How to Photograph Clothes for Resell on Ebay

There are 5 ways you can display and photograph clothing for resale:

  1. Flat laying.
  2. Hanging.
  3. On a mannequin
  4. Self modeled.
  5. Modeled.

The first 2 are by far the cheapest and most accessible methods, but the last 3 will make your listings look more professional and usually get a higher sale price.

Flat laying

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Lauren Ralph Lauren tankini from The Simple Little Wardrobe ebay store

The photo is clear, the distance is close enough to show plenty of detail, and this photo has a neutral background. If the item is a good brand and in good condition, the item will sell for a decent price. In some cases, it actually makes more sense to flat lay an item than to hang it on a hanger or display it on the mannequin. Aim to find the method that gives accurate shape to the item so your buyer can see your item at its best.

Hanging

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Women’s Tank from tepool50 ebay store

Hanging works well for this garment because it maintains its shape. The colors are clear and bright, and the seller has “filled up the frame” by zooming in close. The background is plain and not distracting. You can usually find a door or a wall to use as a neutral background for hanging your items. This method works great for most clothing, although it doesn’t look as professional as a mannequin or a model.

Mannequin

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John Meyer suit from PinstripesandPencilSkirts ebay store

Some items just look better on a mannequin than laid flat or hanging. Suits are especially tricky to display correctly without a mannequin or model since they need extra support to show their shape. The natural light is perfect for showing off the hot pink color of this suit, and the background is simply a blank wall. With mannequins available for under $100, it’s an affordable and reliable method for display.

Self-Modeled

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Lulu B top from mysweetamericandressing ebay store

Note that I said self-modeled, not selfied. You’ll need a tripod and a camera with a timer, or a helper to take good self-modeled photos. And remember that you need to look as nice as you can if you’re going to be in your listing. Fix your hair and wear shoes. This is a plain top, but it looks rockin’ because it is expertly modeled and has chic accessories. Notice that the seller  uses a neutral background and zooms in tight to just the item for sale. She also angles her body to give some movement and form to the shirt. This method takes a little more time than flat laying, hanging, or using a mannequin, but it can look much more professional when done correctly.

Modeled

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Mexican dress from americanarchive ebay store

The most expensive but the most profitable method of displaying clothing on ebay is modeling. Lemme give you a for instance: this mexican dress sold at American Archive for $64. In my experience, using only a mannequin, I’ll get about $25 for a similar dress. Talk about the power of a picture! The only downside is the dollars it will cost for the proper photography equipment, display accessories, and the model’s time. If you’ve already got those assets on hand, use them! It will be worth it.

What’s your favorite way to display your ebay store items? Comment below!

Thrifted Fashion: Cabi Dress & Vintage Coat

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Today is Church Day, and I’m wearing a vintage Kay McDowell car coat. It’s 100% wool and has some great 1950s details like big buttons and bracelet length sleeves. It’s in fantastic condition! My dress is by Cabi, with a Chico’s necklace and bargain pumps from Payless (surprisingly comfy!)

Vintage Coat: $7, thrift store

CAbi Dress: $8 + shipping, ebay

Predictions Pumps: $20, Payless

Chico’s Neckalce: $12 free shipping, ebay

Vintage bracelet: FREE stole it from my mom

Diamond cuff earrings: Present from the hubby & he refuses to tell me how much they cost

Do you have a thrifted outfit to share? Link below to your style!

How to Find Startup Inventory for Your Fashion Resale Ebay Business

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Want to know where to get Ebay fashion inventory, today, for FREE? It’s a big secret, but I’ll let you in on it…

YOUR OWN CLOSET.

I read somewhere on the internet, so it must be true, that we actually only wear 20% of the clothing we own. The rest isn’t the right size or it’s the wrong color or we just don’t like it. So whenever someone asks me where to get inventory to sell, I tell them to look in their own closet.

Start with purging your closet. It doesn’t matter what method you use, just do it. The KonMari Method is super popular right now. I think some of her ideas are a waste time (seriously? I’m supposed to roll up my underwear?). However, the general idea of keeping only what you love is great. Your leftovers will turn into cold, hard cash. Actually, electronic binary code credited to you paypal account, but you get the idea.

Instead of making a pile to donate, make a pile of stuff you can sell on Ebay. Don’t forget to go through your jewelry, shoes and accessories as well. Even if something is only worth $8 or $10, it’s worth your time to sell it since you’re just getting started. It’s also like free money since you didn’t have spend money at the thrift store to get it.

I recommend that you list 10-20 items that you already own on Ebay before you try to purchase inventory. There is a learning curve to this business. You’ll have to set up your paypal account and get your Ebay account registered and all that jazz. Don’t try to throw in the complications of buying inventory in that mix. It will add to your anxiety–especially if an item doesn’t sell right away (some won’t).

After you sell a few items that you already own, you’ll start to understand the true value of secondhand clothing. Try not to think about what you paid for for and item, since that really doesn’t have any bearing on what it will sell for. As far as assets go, clothing has a drastic depreciation rate. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time to sell, it just means that you may have some misgivings when you recall that you paid $120 for that dress and you only got $22 for it.

Think of it this way: if you donated those items, you would get nothing for them (or some negligible tax deduction). If you sell them on Ebay, you will get something. And once you learn what sells and what doesn’t, you’ll purchase similar items at the thrift store and really start making money.

Comment below about your first listings and sells, I’d love to know how you’re doing!

10 Essential Tools for Starting Your Ebay Fashion Resale Business

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Actually, you don’t need to find an awesome antique toolbox. You probably already have most of the things you need to start your ebay business. Here’s your go to list:

  1. Computer
    • USE: Listings items, editing photos, and printing labels. You can’t do everything you need to do on a smartphone, and you’ll wear out your thumbs trying, so you need a computer.
  2. Internet Service
    • USE: Accessing the Ebay website. A home internet connection would be ideal, but theoretically you could make a public internet connection work, it just wouldn’t be as convenient.
  3. Printer.
    • USE: Printing labels. Listen, you save SO MUCH MONEY by using the Ebay label printing service because Ebay offers a discount off the regular price of shipping for USPS and FedEx services. It’s free and it’s already part of your Ebay selling account. When you use the Ebay label service, it automatically updates your tracking info to your sale. It saves you a trip to the Post Office. There’s no reason not to use it! So you HAVE to have a printer, even if that means buying one.
  4. Adhesive Labels.
    • USE: Printing shipping labels. Large, printable adhesive labels cost about $0.05 each. It’s about the cost of the tape you’d use getting a paper label to stick to your packages and it saves lots of time, so buy some. My favorite supplier ValueMailers on ebay.
  5. Smartphone.
    • USE: Researching potential inventory. I wish I could say that you could get by without a smartphone.  But without mobile access to the internet, you  seriously impede your business growth. When you’re thrifting, you’ll inevitably come across some unknown brands. Without access to ebay sold listings, you’ll make a lot of expensive buying mistakes (ask me how I know) because you won’t know if that brand is worth buying. It saves time and money to look up items on the spot and that’s where a smartphone comes in handy.
  6. Camera.
    • USE: Photographing inventory. Actually, you can get away with using your smartphone if it has a good camera. If your phone works for you, use it instead.
  7. Food scale.
    • USE: Weighing items for shipment. In order to print labels at home, you have to provide accurate weight and physical dimensions to the label printing service. You need a scale with precision up to 0.25 of an ounce, and food scales are a widely available and inexpensive choice.
  8. Tape Measure.
    • USE: Measuring your items.  Sizes are not reliable–especially for vintage clothing–and you’ve got to give your buyers the information they need to make an educated purchase. Measure all of your items. It will boost your sales, cut down on returns, and offer you protection if a buyer falsely claims an item is not described because of size.
  9. Storage bins or bags.
    • USE: Storing inventory. Whether it’s under the bed, in a stack in the hall, or hanging in the closet of your spare room, you’ve got to have some place to keep all your inventory. I number my zipper bags and slide them under the guest bed. I hang up anything that doesn’t fold easily (like coats and suits) in the guest closet. I put the appropriate number in the item’s description so I can find it quickly when it sells. It doesn’t matter how you organize your inventory just as long as you can find it when you need it.
  10. Packing material.
    • USE: Packing and shipping orders. Review my posts Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing–I go over all the basics. The one thing I don’t mention is tape: I usually get mine on sale, in bulk, at Costco or Sams. But you can certainly buy it online. Scotch tape and masking tape don’t work so well, and duck tape is overkill, so go with packing tape.

When you get all these little ducks in a row, you’ll need one more thing: inventory. And I’ll tell you all about start up inventory in my next post.

Is there anything else you consider essential to your Ebay fashion resale business? Comment below!

Thrift Score: J. Crew Martina Pumps

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J. Crew heels have great resale value, so I was excited to see these gals at the thrift store. There was a little spot on one side, but they still sold for a good price.  I must have tweeted them at least 10 times and at one point, they had 13 watchers. And they still took weeks to sell!  On average, I get 2 watchers per item, so it was bizarre to see these sit and sit when there were so many ebayers out there eyeballing them.

Purchased: $5 + tax

Sold: $44.99 + $6.99 shipping

After inventory costs, ebay and paypal fees, and shipping costs I estimate that I made $36.18.

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Had a thrift score lately? Comment below!

 

The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #3: Heavy Items

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Sometimes those heavy items can mean big piles of dollars: men’s work boots, winter coats, and multiple orders. They also mean you need something bigger and sturdier than a polyvinyl or Flat Rate envelop. Here are your choices:

  • USPS Priority Rate
  • USPS Parcel Select
  • FedEx Smart Post
  • FedEx Home Delivery
  • UPS

The Ebay label printing service drop down menu “Compare Services” is the quickest way to find the best shipment for your package. And when you look at the list of services and the prices, you’ll ask:

“But what about media rate? It’s super cheap!”

Yes it is. And it is exclusively for MEDIA–books, CDs, videos, DVDs. Clothes do not qualify. If you try to use Media Rate service, the PO will figure it out and and send your package back to you, and you’ll have to buy another label. You cheater, you.

FedEx and Priority Rate can be similarly priced if the shipping distance isn’t far. FedEx SmartPost is usually a little cheaper than Priority, but it can take up to 2 weeks to ship since it is an economy service. One major caveat is that you cannot ship to or from a PO Box–you must have physical addresses. You also need to use your own packaging.

If your buyer needs an item quickly, don’t use FedEx Smart Post. Go with Priority. The great thing about Priority is that the USPS offers a wide variety of boxes with the cost of the service, available through the USPS website. Your credit card information is not required and delivery is free, so if I use Priority rate, I save money on packaging by using USPS Priority Boxes. Go ahead and order a few boxes now because delivery can take up to 2 weeks. I recommend ordering 5 shoeboxes and 5 large mailing boxes.

As for USPS Parcel Select, I’ve never used it. It is an economy service, so the delivery estimates are longer than Priority and it’s still more expensive than FedEx SmartPost.

FedEx Home Delivery and UPS services are only for really big, heavy shipments. I don’t believe I’ve ever needed to use them for a clothing shipment, although I had used them to ship china, several strollers, and large electronic equipment. If you need to ship bulk lots, you may need to use these services. The good news is they are both very reliable and usually pretty quick, with an average delivery time of 3-4 business days.

Questions about shipping lightweight items? Try The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #1: Polyvinyl Envelops and The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #2: USPS Flat Rate Priority.

 

The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #2: USPS Flat Rate Priority

In my previous post, The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing: Polyvinyl Envelops, I talked about lightweight, plastic envelops and the USPS First Class shipping service. But what about clothing that is fragile, heavy, or rigid? That’s where the USPS Flat Rate Envelop, Regional Rate, and Medium Flat rate boxes come in handy.

 

The USPS includes these envelops and boxes as part of the cost of Priority Flat Rate shipping services. This means they are not “free”, they are included in the price of the service. If you use them without buying the priority service they were meant for, you’re stealing and that’s illegal, people. You’d be amazed what you can cram into a Flat Rate or Legal Flat Rate envelop! As long as you can close the original adhesive seal (which, by the way, you can reinforce with tape), and it weighs under 70 pounds, the PO will ship it for $6.45 (even less if you print your labels from Ebay!).

The Regional Rate Box A & A2 (same rate boxes, different shapes) has variable cost scale based on the distance of shipping, or “zone”. For zone 1, it’s about $6, and it goes all the way up to zone 9, at $15. These boxes can be the cheapest method to ship if your item is heavy and doesn’t fit in a Flat Rate Envelop.

Although your local Post Office will carry some of these priority boxes and envelops, they won’t carry all of them. It’s easier to go to the USPS website and order what you need. Delivery is free and your credit card information is not required to make an order.

Here’s my recommended Ebay Fashion Reseller USPS Shipping Starter Kit:

  • 10 Flat Rate Envelops
  • 10 Legal Flat Rate Envelops
  • 5 Regional Rate A boxes
  • 5 Regional Rate A2 boxes
  • 5 Medium Flat Rate Boxes

The PO can take up to 2 weeks to get everything to you, so don’t wait until a customer places an order to get your boxes–order in advance.

But what about all those other services? Priority, media rate, FedEx SmartPost, Parcel Select– read The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #3: Heavy Items. For info on shipping lightweight items, read my previous post The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #1: Polyvinyl Envelops.

The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing: Polyvinyl Envelops

One of the reasons I focus on reselling fashion in my ebay store is because it is so inexpensive and easy to ship. It’s not heavy or fragile. Me and thousands of other ebay resellers use the same tried and true tool to ship clothing: the polyvinyl envelop.

 

It’s a thin but sturdy plastic envelop with an adhesive strip. Simply fold your clothing, slide it in the envelop, and slap the label on. It’s ready to go. And since it only weighs 0.25 ounces on average, it adds negligible weight. They cost $0.03-$0.07 a piece, cheaper if you go with good old gray, and more expensive if you buy in smaller lots and other colors. These are much, much cheaper than bubble wrap envelops and lighter than cardboard envelops.

I’ve ordered from ValueMailers for several years now. They ship fast and provide a consistent, high quality product (and I’m saying this because I believe it, not because I’ve been buttered up with some kind of sponsorship).

As long as an item weighs 16 ounces or less, I will use USPS First Class shipping service with these envelops. I also use them with international shipments and FedEx SmartPost. I’ll even ship shoes in these bad boys if their weight qualifies. Of course, if something is fragile, brittle, or easily bent, I use a stiff envelop or a box.

When an item weighs over 16 ounces, it no longer qualifies for the USPS cheapest shipping method–First Class. I’ll talk about heavier items in my next post: The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #2: USPS Flat Rate Priority and finally, The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #3: Heavy Items.

 

Thrifted Fashion: Chico’s Knit Jacket

 

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It’s still wicked cold here in Virginia–I don’t know what’s up with the weather but I’m ready for spring already. I donned my tall black boots and layers to help me get through it.

Chico’s Gray-Multi Knit Blazer: $4, thrift store

Tahari Tee: $6, TJ Maxx

Jessica Simpson skinny maternity jeans: $7, thrift store

Dolce Vita Boots: New in Box from Ebay seller, $75

Vintage sterling and lapis pedant necklace: ebay seller, $5

Sterling silver hoops: $0, stolen from my sister

 

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Have you ever worn thrifted or secondhand items head to toe? Comment below and I’ll feature your favorite outfit!

What to Buy at Thrift Stores: Swimdresses

Believe it or not, it’s swimsuit season. Schools begin having spring break as early as March and lots of people will be shopping for new swimwear.

Like any other fashion category, bigger is better. The average women’s size in America is 12. The swimdress style lends itself to larger sizes because it is flattering on every figure. So definitely look for sizes 12 up–and grab those plus sizes right away if the price is right!

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Croft & Borrow Size 18W swimdress, purchased for $4, sold for $19.99 + $3.99 shipping.

 

Swimdresses are one of those fashion anomalies that I referenced in “I NEVER BUY THESE BRANDS FOR RESELL“. It doesn’t seem to matter what brand large and plus size swim dresses are just as long as they are in good condition and trendy–or at least as trendy as a swim dress can be.

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Apt.9 size M swimdress, purchased for $4, sold for $19.99 + $3.99 shipping

As you can see from my profits so far, these aren’t AH-MAZING deals, but they are solid money makers. They usually sell within a week of listing. Of course, I’d rather find a bargain for $5 and sell it for $100, but my store only gets a few of those a month. The backbone of my business is regular $10-$20 profits with a quick turnover.

A more desirable brand of swimsuit–Miraclesuit, Longitude, La Blanca, or Becca by Rebecca Virtue–would probably get me another $5-$10. Swimwear prices will also rise in the coming months with an increase in demand.

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Longitude swimdress, size 20W. Currently listed for $29.99 +$3.99 shipping.

I recommend a BIN (buy-it-now) listing of $20-$30 with reasonable shipping costs added. Be sure to give measurements of your swimdresses laying flat and note any defects in the suit in the listing description.

Quick recap:

  1. Buy bigger sizes.
  2. Buy any brand.
  3. List as BIN for $20-$30 plus shipping.

Happy thrifting!