Right now is the perfect time of year to clean out your closet and get rid of those unwanted items that you don’t wear. The great thing about cleaning out your closet is that you can sell the items you no longer want and use that money to purchase new ones, which is something I learned from my friend and top rated eBay seller Michelle Linovitz. Michelle started doing this as a means to make extra cash in college, and quickly rose to success. She is in extremely high demand as she sells clothes for celebrities and people in the fashion industry! After working with her myself, I knew I had to share her tips and tricks with all of you. =)
Check out this interview with Michelle to learn her secrets to making money off of your closet!
Q: How did you get started selling clothes?
A: I started as a college student selling my own things, as a means to make extra cash to afford my high-end taste on a college-kid budget. It didn’t take long for word to get out that I could sell “anything” (a stretch of the truth, but I certainly love a good challenge!). My friends, many of which went off to be high-powered in the fashion industry themselves, loved the idea that I could help them recycle their wardrobe without breaking the bank.
Q: How did you and Maria meet?
A: Maria and I met through mutual friends while vacationing. She and I are very like-minded and we got to talking about my shopping and selling philosophy one night. It wasn’t long after the trip that she asked me to come over and go through her closet with her. Even celebrities don’t like wasting money on clothes they don’t wear!
Q: What’s your favorite part about selling?
A: Truthfully, the relief that if I goof up and purchase something I don’t love as much as I thought I did, I can sell it! Shopping has suddenly become a little more guiltless.
Q: What are the benefits of hiring an expert such as yourself vs selling on your own?
A: My number one advantage over the “Average Joe” is that I am a Top-Rated Seller with 100% positive feedback. This means that I sell with frequency and meet Ebay’s stringent rating guidelines. Buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a high-end designer item from someone with a positive reputation than someone that’s new to the site. Unfortunately, fraudulent sellers are abound and buyers can and should be wary.
Q: How many times a year should people clean out their closet?
A: Constantly! Don’t wait until the task feels like a burden. If I see something I don’t like, I take it out, place it in a box, and if I don’t miss it after a few weeks, it’s going on Ebay.
Q: How do you know what items will make money?
A: There are several factors that should be taken into consideration: age, condition, popularity of designer and popularity of style. Handbags and accessories sell incredibly well. Certain designers do too – Balenciaga, Celine, Chanel, Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney. And don’t underestimate contemporary labels! I’ve had some of my best return rates on, wait for it, pre-owned Lululemon, Etoile by Isabel Marant, Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang and ALC.
Q: What advice could you give to someone who is looking to sell their item/items and use that money to purchase newer items?
- Take good pictures and use all twelve allowable photo slots.
- It is worth investing in a white board or clean white sheet to lay clothes flat.
- Shoot front, back, sides, and most importantly, close-ups of the main designer tag, interior label and any defining details.
- The more images you provide, the more comfortable the buyer feels you are selling an authentic product.
Q: In your opinion, which designers hold their value the most?
A: I’ve made money on every Chanel bag I’ve ever bought. My husband jokes that I’ve done better in handbags than most have in the stock market. Many high end designers raise their prices each year. Bags that I purchased for $3,000 in 2012 now retail for $5,500. So long as it is a brand that doesn’t discount heavily on their own, you can make money on these investment pieces. Right now I would focus on Chanel, Celine and Hermes in classic colors and styles.
Q: If you’re looking to make money off of your closet, then would it be best to buy classic items vs trendy items? Or will trendy items sell faster?
A: Classic, but not boring. A plain black dress is going to be a challenge to sell. Buy black or beige handbags in classic styles. Buy dresses in popular prints that don’t date themselves. Dolce & Gabbana, Alaia, Chloe – always timeless. If you do happen to go trendy, just don’t hold onto it too long! It will trend out before you have a chance to sell it.
Q: Any advice on how to choose a starting price for your item?
A: My general rule of thumb is 30% of original value for a worn item over 1-year old. This number goes up or down depending on answers to criteria from #4.
Q: There are SO many places to sell online, any tips on how to choose between eBay, Craigslist, Poshmark, Amazon, The Real Real, Tradesey, Thredup etc?
A: I sell on Ebay and buy on The Real Real. Ebay charges the least to sell and has the widest range of audience – remember it’s auction style, so the bigger the buyer pool, the higher the price! The Real Real is a great resource to find fantastic deals that you can resell yourself and see your money back on, many times in full.
Q: People are now utilizing Facebook and Instagram to sell. Are there certain items you would suggest not using this type of selling for vs using it for?
A: I don’t recommend using a platform that doesn’t protect the Buyer and Seller in sale transactions. Ebay is designed to protect both parties, including use of its PayPal program. Should a sale not work out, it protects the Buyer in the event that an item is not as described as well as the Seller in the event that a Buyer tries to make a false claim.
Q: If you place a listing on one site should you take the time to place it on all sites?
A: You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you’ve sold the same item on two different platforms. I would pick one and do it well.
Q: How many times is too many times to keep relisting an item?
A: There are often times a fee incurred for listing item. If you are continuously listing with no bites, at some point you’re going to be in the red. As a generalization, fees are approximately 10% of final value (max. $750) plus 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction in PayPal fees. Ebay offers free insertion fees for the first 50 listings per month. If you offer free shipping, you should account for this cost in your net profit as well.
Q: If you’re starting out on eBay and you don’t have any feedback, how can you be sure others know you’re a great seller and will keep your word?
- Take lots of pictures!
- Be descriptive and provide as much information as you can.
- If you have original tags and/or receipt, black out your name and take a photo.
- When it comes to buyer inquiries, respond promptly, positively and professionally.
Q: Any tips on the best way to draw attention to your item when writing your listing title? Does putting it all in capital letters help? Does using ** or other keyboard symbols help?
A: I have my own style, if you will, and I’m happy to divulge my secret – if the item is new or new with tags (“NWT”) that is the first part of my title. Next up is the designer name in all caps. The description follows, then the name of the place of purchase in all caps, the size and lastly, original price. For example: “NWT New MARC JACOBS Floral-Print Cotton Piqué Shift Dress NEIMAN MARCUS 6 $1100.”
Q: What is your favorite item you currently own in your closet?
A: A pearl-embellished Chanel evening bag from the 2006 runway. And a Cartier bracelet my husband gave me. There are some pieces I could never part with!
Q: What item/items should every girl invest in?
A: A designer handbag and a couple pieces of fine jewelry. So long as you wear well-fitted neutrals in classic styles, you will look like a million bucks!
Q: What do you charge if someone would like to hire you to sell their items?
A: I charge 40% of the final sale price. This includes all Ebay, PayPal and shipping fees. I have a spotless Ebay selling record and rating, so I am more likely to produce a successful sale at a higher sale price than new users on their own.
Q: If someone wants to work with you how can they contact you?
A: You can find me on Ebay @themichelleq or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.