Thrifters and Resellers

“I don’t like new clothes. I don’t like the way they smell. I don’t like them,” Bailey Sayin (‘13) said. 

In 2013, Sayin said she made the switch to vintage clothes. Since then, she has amassed a huge collection of vintage clothing — for her own closet and her current inventory of roughly 600 items that she sells on Depop and Etsy, reselling apps, under @baileyskylar and @dreamyvtg, respectively. Starting in 2017, she lists primarily ‘90s and 2000s vintage clothing; currently, she’s sold 6,057 items on Depop. 

“My main thing is that I absolutely love vintage clothing,” Sayin said. “It’s my actual passion … It gives me so much dopamine to find items in the thrift store.”

Through thrift stores, flea markets and online marketplaces  — to varying degrees, with varying styles — many are finding success with reselling clothes.

But there is a process, an art, to reselling. And it starts with actually thrifting the items to resell. They can come from many sources, including chain thrift stores, antique and consignment stores, online platforms, even your own closet. For Sayin, she likes to find clothes at estate sales and through Craigslist.

In general, though, finding clothes to resell can be a tedious process when it is unsuccessful. 

At the Goodwill outlet store in Escondido, widely known as the “bins,” it is “very inconsistent [and] very luck based, but you could find 15 pieces if it’s a really good day,” according to Fayez Sweiss (11).  

Sweiss has been selling clothes at Moonlight Marketplace in Encinitas and Kobey’s Swap Meet in San Diego on the weekends for over a year. He has been inspired by “the baggy clothes and brands” of skate culture as well as a “bunch of friends.” This sense of style is what most motivates him to resell. 

“I just like to help other people get a sense of fashion,” Sweiss said. “If someone were to ask me if they could go lower on price, of course I’m going to say yes, because I want to help out other people that want to dress better for themselves.”

At flea markets, booths with a vast array of items are spread out. Joining one differs from market to market, but if it is open to anyone and there is space, there will typically be a sign up process online or in person, as well as a fee to pay. 

“[The flea market community] is really friendly,” Sweiss said. “I would say it’s a lot of fun because you’re just blasting music and hanging out with friends for a couple hours.”

Similarly, the environment — specifically the chance to “meet new people” and “see other people’s style” — is one of Meira Ganhewa’s (11) favorite parts of selling at markets like Kobey’s and Silverlake Flea in Encinitas. What brought Ganhewa to reselling was, again, simply a strong appreciation of clothing. 

“I just love clothes. Fashion’s been one of my passions since day one,” Ganhewa said. “I started reselling clothes in seventh grade on Depop. … Then just recently I started going to markets, and I found a lot of success with that because Depop was kind of a slower process.”

Beyond flea markets, online platforms like Depop, Etsy and Poshmark are popular ways to resell clothes. While there are some drawbacks to selling online rather than in person, such as customers taking longer to buy an item and dealing with messages and shipping, there are many who prefer it as a method. 

Sayin is one such person. It is “easier and quicker to sell online,” according to Sayin. For sellers, the key to marketing online is consistency.

“You need to be posting new items every day,” Sayin said. “It sort of catches you in a loop where you need to keep sourcing and buying items in order to sell items. If you want to sell eight items a day you need to be posting eight items a day.”

Generally, reselling clothes is “time consuming,” according to Ganhewa. It takes time to find pieces you like, and it requires a different mindset than shopping for new clothes.
“If you’re somebody who’s used to just going into regular stores, it’s gonna probably be a little bit harder for you to find stuff [when thrifting] because you might get impatient and be like, ‘This is all ugly.’ You kind of have to think outside the box and use your imagination,” Ganhewa said.

This patience and commitment pays off though, as profits, for one, were “incredible,” according to Sayin.

“I would say I probably have spent around maybe $2,000, and profits from that $2,000 were probably like $7,000,” Sweiss said.

Beyond profits, buying vintage clothes also avoids contributing to fast fashion. Overproduction of cheap, disposable clothing pollutes in a variety of ways.

“[Fast fashion businesses] use very shady business practices to produce their clothing,” Sayin said. “A lot of the time that exploits women in other countries, but they also use harsh chemicals in their clothing because they’re producing them at such a mass rate and extent that they have to cut corners.”

So while reselling requires patience, the work pays off through profits, both material and moral. All in all, though, it seems the strongest drive to sell old clothes stems from a genuine love for and commitment to style — at least for Sayin, Sweiss and Ganhewa. 

“I think it’s cool to try and find a new set of something that may not serve me but it might serve another person,” Ganhewa said. “It’s about finding a new home for a piece of clothing.”

Photos by Hope Dennis/Falconer

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