sell online

Empowering change: The crucial shift to online retail for charity shops

By Amy Cantelo, Owner of My Preloved Wardrobe eBay Store

Charity organisations are not new to selling donations online, and many of you have fantastic online stores that are increasing revenue. But whether you already have a thriving online store, or you are just thinking about dipping your toe into this booming market, now is the time to take your online clothing sales to the next level. 

With the sustainability of the fashion industry increasingly under the microscope, charity shops are at the forefront of the fashion revolution. And it’s you – the dedicated people who work in charity retail, who have the chance to capitalise on it.

A passion for second-hand success

I’ve sold preloved clothing on eBay for over twenty years, amassing over 17,000 clothing sales and gaining a loyal following of fellow second-hand enthusiasts. I curate my stock from private clients, dress agencies, charity shops and jumble sales. I now offer training to others who want to start selling preloved clothes or want to improve their existing online store.

Throughout my career, I’ve gained an unrivalled insight into how to make money from preloved fashion. I’m an expert at picking out the high value items from a sea of used clothing, and I’ve built a comprehensive knowledge of labels that sell well. 

Above all else, I find absolute joy in the process of finding an unwanted piece of clothing and giving it a new life with a new owner. Perhaps someone on the other side of the world, or someone who has been searching for that particular dress or shirt for years. And it’s a passion for selling second-hand clothes that will, in turn, lead to the success of your online store and financial reward for your charity.

   A relatively low value dress that fetched a very high price as it’s been seen on Kate Middleton

Most of you have already set up your selling platform – now fill it with clothes that people really want. There’s no right or wrong here – it’s impossible to tell you every brand that sells well, so start with selling what you love.

  • What fabrics do you like the feel of?
  • Which patterns stand out to you?
  • What style do you think looks great?

I like to focus on high-end labels, but perhaps you have a taste for all things 1950s, or maybe you like something a bit more gothic. Every individual can contribute to the success of an online store.

From this starting point, your knowledge of fashion and online selling will grow, buyers will feel the passion behind your item descriptions and your sales will start to flourish.

Insider tips for rapid growth

With all this in mind, there are so many little tips and tricks that you can use to jumpstart your online store without having to spend twenty years building up your knowledge through trial and error, and this is how a little bit of help from an expert like me can make all the difference. For instance,

  • are you familiar with the premium brands that like to conceal their labels?
  • can you spot a beautifully crafted seam? Can you tell the age of an item just from glancing at the brand label?
  • has a celebrity been spotted wearing that dress?

It’s little pieces of knowledge like this that take years to learn but just moments to teach, and can give you the edge.

Building on this foundation, the excellent customer service skills you will already have from working in traditional retail will become your invaluable asset – you just need to transfer them to the online marketplace and learn the reselling jargon and etiquette. There are plenty of strategies you can use to keep customers happy and maintain that all important 100% positive feedback – this is vital if you want buyers to choose your store.

The obscure label of a high value brand

Accelerate your online store success

There is a lot to learn about taking your store to the next level, but with expert help and a dose of enthusiasm, you can start generating more revenue for your cause. More than anything, I want everyone in charity retail to love online selling as much as I do.

As you continue your journey, I’d really like to hear your selling stories – have you had an unexpectedly high sale price for an item, or perhaps you’ve received a heartfelt message of thanks from someone delighted with the item they’ve received? Drop me an email or message me on LinkedIn so I can share your successes. 

Connect, learn and thrive!

Contact me for more information about how I can help your organisation with anything from online store inspiration to the practicalities of shipping and returns.  Follow me on LinkedIn for insider resale hints and tips. Let’s seize the moment and take your online sales to new heights!

Amy Cantelo, Owner of My Preloved Wardrobe eBay Store

06/02/2024 17:52