I have spent many hours of my life selling clothes at local Portland resale shops. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt as well as the sweet reward after a piece sells. What I don’t love is when I take in items to sell and they get rejected. As someone who has sat at both ends of the selling counter, I can tell you why certain items get rejected and what you can do to avoid hearing, “Sorry, we didn’t find anything today - but thanks for coming in!”
The first check a buyer usually does is the overall quality check. If an item has a stain then it will automatically get the boot. Some stains are harder to spot than others (especially on patterned fabrics) so make sure to do a good lookover in a place where you have a good light source. And I hate that I even have to put this in here but take a second look at the crotch area. I don’t need to go into detail here so just look again, please and thank you!
Another quick “no” is if the item has any snags, pilling, or holes in the material. That is the huge difference between thrift and consignment- we will take the extra time to make sure everything we sell is of good quality.
Sidenote: This is something I have seen a lot and is worth throwing in here. Jeans with distressing. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a stylized rip and a rip rip so it’s a good idea to double inspect those tears for excessive fraying.
Avoid bringing in items that smell a little funky.
Most of the time when an item has a smell to it, it is usually that musty- been sitting around for a while- kind of smell. Or even worse, mothballs. I know they help with those pesky little critters but they also end up making your closet smell so strong that even a small hint would immediately give me a headache. A quick wash is all that is necessary to pass the smell test.
Having your items tailored is a great style trick to look more put together. But for reselling purposes, this makes it very difficult to sell because the sizing is no longer standard. We typically see this with jeans and blazers and can be a reason why we pass on an item.
The Wrong Vibe
There are times when there is nothing wrong with an item, it just doesn’t fit the style of the shop. Buyers are buyers for a reason- they know what will sell and what will sell quickly. It’s a good idea to take note of what different shops take so you can really peg down their clientele. And if you are unsure why some items are rejected don’t be afraid to ask and nicely please.
The Wrong Season
This category can also be mixed with the previous. Some seasons like fall and spring do offer some more wiggle room than winter and summer. Just ask yourself before bringing in an item, “Is this something I would wear today?”
There are a lot of items coming in daily and with only so much space we have to pick wisely. Basics are great and certainly a staple for any wardrobe but we are looking for the swoon worthy pieces. Fun fact: that is actually a category we use when training buyers.
This is more of a note than a “no” for our sellers. We are always on the lookout for quality pieces. Items that have brand recognition will always sell faster than avant-garde brands. Not to say that we won’t accept them- just that it may take a little more time to sell.
Again, we see a lot of items throughout the day, month, year and we know when something is of good quality by touch. It is hard to compare a polyester blouse with a silk number. These differences help us stand out from the resale crowd and as a luxury consignment shop we are always aiming for top quality products.
Aside from material, the construction of a garment will also make a big difference. We will look for even stitching, well sewn hems, and quality notions. This is a huge reason why we avoid brands like Zara, H&M, and other mall-type brands because the overall quality just isn’t there.
Till next week,