How to actually make loads of money from flipping clothes on eBay, according to experts
I must warn you, it is addictive
“I never started a business,” says Sophia Amoruso, Founder and CEO of $100 million fashion retailer Nasty Gal, “I started an eBay store, and ended up with a business.”
Her story is told through Girlboss, the new Netflix drama where she (unintentionally) starts a fashion empire from ‘flipping’ vintage clothes on eBay (buying and selling for more money). She found items for $8 that sold for $1,000, by using hacks like searching for misspelled items, assuming fools who spell Chanel ‘channel’ wouldn’t know the true value of their item.
So not everyone’s going to make $100 million, but using certain tricks can help you to earn enough to quit your job and travel the world (probably not). I spoke to online selling experts to find out how to master the art of buying and selling online.
TRICKS FOR BUYING
Look out for mispelled item names
Most users on eBay don’t know how much they could make from what they’re selling, or don’t care. Misspelled item and brand names mean less buyers will find the item, and the starting price will be lower because the seller doesn’t have a clue.
Also, look out for different and often less specific ways the user may have described an item. If you’re looking for that Realisation Par dress that sells for hundreds by in-the-know sellers, try searching something like ‘red frilly tea dress’, selecting your size and colour. You may have to trawl through some absolute shit, but it’ll be worth it when you find one for $10.
Look out for items ending at awkward times
According to eBay, Sunday evenings are the busiest time for buyers, so those items are likely to sell for a lot more. Look out for items that end late at night or in the middle of weekdays while people are at work. It’s also worth setting the search filter to ‘ending soonest’ to see what items have gone unnoticed. This is what Lucy, an avid user who buys 80 per cent of her wardrobe on eBay does. She added, “sometimes I even just search something as vague as ‘top’, select my size and favourite brands, and scroll until I see something I like.”
If you find a bargain, look at the sellers account
Most people who sell things on eBay do it in bulk, so it’s worth looking at the sellers account to see if they’ve got any more steals. If someone’s selling something really expensive without knowing (or caring) how much it’s actually worth, the chances are they’ll do it again. Or you could be kind and message your secrets.
As well as buying things on sites like eBay and Depop, you can find cheap deals in charity shops, markets or car boot sales. This is what George Barry does, who makes £750 a week from selling clothes online. He started from selling a pile of clothes he had in the corner of his room and now he has 173,000 followers on his Depop and runs a page on ASOS. He recommends finding people who you can buy clothes off cheaply, like market sellers, “Just get to know people in the industry, and with time you get to know people and build contacts from there.”
Always check the seller’s feedback
“When a genuine Self Portrait dress for $50 seems to good to be true, it probably is,” eBay power user Dolly Alderton told The Man Repeller. Check who the seller is and have a look at their feedback. If it’s their first item, it probably isn’t worth the risk.
TRICKS FOR SELLING
A good picture can make all the difference
When it comes to selling online, “pictures are worth a thousand words”, says George, “it’s the first thing you see, and sticks in your mind when you’re tossing up whether or not you can justify spending half your pay check on it.” He says it’s fine to take them on your phone, and recommends keeping your picture style as consistent as possible.
Lauren Sissions and Gus Walsh, a couple who earn a living from selling clothes on their 90K following Depop page BareVintage, say pictures are key. As with any selfie, “good lighting is vital” if you want show the product clearly. “Picturing the clothing on a model also helps customers see the fit and sizing”, Laura says, but recommend hanging an item on a plain wall if you can’t use a person.
Keywords are important
According to eBay, if you “take the time to get your keywords right, the bidders will come.” When buyers search, eBay automatically looks for words in the listing’s title only, so it’s crucial to write your listing in your customers’ language, and use the keywords they search for. They recommend keeping keywords as specific as possible (brand, style, colour and size), and always keep in mind what buyers would be searching for. For example, no one’s going to search “stylish sexy mauve dress very flattering!!”
Always check your competitors
According to eBay, “imitation is the best form of flattery” and you should check out the best of the competition to understand the marketplace you are operating in. Before selling always do searches for items similar to yours to see pricing and how they’ve been listed.
Be aware of timing – Sunday evenings are the best for scheduling and make sure to spread them out
Sunday evenings are the busiest time for buyers, so make sure to schedule your listing to end around then. “You also have to remember you’re listing to keep reaching people at different times” say Laura and Gus, who suggest spreading them across a day or week. EBay recommends listing the item in a 10-day auction to make the most money.
Speak to other sellers
Find successful sellers, ask them how they did it and get a feel for the industry. “It’s all about experience”, George told me, “speaking to someone who’s been doing it for a while can be invaluable.”
Related stories recommended by this writer:
● Here’s how to make money from phone sex, according to a professional
● I bought a haunted doll and she straight up visited my dreams and moved when I wasn’t looking
● I am screeching at this messy Ivanka Trump wig everyone’s gonna wear this Halloween