Sell your style on eBay

You may be harbouring a load of dough in your closet. If you have designer duds you no longer wear, convert them into cash by selling on auction site eBay.

Unlike bricks-and-mortar consignment stores, selling on eBay allows you to market your goods worldwide and keep approximately 90 per cent of the selling price. 

I’ve been buying and selling on eBay for several years, and have learned what works and what doesn’t. If you’re considering becoming a seller, here are my best tips.

First, there are definitely certain items that are better suited to eBay than others. 

Because you will most likely be shipping sold goods across the globe, it usually isn’t profitable to sell things that are very heavy and bulky.

For example, if you list your thigh-high leather boots for $50 and it’s going to cost $80 to ship them, no one is going to bid.

For this reason, small and light items such as jewelry are best for eBay.

Authentic designer goods sell well. As people are bidding on items sight unseen, there is a level of assurance that comes with well-known brands.

For example, buyers will be wary to bid on an unbranded silver bracelet. But if it’s made by Tiffany or Pandora or another popular designer, buyers know what to expect in terms of quality. 

Ready to list? If you are new to eBay, you will have to create an account. 

Create a name for your account that is not personal, but provides buyers with assurance that you are actually a real person. Sellers of counterfeit products often use random numbered accounts and savvy buyers know to avoid them. 

Feedback is a very important aspect of eBay. You can gain positive or negative feedback with every transaction, and bidders look very critically at sellers with no feedback.

To build up positive feedback, you may consider buying a few items first. My column Save Smart on eBay  provides tips on how to buy from the auction site.

If you are selling your first item with a zero feedback score, explain clearly in the description that you are new to eBay and can be trusted.

High resolution close-up photos of the item are vital to your listing. Take pictures of any markings, tags, or receipts that verify the authenticity of designer goods, as well as any flaws or damage.

Include a picture of your item next to a tape measure that will help buyers understand the size. 

Write a thorough description of the article. The description should include all the details potential bidders want to know:

  • exact measurements
  • composition
  • where you bought it
  • how old the item is
  • what will be included in the shipment such as the original box or dust bag.

Be completely honest about the condition of used goods. If the item has flaws not disclosed in the listing, the buyer can report it to eBay and you may have to provide a refund.

What price should you expect for your item? Used designer goods typically go for one-third to one-half of their retail price, unless they are very rare or in-demand goods.

Search eBay for what other similar items are listed at. I usually set my price at the lowest I am willing to let the item go for, and, occasionally, I’m pleasantly surprised when a bidding war breaks out and the item goes for higher than expected. 

If you don’t want to sell auction-style, eBay allows you to set a “Buy it Now” price and entertain offers. However, I suspect there is a psychology to auctions that makes buyers feel like they are getting a good deal.

Before listing, research to get an accurate understanding of what shipping costs will be. CanadaPost.ca provides estimates on their “Find a Rate” page. 

But realize that shipping costs can be barrier for some buyers. No one wants to pay exorbitant fees to get their item.

For this reason, I often set my listing price slightly higher and offer free shipping. Consider if you are going to add insurance and tracking to the parcel. It can add significantly to the shipping costs, but understand you are rolling the dice if you decline these services.

If the buyer says the parcel didn’t arrive and you have no way to track it, you will end up having to refund the transaction. 

EBay has partnered with PayPal so you need to set up a PayPal account to handle the financial transactions if you don’t already have one. 

Still have questions?

There are a ton of articles and a community forum on eBay.ca to help new sellers.

Simply scroll down to the bottom of their homepage for links, and start turning your unused items into cash. 


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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