If you're looking to make extra money by selling used clothes, you're not alone. According to Business Insider, the U.S. resale clothing market is a $16 billion industry. In most cases, you'll primarily sell to consignment and resale clothing shops, or specialized online sites. To make money, however, you must understand how the used clothing market works, and the best methods for selling items that you don't plan on wearing anymore.
Check Condition and Presentation
Examine the clothes you're looking to sell to determine their appearance and condition. Missing buttons, stains and visible wear signs all represent big turnoffs to any shops that you plan to approach. Always save original boxes or bags to pack used clothes and shoes. Otherwise, use only your best garment bags and hangers. Paying attention to such small details boosts your credibility with a buyer.
Do Your Homework
Call or visit a shop to see what items are hot right now. Timing plays a major part in customers' buying choices -- which is why you won't have much luck unloading a winter coat in the middle of spring, for example. Ask the shop manager what sizes or styles she's seeking, and if she specializes in men's, women's or children's clothes. Getting all these details right will save a lot of time, effort and legwork.
Establish Relationships with Select Stores
Boost your chances of selling clothes regularly by starting a business relationship with one or two stores in your area. You'll likely see two types. Resale shops offer a reduced percentage value for your item, or store credit, which helps in finding salable items quickly. Consignment stores, by contrast, generally pay 30 to 40 percent of the final sale price -- which you only receive when an item sells within a certain time period. However, don't just pick the store that pays the highest percentage. See how clothes are displayed, and customers are treated, before you commit.
Always ask to see contracts and policies, especially if you plan to work solely with resale and consignment shops. Find out how long a store's consignment cycle runs, what percentage of a sale is yours, and any additional fees that you're expected to pay.
Get an Online Account
Stake out a presence online, so you can reach buyers who don't shop in stores. eBay remains the biggest and best-known e-commerce site, where you'll also find yourself competing against thousands of better-established sellers, as Business Insider states in its June 2015 report. Alternatives include Instagram, where you can post photos of the latest clothes you're selling, and take bids in the comment sections. Another option is Poshmark, an online application that works like eBay. If your tastes are more specialized, consider creating an account on a site like SnobSwab, which focuses on luxury clothing items.
Check each website's terms before you sign up. For example, ASOS Marketplace takes a 10 percent commission for each sale, which adds up fast unless you're selling a lot of clothes, says Teen Vogue.