Maybe you’re ready for a new wardrobe this year. Maybe you’re broke after the holidays, and you’re trying to scrounge up cash. Maybe you have visions of turning your closet into an online store, a la Sophia Amoruso.
Whatever the reason, there is no shortage of mobile apps that will help you turn your “gently worn” clothes into cash. You can just snap, swipe and sell from your smartphone, which is undeniably easier than shooting pictures, uploading pictures and then listing items for sale on a dense, multilayer website (cough, eBay).
I’ve been testing a few of these apps — Poshmark, Twice and eBay Valet — since late last year. I was attempting (key word) to sell some never-worn shoes, used handbags and formal dresses that have been stashed in the back of my closet.
A quick reality check: Sophia Amoruso I am not. Despite my best efforts, I’ve only sold one clothing item in the past several weeks. So, while mobile apps may make it easier to list items online, keep in mind that using them doesn’t necessarily equate to sales. Some apps, like Poshmark, still require a lot of work.
And, there are many more apps out there beyond the ones I’ve tried. The RealReal, for example, resells high-end, luxury items. If you’re looking to sell children’s clothes, you might want to try ThredUp, which consigns many different items, but started out as an online consignment shop for kids’ clothing.
eBay Valet: The lazy person’s resale app
Runs on iOS, Web
I’ve had mixed experiences selling on eBay.com — unused audio accessories for my DSLR flew off the digital shelves, while my clothing items sat there for months — and I’ve always wondered if this was due to my selling tactics or the marketplace itself. EBay Valet is a separate app that will do the selling for you, in exchange for a 30 percent cut of sales.
You simply send eBay Valet a box of your
junk precious items, and “valets” will craft and post a professional-looking listing on eBay for you. You can ask for the stuff back if you determine you’re not getting the sales you want.
Also, eBay Valet accepts a lot of different things — not just clothes. It’s the kind of app that makes you scour your bedroom, your basement and your garage for any dust-gatherers you’ve been meaning to get rid of but haven’t bothered to try selling. Using this app may result in divorce.
Before you send the items in to the valets, the app requires that you first take a few pictures and describe the goods. Within an hour, a valet will evaluate your item and either give you an estimate or reject it.
A handbag, a pair of shoes and a dress I submitted for evaluation were rejected, but these were hardly haute couture. Two other dresses were estimated to be worth between $8 and $19, which is much, much less than I what paid for them, but the reality is that the resale market for non-luxury goods is basically one giant yard sale.
Within a week, eBay had sent me an eBay Valet box with a free shipping label, and I off sent the two dresses. A week later, they were listed online, but with professional photos and clear copy. Their starting bids are $23 and $33.
It’s been a few weeks since then, and they haven’t moved. The valets at eBay keep relisting them, free of charge. During this time, I have started to feel a slightly irrational attachment to these dresses. Sure, my date was an ass at that wedding, but the dress looked good. Maybe one of these days, I will wear it again …
Eh. Probably not. I really hope these things sell.
Poshmark: An app for the clothes-hoarding social butterfly
Runs on iOS, Android, Web
Fair warning: Poshmark is going to send you an annoying amount of mobile notifications. So many that a Re/code colleague who once tried the app told me she deleted it almost immediately.
Also, when you first sign up for Poshmark, you will find that you have mysteriously “followed” a couple dozen other users.
Poshmark does this kind of spammy stuff because it is, at its core, a social shopping app. The idea is that you turn your closet into a “boutique,” and then, to drum up potential buyers, you follow other users and share items from their closet. It’s a very you-scratch-mine-I’ll-scratch-yours kind of approach. There are also regular, virtual “parties” that occur within the app, which you can join and use as a means of promoting the items in your closet.
That might all sound unappealing, but Poshmark is actually my favorite of these three apps, and the one that proved to be most successful. It’s pretty easy to create an enticing-looking closet — the photo-capture section of the app even offers filters — and to update your listings as needed. Poshmark isn’t super-restrictive when it comes to which brands and labels you can sell, either, though it will kick people out of the app for trying to sell counterfeit items.
In terms of the shopping experience, I found the inventory to be robust. Poshmark says there are currently around 500,000 “boutiques” in the app, with each one listing more than 25 items for sale on average.
I managed to sell a $68, new-with-tags blouse from Anthropologie for $25 in the app. Poshmark takes a 20 percent cut of every sale — which covers the cost of shipping and returns — so I earned $20. (Then I immediately “reinvested” and bought this T-shirt. Oops.)
Twice: For when you need the cash now. ASAP. Yesterday.
Runs on iOS, Android, Web (LikeTwice.com)
San Francisco-based Twice was inspired by the same issue that eBay Valet is addressing: Sometimes, listing and selling stuff online requires a little too much work.
But unlike peer-to-peer markets, Twice buys women’s clothing outright, and then later sells it in its marketplace. This means that Twice offers you a really low price for your items — on average, it’s around an 80 percent markdown from the original retail price — but you get the funds immediately upon accepting Twice’s offer. And even though the offers are low, Twice says that around 97 percent of sellers accept them.
Twice does have some restrictions around labels. It won’t accept some brands, including H&M, Forever 21 or Old Navy. And it doesn’t accept or sell children’s clothes. But this week, the company plans to announce that it is now accepting and selling men’s clothes in addition to women’s apparel.
As with eBay Valet, you can either print out a free Twice shipping label or request a box in which to ship your items. Last week, I sent in three items that were of little value to me: An old but never used handbag, a pair of non-designer shoes, and a Romeo & Juliet Couture dress. A few days later, Twice got back to me with an offer for — wait for it — $16. For all three.
Will I accept it? Probably, because otherwise I’ll pay $5 to have them sent back, and at the end of the day, these things were of little to no value to me while they were collecting dust in my closet.
Six weeks, three apps and multiple listings later, I’m $16 richer. If you can stand the non-top notifications and like the idea of maintaining a virtual boutique, try selling on Poshmark. Otherwise, go for the easy-sell apps — just don’t expect to make bank.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.