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Consignment Store Rip-Off

Consignment Store Rip-Off

I have little to no fashion sense. If I could, I would spend all day in sweatpants, or, better yet, no pants! Alas, if you don't work exclusively from home, you have to wear real clothes. 

I had accumulated many of these real clothes. My closet was busting at the seams with items I hadn't worn in over a year. Enter a post by fellow blogger, Penny: $500 in Sales & Five Things I've Learned on Poshmark. It was just what I needed to read at just the right time. 

You see, I'm in a two-year upswing of minimalism. I woke up one day and realized we had much too much crap (never too much toilet paper, though!). I've slowly but surely sold furniture, books and textbooks, electronics... all in the name of being happier with less.

By all accounts, Poshmark sounded great. However, ever the pessimist, I had my doubts that it would be successful for me.

I refer your attention back to the opening line: I have little to no fashion sense. Who would want to buy this unstylish stuff? Furthermore, none of it is really worth much. I'm pretty thrifty, as my pseudonym gives away, thus I don't shop at the stores that would fetch top dollar. My wardrobe is full of sale and clearance items from already cheap stores like Target, Old Navy, and Ross. Plus, did anyone even want plus size clothing on Poshmark? Or is it all skinny girl Lululemon?

In the words of Elphaba, "Until I try I'll never knooooooooooooow!"

I gathered a bag that had been sitting in my trunk for 3 months. The bag was full of clothes that I had tried to sell at Clothes Mentor, a consignment shop (similar to Plato's Closet, but for ladies, not tweens). This bag was, essentially, a pile of rejects. They had been once rejected by me when I removed them from my closest. They were again rejected when the cashier at Clothes Mentor didn't want to pay me anything for them. Would they meet their ultimate demise (and be sent to the racks of Goodwill) by a thrice rejection on Poshmark?

I downloaded the app and poked around. Okay, they had some stuff from my lower tier stores. Maybe I'd do okay?

I prepped the clothes, cutting loose threads and ironing them to flat perfection. I took a few photos (I had to make do with the permanently out of focus camera on my hand-me-down iPhone). I wrote descriptions that would hopefully entice the shoppers (does anyone even read those?).

I went through and clicked "follow" hundreds of times on other Poshmark users. Part of the game, I learned, is in following other users and sharing items from their closets in a game of quid quo pro.

I had my first sale within four hours of posting! Cha-ching!

In a little less than three weeks, I've already banked over $100 in sales!

A few keys to my early, modest success:

  1. Price realistically. The buyer will be paying $5.95 for shipping on top of the purchase price for the item. That means that the dress that you list for sale for $15 (from which you will earn a profit of $12 after Poshmark selling fees), will actually cost the buyer $20.95. A wise buyer thinks of the shipping as being rolled into the total purchase price. Off-set this shipping buy lowering your price a dollar or two to really entice shoppers.
  2. Offer a bundle. As a seller, you can choose to offer bundle discounts. For example, I'm offering 20% off of the purchase of 2 or more items from my closet. Of my 21 orders to date, 6 of them have been "bundles." Buyers like these because they're getting a percentage off of the items, but also because they're paying shipping of $5.95 just once.
  3. Be descriptive. Include relevant information when you list the item: color, condition, material, size, fit, etc. Going back and finding the item to answer a question from a buyer can get annoying. Try to think of any questions they might have based on the photos you've taken. Common questions I've received for my listings: "What's the length of the dress?" and "Is it see through? Will I need to wear a slip?" 

Here's why I'll never take my items to a traditional consignment store again:

  1. Control. When I surrender a bag of items at Clothes Mentor to be evaluated, I'm relinquishing control. They spit out a number they've calculated for the items they've deemed worthy of their purchase and eventual resale. With Poshmark, I'm in the driver's seat. I can offer an item at any price, can put it on sale at will, and can remove a listing if I change my mind. I can choose to accept a lower offer from a user, or not.
  2. Price. I've gone into Clothes Mentor with a big bag of clothes and walked out with half the items rejected, half accepted, and only $12 in hand. For the equivalent of that same bag on Poshmark, I've already made $100 and counting.
  3. Audience. When you take your items to a consignment store, there's usually just one person there to evaluate your offerings and decide if your items are ones they'd like to have in their store. You're at that employee's mercy as to whether she finds your items to fit with her taste, season, sizes, fit, brands, etc. With Poshmark, the audience is huge... nearly a million. If the price is right, there will be a buyer somewhere.

One thing that has really annoyed me about other online selling ventures is the shipping process. With Poshmark, the buyer pays the shipping! Plus, very few other supplies are needed!

My other supplies: tissue paper (for wrapping items elegantly), packing tape (to affix shipping label to box), and a cheap thank you card (addressed to the buyer). The boxes are free from USPS (shipped to your home or picked up from the post office). Easy peasy!

I drop the box(es) off at the post office when I'm out running other errands but you can also schedule a pick up of the box(es) at your home. Seriously, why is this so easy?

One thing's for sure, I'm never stepping foot in a Clothes Mentor again!

What do you say? Give Poshmark a try!?

If you're more spendy than thrifty, more of a buyer than a seller, download the app, sign up with code JLSXY, and you'll get $10 to spend toward your first order!

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and Frame to Freedom*
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