(I started this post at the beginning of March, back when I was knee deep in clearing out my closet/home and am just now getting around to finishing it.)
I guess this is actually the opposite of shopping, since I sent clothes away from my house and got money in exchange for them. When I was in the midst of getting rid of the things that no longer sparked joy, I faced a bit of a conundrum about what to do with a considerable number of them. Usually, I just donate the clothes that are still in fair condition to the Goodwill. But, a lot of the stuff I was clearing out was still in very good condition, and was from pricier brands. As in, I’d bought the items fairly recently and paid a decent amount of money for them, so I was hoping to get some of that initial investment back.
I thought about consigning the clothes, but it seemed a bit risky. Years ago, when I was in college, I walked from my apartment in Fairmount to Buffalo Exchange, which was on Walnut, east of Broad, at the point. The buyer there disdainfully sifted through my stuff before telling me, sniffily, that she wanted none of it. So I had to trek back to Fairmount, lugging that stupid bag of clothing.
The experience put me off of consigning ever since, even though I now dress a lot better than I did in college (ie, someone might actually want to buy my gently worn clothing). Plus, I’ve heard other not-so-positive stories about local consignment shops in Philly. At Greene Street, they won’t take anything unless they take at least 10 items, for example. There’s also the fact that your stuff has 60 days to sell at some of these places and you have to make an effort to get your cut, if and when it does sell. Yeah, no thanks.
Enter Twice, which I actually found out about through an ad on my Facebook wall (I guess that thing does come in handy sometimes). Twice is an online secondhand store. It’s not really consignment, since they pay you up front for the items you send in, which means you earn less overall, but there’s also less of a risk that you won’t get anything. You also don’t have to stand face to face with a person who is silently judging your poor clothing choices.
I really wasn’t expecting much from them. I sent in a total of 26 items, mostly skirts, dresses and tops from Banana Republic and J.Crew. I sent in a pair of sandals from BR that I think I wore once. They accepted 22 of the 26 items, declining to purchase a dress from BCBG, two J.Crew skirts and a pair of shorts from Gap. They said the dresses and skirts had staining, and that the shorts were too worn out.
If they say so. Once Twice gives you an offer, you have the choice of accepting or rejecting it. You can’t say, “I’ll take it, but can you send those rejects back to me?” If you reject the offer and do want all of your stuff back, you have to pay for return shipping.
When I sent the clothing in, I was expecting to get about $50 for it all. In retrospect, my expectations were pretty low; that’s about $2 per item. In reality, they offered me $123.50 in cash (through PayPal), or around $5 per item, still pretty low, but more than I had expected. Had I gone that store credit route, the offer would have been 25 percent higher, but then I would have been stuck using the money at Twice, not however I wanted to, which kind of defeats the purpose, at least for me. For people who want to replenish their closets after clearing it out, going the store credit route can make sense.
Browsing the site right now, about two months after I accepted their offer, I don’t see any of the things I sold for sale. I don’t know if that’s because they’ve sold already or if they haven’t listed them yet. And, I guess I never will know.
If you’ve been burned by in-person consignment stores in the past, are selling stuff that isn’t too valuable, and would rather take a smaller payout than the chance that your stuff won’t sell, I’d recommend Twice.