, is like following Alice down the rabbit hole.
Consignment stores were a revelation to me when I first moved to the States six years ago. They don’t exist in the UK. My first results of selling things at consignment stores however were depressing. I took in a designer dress, NWT, to a consignment store on Newbury St. It’s original price was $350. It made $48. After the 60% cut that the store took, I myself was left with very little of what any reasonable person would pay for the garment, i.e. what I thought it was worth. Yet the store and the person who bought it had told me what it was worth. Hadn’t they? Or was I just unlucky? So what was it worth exactly? $350? The $150 I paid for it when I bought it? The $80 it sold for that day? Or $120 if I’d taken it somewhere else?
My first venture into ebay selling revealed to me that the clothing I was offering for sale (in $.99 auctions) was worth nothing. In fact, it was costing me money – to list it. There are stories that circulate about friends of friends who make a living buying camera lenses on ebay and reselling them, this time with better quality photos. I have seen this effect. Take a photo on a rainy day and no one will bid. Re-take the photo on a sunny day and it sells. The dream, though, surely is to make money on clothing and this I have only come close to once. I bought a 1960s vintage ivory silk wedding dress for $80 in a consignment store. I sold it on ebay for $98. But as I was packing it up to send it, I noticed that the zip had started to come undone at the back, so I had to get it tailored and then dry-cleaned. In the end I made back only what I’d paid. So much for that.
One trick I learned from buying on ebay was that people were selling no-name boutique garments with a pair of Anthropologie earrings, so as to get into the Anthropologie ‘searched for’ list, (Anthropologie clothing being an extremely popular women’s brand). When I myself started selling Anthro’s earrings (themselves bought on ebay), clothing that I had lost money on, suddenly became worth something. But I was often not making on it much more than I had paid for the earrings. It was as if the clothing itself, paired with the earrings, was bringing down the value of the jewelery. I’d like to hear from anyone who’s making a killing in the second hand clothing market. Is it possible? But perhaps you don’t want to let your secret out… .