The ultimate step-by-step guide to selling your vintage wares like a pro

By Kaira van Wijk

Photo: Julia Astok

Here's what you need to know before you pass on your pre-loved items

Especially over the course of the pandemic, the secondhand apparel market has skyrocketed. Case in point: Vestiaire Collective grew more than 100 per cent in 2021 buoyed by heightened climate change awareness, closet cleanses while working from home, and a growing Gen Z clientele. Also in Scandinavia, inspirational initiatives such as Worn Vintage in Stockholm and Paloma Vintage in Copenhagen are flourishing.

From a Cecilie Bahnsen dress to Acne Studios boots from a specific season in 2016 or the 1990s – you may have one of these gems gathering dust in your closet because they just don’t feel “you” anymore. It’s time to let go, but instead of adding to the huge amounts of waste generated by fashion, why not pass it on to someone else who loves it? To help you get started we compiled this guide to selling your pieces with ease.

(Although technically a piece of clothing or an accessory isn’t vintage unless it’s at least 20 years old, for the sake of this article we’ll refer to vintage and secondhand in the same vein.)

Do your research

There’s a plethora of ways to sell your prized vintage clothes these days – whether through a digital platform or a physical marketplace. Find out if the place you have your eye on matches the type of clothes you’re looking to sell. Do they offer similar designer pieces for example? Would your items be more suitable in a low-key thrift shop, an upscale vintage boutique or in the digital realm? Also look at their conditions, since the percentage they take from your sold item usually differs.

If you have a fairly large social media following you could also consider selling your items through something like Instagram Stories (and putting it in Highlight as long as it hasn’t sold), since then you won’t have to worry about selling fees. Apart from popular European and international platforms such as Vestiaire Collective, have a look at the following reputable resell websites based in Scandinavia:

  • Blocket, basically the Scandi version of eBay.
  • The Vintage Bar, a digital platform that specialises in hand-picked luxury vintage bags and accessories.
  • Thirdhand Vintage, a high-end vintage clothing boutique with pieces by Courrèges and Dior that you can find both online as well as in a physical store in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Tradera, an online auction platform for secondhand Swedish and international brands such as Acne Studios, Filippa K and Rodebjer.
  • ReRobe, a well-known online destination for Scandi vintage fashion such as Totême and Ganni but also (British) Christopher Kane.
  • Sellpy, a platform for pre-loved fashion and more for women, children and men which also includes high-street labels such as Zara.

Consider the season you’re selling in

Marketing a skimpy, silky Jacquemus dress in the dead of winter might not be the way to go. It probably won’t gain much traction, and by the time summer rolls around it may seem less appealing to customers since it’s been on sale for so long. That leaves them asking: why hasn’t it been scooped up by someone else already? Especially in Scandinavia, seasonality matters since the climate shifts so much throughout the year.

Take care of your look

Visual appearance is everything on a digital secondhand marketplace. Simple tweaks make a world of difference: iron that shirt before you photograph it, hang it on a proper hanger with an appealing background. Make sure to upload photos of all the angles: front, back and close-ups. Also, pieces shown on a person usually sell better and faster than those on a hanger. That’s because people can actually see themselves wearing it. Simply snap a mirror picture of yourself wearing that skirt or top.

Look after your things

Pictures sell clothing to a certain extent, yet you don’t want people to return a piece or complain afterwards – which subsequently might also lower your rating on the platform. Be gentle with your clothes – in general – and be sure to send out a package with a freshly hand-washed piece of clothing that still has all its buttons on. Details matter.

Possibly give a jacket a little steam and if there’s a little tear be honest about it up front. Since it is previously worn (which also adds to the story) it’s only natural that the piece isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t’ have to be. Just be transparent about it.

Respond swiftly

Be ready to answer all questions coming in. Don’t be lazy and think the item will sell itself because that’s usually not the case. Sometimes you need to take on the role of an in-store salesperson and really promote your ware.

Price your piece a little higher at first

Don’t be afraid to bet higher and price your item a little above what you initially had in mind. Sometimes a higher price is accepted, sometimes not. In case of the latter, you can always lower it later.