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Selling Used Clothes on eBay Can Be Wearing and Profitable

The option to part with no-longer-wanted clothing items via online selling presents a potentially profitable outlet for the right person with the right inventory. As with other sales ventures, one will want to find desirable brands to buy low and sell high for a profit.

For some sellers the gains may amount to a small fraction of their broader business. For others, a dedicated focus could bring big sales, as exemplified by one seller featured by the Daily Mail. That eBay seller turned parting with old clothes into a five-figure business.

For each success story will comes tales of those who’ve experienced more lows than highs in the used apparel business. One recent active discussion on the eBay Community forums focused on the odd tale of a buyer of used Birkenstock sandals.

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After buying the item, it’s been alleged by the seller that the buyer wore them for the better part of a month before asking about returning them. “Also, the buyer repackaged the item and taped it and wrote “return to sender” to avoid shipping fees,” the seller posted. “What would (I) do in this case? Just refund the buyer fully and move on? Ask if she wore them?”

Respondents seemed less than sympathetic. Some noted that with used clothing, one was bound to get complaints. Throughout the discussion several commenters suggested just issuing the refund and moving on with business.

The desire for known brands available at a discount from full retail despite some wear and tear appears to be as strong as ever. Also, nostalgia has made vintage items, branded or not, highly sought after by some buyers in the marketplace.

Vintage categories on eBay and other places like Etsy reflect that demand. Several helpful suggestions from one eBay vintage clothing buyer stressed always including measurements rather than sizes (which likely don’t have the same meaning as modern sizes do) and detailing any flaws present in the clothing.

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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