Master the art of resale sites, gain a lucrative side hustle

A woman sitting on top of a white wardrobe.

Ryan Thompson on the apps to know if you’re selling second-hand

By Ryan Thompson    Sunday 10 May, 2020   Short read

There were only so many hours of memes, only so many loaves of banana bread that I could take before I finally decided to do something useful. That turned out to be a searingly honest appraisal of my wardrobe which, much like my lockdown waistline, had begun to revolt against the narrow confines in which it was being kept. Oh, and with the creative industries being hit hard right now, I’m also a little short on cash.

Why did it take a global quarantine to make me take stock of my spending? And not just me – the fashion industry at large seems to be in a moment of mindfulness. For one, for better or worse, fast fashion seems to not belong to this world. This slower pace and lack of outdoor activity has caused less of a need for trend-led party looks, and so billions of dollars of stock orders to third-world factories have been nixed, making factories close and mid-level online labels fold. Young shoppers in particular are also increasingly looking at more sustainable ways to get their fashion fix, as ethics becomes more and more prevalent in consumer culture, no less during a pandemic. We’ve looked into the collective mirror and perhaps realised that we didn’t need all this stuff. The glamorous wardrobe we coveted two months ago looks a bit frivolous now. ‘Buy less, but buy better’ is a nice marketing catchphrase for the luxury industry, but equally we could be selling more, selling better.  

According to Forbes, the second-hand market accounted for $28b in 2018, compared to $35b for first hand. Within the next 10 years, the second-hand market is expected to nearly triple, reaching $64b, while fast fashion is predicted to only rise to $44b. This is music to my ears, although I’d heard the tune back in January, when I listed two old Belstaff jackets on the popular resale site Depop. It took me all of five minutes to list the items and as many days to see my bank account £300 healthier. For those of you with ‘significant’ wardrobes, the chore of photographing and listing your clothes might just be offset by the therapy gained in sending them to a more appreciative home. If you’ve accumulated luxury brands for years, then reselling could become a genuine side hustle, too. But if you’re just looking to make some space, then maybe adopt a ‘one in, one out’ policy – that way your wardrobe naturally rotates without getting any bigger, while your new purchases come at a discount by proxy.
A picture on a grey background of a basketball player dunking a ball.
Trainers in a pile on a grey background.

Courtesy of StockX

So, who are the big movers in the second-hand market and who should you sign up to? That largely depends on what you have to sell and your motivation. Some of these companies specialise in those fashion subcategories that have some degree of exclusivity, such as luxury handbags, watches, vintage, and collaborations. Then, there are the more democratic ones, which is a euphemistic way of saying you’ll be able to list just about anything on them (and you should, too. You’ll be surprised by the things other people find value in). Commission rates vary massively, depending on the service provided and the audience you’re trying to reach. Whether you’re a fashion blogger with more freebies than you know what to do with, or a Prada devotee with acute hoarding issues, these are the best reselling platforms to help you cleanse your wardrobe and line your pockets.

StockX
An Aladdin’s cave for sneakerheads, functioning as a live market for ‘hard to come by’ kicks, although they have now expanded into fine watches, handbags, collectibles and streetwear. The 10 per cent fee is lowered for repeat sellers.

Grailed 
Probably the best-known menswear platform for the hype brands and collaboration pieces. Think Supreme, Chrome Hearts, Acronym, Yohji Yamamoto and all the usual suspects.

Heroine 
Grailed’s New York-based sister site. New and old-season designer collections. Like Grailed, it has a 6 per cent commission (plus applicable PayPal fees) and it offers PayPal Seller Protection for peace of mind.

Vestiaire Collective
One of the original specialists, Vestiaire Collective goes the extra mile for its eight million members by authenticating every single item sold. Commission is 25 per cent for anything between $170 and $2,300 (35 per cent for the Concierge Service).

The RealReal
One of the best-looking platforms, The RealReal boasts more than nine million users all vying for luxury steals on an accepted list of designers. Fees can be steep, but it rewards high-level sellers.

Rebag
The leading luxury handbag resale platform, Rebag recently launched a price evaluation algorithm, giving buyers and sellers more transparency on market value of the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Goyard. 

Farfetch Second Life

The world’s biggest luxury fashion destination recently launched Farfetch Second Life, a resale offshoot for designer handbags. Don’t expect to cash in – the service pays you in Farfetch credit.