I am an avid vintage clothing and shoe/boot collector (and also sold vintage in my own online store in the past). I've also been on ebay for over 20 years. I'd like to offer some suggestions to existing and potential vintage clothing sellers. Many wonderful sellers are already following these guidelines and I look for their auctions and buy from them when I can. But there are many sellers who for whatever reason (laziness, ignorance, or out-and-out deception) do not. The latter probably won't get my business the first time, or perhaps other people's business either. If you are an existing vintage clothing seller, or just getting started, you can save time and hassles and gain loyal buyers by following these general do's and don'ts:
1. DO put photos and detailed descriptions in your auctions as soon as you list. If I see something like "photos and descriptions coming soon", I will not waste my time to come back to your auction. I really don't understand the point of these kinds of listings. If you're not ready to list your item, then wait until you are ready. Why would you want to lose potential buyers?
2. DO provide measurements in every auction when applicable Size tags are not sufficient as vintage sizes are very different than today's sizing "standards". Provide the following when applicable: bust (armpit to armpit), waist (at smallest point near middle of garment), hips (widest point near where the hips are), and total length from top of shoulder. For dresses, please DON'T use length from armpit or skirt - these are fairly useless measurements.
For shoes and boots, provide measurements of sole length and width, heel height, and opening at the top of the boot (if applicable).
3. DON'T estimate a size and omit measurements. Size estimates mean nothing to many people. Modern sizes vary greatly. If there is a size tag in the garment, DO include it in your auction but make sure to identify the size as the size listed in the garment.
4. DO describe each and every flaw accurately, including stains, tears, holes, rips, picks, pulls, pilling, etc. and provide photos to illustrate, if possible. It's also best to use a ruler or something else like a penny to show the size of the flaw. As sellers you may think it's better to wait for a potential buyer to ask until you reveal information about flaws, but not every buyer asks. Would you prefer getting less for your item because you were up front about a flaw or do you prefer an irate buyer after the fact who can leave negative feedback? Your best bet is to be honest in the auction from the start.
5. DO provide any and all information listed in manufacturer's tags, and photos if possible, as this is important to many buyers. Shoe sizes should list the width as well if available.
6. DO be up front about shipping costs, handling fees (if any) and return policies. This is true for any auction, but thought I'd mention it anyway.
7. DON'T omit the fact that you or someone else has altered a hemline of a garment. Many sellers these days are cutting and hemming maxi dresses and either leaving the hem unfinished, not leaving enough hem depth so it can be altered by the buyer if desired, or just plain finishing the hem badly. The hem is an important part of any garment and if it has been altered, DO disclose this in your auction.
8. DO answer any and all questions from buyers and post them in your auction if you think it will help other buyers. I have passed on bidding on many an item because I do not get a reply from the seller.
9. DON'T place a non-vintage item in a vintage category. This is a violation of ebay policy. "Vintage style" or "retro" items do not belong in these categories I know of buyers who will report unscrupulous sellers to ebay who repeatedly violate this policy - those who cram a vintage category with a bunch of new stuff that clearly does not belong there. If you're unsure if an item is vintage, or you need help putting a date on something, ask for help in the
ebay vintage clothing discussion board.
10. Speaking of ebay policies, DON'T add names of designers to your listing unless that item is actually manufactured by that designer or brand. It is okay to compare with certain designers (and please make sure you know what you're talking about), but to stuff your listing with names of designers that have nothing to do with your item is a violation of ebay policy.
Follow these guidelines and you will gain repeat buyers and positive feedback.
* Note: I cannot answer questions about your specific item(s). Thank you for understanding.
Selling Vintage Clothing on ebay: A Buyer's Perspective
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April 24, 2017
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