I’ve been buying and selling used clothing online since the early 2000s. LiveJournal communities were my first foray into selling my used clothing online and that experience was not what I would consider successful. Turns out, there is a lot more overhead in shipping rare punk and hardcore band tees that don’t fit you anymore to the United States and Europe than young-Kelly imagined.
Fast-forward to January 2015, I joined the Facebook group Toronto Plus Size Buy and Sell. Since then, I have recouped literally thousands of dollars by selling my used clothing, shoes, and accessories via the group; through local Swap & Shop meetups; on Depop; on Kijiji/Craigslist; and most recently, via Instagram.
Reselling is often a lot of effort. You have to take photos of your clothing, write a sale post for each item, correspond with potential buyers (who can sometimes be rather flaky), and meet up with someone to make the sale. But, if you have lightly used clothing in great condition it can be a worthwhile way to fund a wardrobe update and give the clothing you no longer wear a new life.
I offset some of the effort of reselling by keeping a Google Sheet and every time I buy a new item I add the product name, retail price, and price I paid (if different from the retail price). If possible I download product photos from the retailer’s website. That way, if I choose to sell the item later on half of the work is already done.
• Always meet with people in public places
• If possible have a friend or partner with you
• Always meet during the daytime
• When meeting in person only accept cash or e-transfer
• When selling on Instagram PayPal (try the gift feature) or e-transfer
• If something seems too good to be true it probably is
Where to Sell
• Facebook Groups
I live in the largest city in Canada, so when I went searching for Facebook groups to sell my clothing through they were not hard to find. If your community doesn’t have one – start one! Invite all the fat babes you know & set up a swap to get started.
Try an Instagram account like SellTradePlus (where, at the time of posting, it is free to submit your items for sale) or you can create your own account and use hashtags to draw attention to your items. This method will undoubtedly require you to ship your items to the buyer. Don’t forget the cost of packaging the item and include it in either your asking price or shipping price.
• eBay, Depop, and Poshmark (US Only)
Similar to selling your clothing on Instagram, but these websites charge the seller fees to sell their items. Like Instagram, you will probably be required to ship your items to the buyer. Although I did score a sweet pair of Jeffrey Campbell Melina Cutout Booties locally on Depop for a song and was able to meet the seller at a local mall.
• Consignment Stores
A number of online consignment stores have popped up over the past few years. Sites like The Real Real, and Vestiaire Collective are great options for reselling any luxury items you may have. Depending on where you live, you might have to send them your item before receiving a valuation and the website keeps a 20% or more of the sale.
There is one consignment store in the Greater Toronto Area that caters exclusively to plus sizes. Curvaceous Consignments in Thornhill buys in-season clothing and offers sellers a return of only 30% of what the store sells the item for. Understandable, considering the overhead of a brick & mortar store, but not ideal for the seller.
If you’re in the Minnesota area check out Cake Plus–Size Resale or follow them on Instagram @cakeplussize where they often post new arrivals. I’ve been told that if you aren’t in the Minnesota area you can message them on Instagram about items you are interested in and they will invoice and ship them to you. Cake buys in-season clothing every day of the week except Saturday. Instead of crediting you when your item sells, they buy your clothing outright for 30% of the price they plan to sell it for or 50% if you accept payment in the form of store credit.
If you’re on the West Coast Los Angeles has The Plus Bus, where you can trade in-season clothing for 40% of their determined value in the form of store credit.
• Kijiji / Craigslist
I use Kijiji and Craiglist as a last resort, honestly. I’ve had more than enough creeps contact me expecting free sex work because I am trying to sell a pair of shoes or an item of plus size clothing. While I’ve had success selling everything from furniture to Tiffany & Co. items to a Buffy and the Vampire Slayer Sunnydale High Library Action Figure Playset I would not recommend trying to sell your clothes or shoes here lest you be accosted by terrible men. It’s a weird place—but don’t underestimate it for non-gender-specific items.
Tips & Tricks
• Take stock of what you have. I purge my closet of unworn clothing every three or four months. I keep a tally in my Google Sheet or in a notebook of what I have been wearing and what hasn’t been getting worn. This helps
• Take clear, well-lit photos of your items. I like to hang my clothing on a Command Hook attached an empty white wall near a window for photos. Photos of you wearing the items are even better. Be sure to take close-ups of any patterns and textures.
• If possible, find the original product images and include them in your post.
• Post each item individually.
• List the brand of the item in your post.
• List the size, plus any description of fit you have noticed. Does it run small? True to size? Large? Taking armpit-to-armpit measurements is often helpful for buyers who are trying to determine whether your item will fit them or not.
• List the fabric content. Is it stretchy? Is there no stretch at all? Be as descriptive as possible.
• List the condition of the item. Is it new with tags (NWT)? New without tags (NWOT)? In like-new condition? Excellent used condition (EUC)? Good used condition? Be sure to mention if it was only worn once. Own up to any imperfections and take photos of them.
• Describe the colour and/or pattern of the item.
• If possible, list the original retail price of your item. This will help give buyers a better understanding of your asking price.
• Be realistic when it comes to asking price. If your item is in used condition or better, fifty percent of the original retail price is a good place to start. Is your asking price firm, or are you willing to accept the best offer you receive?
• Does your item come from a pet-free and/or smoke-free home? If so, say so in the description of your post.
• Set a minimum price. For example, I won’t go out of my way to take photos, post an item, correspond with potential buyers, and meet someone to make a sale of less than $10. If I think something I am considering selling is worth less than $10 I donate it as opposed to investing the time and effort into selling it.
• Ensure all items you sell are freshly laundered.
Now you should be all set to safely & successfully resell your plus size clothing. Good luck! And be sure to let me know in the comments what kind of experiences, if any, you have had
Photos by Yuli Scheidt.