Are you a vintage fashion enthusiast who loves finding unique and one-of-a-kind pieces at thrift stores? Why not turn your passion into a business by selling vintage clothing online? With the rise of copycat fast fashion, creating authentic closets with vintage clothing is in high demand.
By honing your skills in sourcing and curating vintage pieces, you can tap into the fashion industry and make a profit while sharing your unique style with others.
This guide will delve into the world of vintage fashion and show you how to turn your vintage passion into a thriving business. We’ll take a look at the best platforms to sell vintage clothing and provide tips and strategies for building a successful vintage clothing business.
Figure out Where To Sell Your Vintage Clothing
Figuring out where to sell is critical when running a reselling business, vintage clothing is no different!.
Many sellers use a crosslisting app to automatically list to different platforms. However, it is useful to figure out where to start! Here are some of your options
eBay is one of the best platforms to sell vintage clothing online. With its wide reach, bidding options, and reputation for being a seller-friendly platform, it offers a great market for niche items and allows your items to be available to a global audience. Additionally, its algorithm and appearance have improved significantly over the years, making it a reliable and efficient platform for those looking to scale their vintage-selling business.
Although it may not be a top choice, Etsy is actually an excellent platform for those looking to sell vintage pieces online, Especially if you are looking to build a business for vintage pieces that are considered handcrafted or unique items.
This platform is geared towards creators and designers who want to earn money for their handiwork. There is a large and dedicated community of buyers looking for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. So, you can say that Etsy is a great option for those with stand-out, curated vintage pieces. Learn how to get sales on etsy here.
Vinted is another great online reseller platform that you can use to connect customers with your cool vintage pieces! It is a peer-to-peer sales platform that allows the trading of fashion and household items. Luckily, the platform is home to a large client base looking to score awesome secondhand pieces. So, it would be simple to tap into the audience of Vinted and find an opportunity to make a profit and long-lasting business.
Depop is a fairly popular secondhand reselling platform that offers a unique and trendy space for sellers! The platform combines elements of both social media and the marketplace to make the experience seem authentic and connected.
This platform is specifically geared toward younger generations who are interested in sustainable shopping and trading. If that sounds like your target demographic, you better hop on! With a large, dedicated community of users, you’ll have a good chance of reaching a younger, trend-savvy audience and building up your vintage-selling business.
The last option for reseller platforms is Shopify. It is a great platform for those looking to scale their vintage reselling business, as it gives sellers autonomy over their own platform. You can basically build your own branded website and quickly launch your online store!
So you don’t need to rely on second-hand platforms to build your business; you can take your destiny into your own hands. Plus, using Shopify makes it easier to market and sell vintage clothing to anyone worldwide. The platform offers a wide range of customization options, making it easy to create a unique and professional store that reflects the vintage aesthetic.
Finding your niche is an important step when starting a vintage reselling business. A niche is a specific area of focus within the larger market, and it can help to differentiate your business and make it stand out. By identifying and focusing on a particular niche, you can attract a specific target audience and offer a unique selection of vintage clothing that caters to their specific interests and needs.
Niching down will make your brand clear and buyers will know what to expect. By putting yourself into a box, you’ll be able to curate a vintage reselling business that builds a certain brand of sourcing specific items. For example, you could focus on a specific decade or era, such as 1920s or 1980s vintage clothing, or you could specialize in a specific type of clothing, such as evening wear or athletic wear. You could also focus on high-end designer vintage clothing, niche items like vintage band tees, or reworked or reclaimed styles.
By finding your niche and building your brand around it, you can create a unique selling point and establish a loyal customer base. So, align your brand niche with what you love to source and start your business there!
Research the Market
To ensure the success of your vintage clothing business, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research. This step will give you a clear understanding of the demand for the type of vintage clothing you plan to sell. By researching the market, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about what types of vintage clothing to stock and sell, which can increase the chances of success for your business.
Researching will also reveal the current trends in the vintage clothing market, allowing you to stay ahead of the competition by offering relevant, in-demand pieces. Additionally, it’s important to stay informed about current fashion trends, as many customers are looking for vintage versions of on-trend items instead of buying fast-fashion knockoffs. By sourcing vintage pieces that are in demand and within your niche, you’ll be able to attract customers looking for authentic, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Craft Your Brand
Establishing a strong brand for your vintage clothing business is crucial for success. It helps to attract the right audience, maintain consistency, and guide future decisions as your business grows.
You’ve already started building your brand by niching down. The next step is to define your brand story, visual aesthetic, mission, and target audience. These guidelines will serve as a reference for everything you’ll do in your business. They will be benchmarks as you design your website, curate your collection, and expand your business. Additionally, it will help maintain consistency in messaging as you scale and bring on staff.
Get Funding or Bootstrap
In order to turn your vintage passion into a successful business, it’s important to have a plan for funding or “bootstrapping” the startup. Bootstrapping means to start a business with minimal resources, often relying on personal savings and credit. This can be a good option for those who don’t have access to traditional funding or prefer to keep control of the business.
Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s possible to launch a vintage clothing business from the comfort of your own home with minimal initial investment. As long as you can cover the initial inventory and start-up expenses, you will be able to begin your business without external investment.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to start your business at a faster rate or don’t have the resources to bootstrap, seeking funding from investors or financial institutions can be a viable alternative. This can provide the necessary capital to start and grow your business, depending on your desired scale and goals.
Overall, whether you choose to seek funding or rely on personal savings and credit, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and choose the option that best aligns with your goals and resources.
Source Your Vintage Pieces
The next question is… where are you going to source your vintage pieces to ensure a stocked inventory with in-demand pieces? First things first, you need to research the market to identify potential suppliers in your area and to make informed decisions about pricing and marketing strategies. We’ve written a more detailed guide on where to buy wholesale vintage clothing here. To keep things short, here are some options that are great places to start your sourcing:
- Thrift stores and vintage shops: These are great places to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces at a relatively low cost. It’s important to visit these stores regularly and be on the lookout for new arrivals.
- Online marketplaces: Websites such as eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace can be great places to find vintage clothing. These sites often have a wide range of items and can be a great option for sourcing vintage clothing from around the world.
- Estate sales and auctions: These are great places to find high-end vintage clothing and unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. It’s important to do your research and be prepared to bid on items you’re interested in.
- Wholesale vintage clothing vendors: Many wholesale vintage clothing vendors are available to help you stock your store with vintage clothing. However, it’s important to be aware that wholesale prices can be higher and you may have to buy in bulk.
- Consignment programs: Partner with individuals looking to sell their personal vintage collections and resell them for a commission.
Balance Your Costs & Returns
When sourcing for vintage clothing, it’s essential to keep profitability in mind. While it’s important to find pieces that you love, it’s equally important to ensure that there will be a profit on the resale. This can be a tricky balancing act, as it’s easy to overspend on items that may not yield a significant return. To ensure a viable business, it’s crucial to carefully consider the cost of each item and the potential return on investment before making a purchase. This will help you build a profitable inventory and ensure the sustainability of your business in the long term.
Learn to Take Great Product Photos
The gold is in the photos for vintage clothing resellers! Having high-quality, well-lit images are vital in capturing the unique qualities and details of each item, and they help potential buyers envision themselves wearing it. Without transparency through visuals, you’ll have a tough time selling online!
In addition, displaying the vintage items in context, such as styled in complete looks, can help buyers see how the item can be worn and incorporated into their own wardrobe. This can help increase the chances of a sale and the perceived value of the item, as it is shown in a complete and stylish outfit.
Where To Capture
In order to effectively sell vintage clothing online, it’s important to have high-quality product photography that accurately represents the item. This can be a challenging task as vintage merchants need to consistently photograph new inventory as it comes in. Finding a photography method that works for your business is essential in order to effectively showcase your vintage clothing and attract potential customers.
One way to handle your photography tasks is by building an in-house photo studio, which allows for consistency in the photography and can be done with basic equipment such as a DSLR camera, tripod, simple lighting kit, and white seamless background. However, if you have limited space, you can still take high-quality photos by keeping your equipment stored in one place for easy setup and teardown, taking note of camera settings and lighting conditions, and shooting in batches.
Alternatively, you can also outsource photography to a professional studio, in which case, it is important to plan out the outfits beforehand and use garment bags to protect the clothes during transportation.
Market Your Pieces
When it comes to your marketing strategy, you have to be aware of how you’ll best communicate with your target audience. For many vintage resellers, a mix of paid advertising and organic methods are used to direct traffic. Below are a few marketing tactics you can use to get the word out about your business:
Social Media: One of the most popular methods for vintage businesses is social media marketing. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok allow you to quickly and easily share images and videos of your vintage pieces with your followers. By posting regularly and engaging with your audience, you can build a loyal following and drive traffic to your store.
Email Marketing: By sending out a weekly newsletter, you can inform your customers of new arrivals and offer special promotions or discounts. This is a great way to build rapport with past customers and retain their business.
Organic Search Optimization: By understanding the importance of SEO and implementing it effectively, you can ensure that your vintage clothing business is easily discoverable by potential customers, ultimately increasing the chances of making a sale. Each marketplace has a different search algorithm, for example the etsy algorithm might differ from the one on depop.
Overall, starting a vintage clothing business can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor. By finding the right platform to sell on, such as eBay, Etsy, Vinted, Depop, or Shopify, you can reach a global audience and tap into the growing market for authentic, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.
Additionally, by identifying and focusing on a specific niche, you can attract a specific target audience and offer a unique selection of vintage clothing that caters to their specific interests and needs. With the right strategies and a passion for vintage fashion, you can build a successful vintage clothing business and share your unique style with others. Good luck!