Like so many other vintage sellers, you’re probably wondering how you can turn your passion for clothing into a successful vintage clothing business. Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Welcome to ‘How to Successfully Sell Vintage Clothing: The Definitive Guide (2021)’!
Here, you’ll learn how to run a profitable vintage clothing store, whether the store is virtual or physical is up to you. If you’ve never sold a vintage item before or are a seasoned seller, we’re sure you’ll take something useful away from this guide.
How to sell vintage clothing online
- Getting started
- Finances (How do I pay for vintage clothes for my store?)
- Sourcing items (Where can I find vintage clothes?)
- Selling items (Where can I sell vintage clothes; how do I successfully sell them and how do I price vintage items?)
- Storing items
- Social Media
Great! You’ve taken your first real step towards becoming a vintage seller. Congratulations! Now, let’s get started.
What exactly is ‘vintage’?
Vintage is subjective. Some define vintage as anything made 20+ years ago, while others include the early 2000s into the definition of vintage. The consensus is that vintage relates to anything pre-dating the early 2000s.
The Vintage Market
The second-hand market is projected to reach $77 billion by 2025. High demand for unique vintage pieces has led to the formation of many successful communities and marketplaces that bring vintage sellers and buyers come together. These include Ebay, Etsy, Grailed, Depop and more!
How can you get your hands on a piece of this massive pie?
First, you’re going to have to determine what type of pieces you will be selling.
Our website for example, specializes more in vintage mystery boxes, where we sell sweatshirts, jackets, t-shirts, and other articles of clothing from the 70s to the 2000s. Most of our clothing was originally designed for men, but with changes in fashion, women love our pieces too!
You’ll have to determine the angle towards vintage clothing you’d like to take with your store. Do you want to sell menswear or womenswear? Streetwear or more formal? Sneakers or clothing? These questions and many more should be answered by you before you start your journey into selling vintage clothing.
Once you have determined what your store’s niche is, next we’ll have to figure out finances.
Finances (How do I pay for vintage clothes for my store?)
Like any business, starting a vintage store requires initial capital. This is the money used for purchasing your initial inventory and paying for whatever expenses might arise.
Luckily, starting a vintage store doesn’t take an awful lot of money. We recommend that you don’t go too overboard in the beginning with purchasing your initial inventory. Read the next section for more information on sourcing vintage clothing.
Here is a quick breakdown of what your initial costs might comprise of (note: these will be different from person to person):
- Vintage pieces to resell
- Shipping materials (including tape, polymailers, measuring tapes, etc.)
- Initial marketing expenses
- Fees charged by marketplaces (e.g., Etsy’s 20 cent charge to list an item on their platform)
A good initial budget to come into a new vintage venture would be $500-$1000.
Sourcing items (Where can I find vintage clothes?)
With the rise of thrift stores and online vintage wholesalers, it is not at all difficult or expensive to source vintage items. Sellers now have many options for where to get their pieces from. We have broken down the two most common ones below.
Thrift stores are great to find affordably priced vintage items. If you have the patience to sift through the racks at your local thrift store, you’ll be sure to find some items to resell on your store. Once you visit thrift stores enough, you’ll have a better understanding of how to quickly go through the inventory that they have and find the best pieces in the shortest time possible.
Wholesale vintage is like shopping at a thrift store, except its online. Websites like ours, WAYV Shop, offer many different bundles and mixes of vintage items at wholesale/bulk prices. So, if you don’t have the time or patience to consistently check thrift stores to stock your vintage store, then you can easily do so at home with an online vintage wholesaling website. Choose your style and quantity from a wholesale supplier that you trust and wait for your package to arrive. It’s that easy!
Selling items (Where can I sell vintage clothes; how do I successfully sell them and how do I price vintage items?)
With new websites seemingly popping up every day, there are dozens of options at this point for where you can sell your vintage items. Our recommendation is to get a presence on as many of them as possible so that you have the highest chance of selling your items in the shortest amount of time. With quick inventory turnover, you will be able to easily invest your revenues back into your business and continue growing your inventory. This is the key to successfully growing your vintage business.
So, where do we recommend you sell your vintage items?
- Depop – easy to list items, large vintage community presence
- Grailed – large vintage community presence and tools available for you to competitively price your items
- Etsy – massive vintage community presence
- Creating your own website – initially, creating your own website would take the most time. But, with time and effort, you can grow a loyal customer base for your business.
Pricing your vintage items
It takes some practice to learn how to competitively price your vintage pieces.
Initially, for new sellers, we recommend you sell your items at prices that are lower than what similar seasoned sellers are selling their items for. Many of the platforms that you will be selling your pieces on favour those who have a high rating, so as a new seller, you must give potential buyers more of an incentive to purchase your items as compared to your competitors.
As your vintage store gains trust amongst your customers, you can begin increasing your prices to competitively match similar business, i.e., your competitors. Since vintage pieces are so unique, it is unlikely that a potential customer to your business will find the exact same piece on a competitor’s website. So, since there is no real set market price for most vintage items, customers are not likely to be deterred by your price if your price seems fair.
Do some research on whatever platforms you will be selling your items. For starters, answer the following questions
- What are your competitors’ prices?
- What are your competitors charging for shipping?
- How long do other businesses take to ship?
Your products description is important. You need to be able to compactly explain key features of your product to your customers. Including what the item is exactly, sizing of the item, condition of the item and more. Below we have created a general template that you may use for your product descriptions.
Vintage Insert Item Descriptor & Item Type Here (Vintage 90s Dallas Cowboys Sweatshirt)
Tag Size: Insert the size on the item’s tag here, if not available write ‘N/A’
Recommended Size: Insert your recommended size for the item here
Condition: Insert the condition of the item here
Insert necessary measurements here. For a sweatshirt for example, it may include the pit-to-pit measurement and the length from shoulder to bottom-hem measurement.
As your inventory of vintage items increases, you’ll need to figure out a system for storing your clothing. With smaller inventories, being a little unorganized is not as much of a concern. However, as your inventory gets larger and larger, you’ll need to find a way to stay organized.
One way that many vintage sellers stay organized is by investing in clothing racks, as this will allow them to easily sift through their own inventory.
Social media may or may not be important for your vintage store. It depends. Of course, social media is free marketing. You can expect to reach users on whichever social media platform you choose. However, many vintage sellers have been able to create successful vintage stores purely by selling their products on various marketplaces.
The single most popular social media platforms amongst vintage sellers would have to be Instagram. The vintage community thrives here and there are also massive vintage stores that you can draw inspiration from when creating your own content!