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The Art Of Selling Secondhand: thredUP Review Part II

thredUP Review : Making Secondhand Come First
Written by Julia Eden

Selling To thredUP May Not Save The World, But It Sure Is Fun

I recently reviewed the buying side of the thredUP platform and the pleasurable shopping experience it entailed, which you can check out here if you missed it.  But now I’ve advanced to the next step by selling my gear to the secondhand clothing giant. Just like shopping with this company, selling came with a few caveats, but it also came with some surprises.

Selling starts with research. Dedicated pages detail what they will and won’t accept, how much you are likely to receive and how you will receive it, and includes a handy selling-centric FAQ. I highly recommend you read through it all, especially since most of the negative reviews I’ve encountered come from those who did not research properly first. But before you dive in, let me go through some of the basics, so that you can decide if this is the right kind of swap for you.

Sweet Cash Cash Money

ThredUP is not about making money. Let me repeat that just in case you’re skimming this: ThredUP is not about making money. Prices paid on the site tend to be quite low, though they price designer items quite reasonably. For clothing on the cheaper end of the spectrum, you may get less moolah, but that money is paid out in store credit or cash almost immediately. For the higher priced luxe items, a consignment arrangement means you get the payout only when your donation sells. In my Clean-Out Kit, which I filled to the brim, I had four lower-priced pieces accepted for about $20 total in credit. After the cost of the bag ($10 without the return guarantee, or $20 if you opt to have your rejects returned) I ended up with about $10. However, I also had a pair of designer pants selected for an additional consignment credit of $30, which will be applied to my account once sold.

But There’s A Thrift Store Down The Street…So Why Bother?

Rather than using thredUP as a source of income, the platform is an excellent alternative to donating your duds to some of the less-than-credible thrift stores (for example, controversy plagues Goodwill). Since less than 40 percent of the received clothing makes it onto the site, it is valuable to know what happens to the rest:

  • Pretty good, but not ThredUP good items go on to 3rd party sellers, most likely other thrift stores and vintage shops (both nationally and abroad).
  • Super not good items go to textile recycling plants where they are either upcycled (into things like rags for industrial use), or recycled (traditionally polyester items, though cotton is gaining traction in recycling).

Fill Your Bag For The Win

ThredUp Selling Kit

Feel free, fill a bag

ThredUP very clearly outlines what they expect to come back in their Clean Out Kits, and they aren’t lying. They also aren’t dummies. To save my dear readers pain and suffering, I filled my Clean Out Kit with a mix of stuff, some acceptable and some not, to test their boundaries.

Here’s what I learned –
  • When they say “nothing over five years old”, they mean it. They are not a vintage seller, and for the most part, they seemed to be able to tell the difference. The only exception I slipped through was an unusual pair of ready-to-wear pants from a couture designer. While they are decidedly older than five years, they are also in perfect condition, almost never worn, and incredibly unique.
  • You will never receive anything in questionable condition, so don’t bother sending anything in an equally terrible state. I have ordered at least one piece from the site listed as “slight pilling”, but upon arrival of said garment, there was no visible pilling. As a test, several of the items I sent were, what I would classify as “slight pilling” condition. The company duly rejected them, and rightly so.
  • They love brand names. And it doesn’t necessarily matter what name that is. There are tons of clothes from store brands such as Target’s Merona, or fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and Old Navy. So it’s worth keeping in mind: we curate this store, so if we send what’s better, then what’s better will be available to buy.
  • If you’re not ready for your sartorial sentiments to end up shredded, either don’t send them, or make sure you buy the return service. Because chances are there will be quite a few pieces you think they will love, that they won’t. I’ll admit it, I’m still a little sad about the $400 Italian wool vest they rejected, but hopefully, it is being resold now, just a little further down the line…
  • The bottom line is this: ThredUP is not an excuse to buy more, but it is an excuse to buy better.

To learn more about the process, you can check out their introduction to the Clean Out Kit, featuring options for both selling and donating. The bag is huge so get to your closet and start cleaning!

About the author

Julia Eden

With a passion born in rivers, Julia Eden has spent the last decade crusading for the environment. Educated in fashion design and English Literature, and skilled in dance, she is dedicated to finding the information needed to live a new and better life. While not quite a Luddite, she would very much like to live in a cave with a wolf and an internet connection.

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