buying second hand fashion

Buying Second Hand Fashion: Using Facebook

Looking at buying second hand clothes, bags and shoes in the comfort of your own phone? I’m starting a new series of posts where I talk about different apps for buying and selling pre-loved fashion, starting with Facebook.

While I still use eBay frequently to buy and sell items, using phone apps like Facebook is becoming one of my favourite ways to purchase second hand clothes and shoes. With the fees associated with listing items on eBay plus postage costs, the prices are usually higher to take these into account, but these apps usually have a much smaller fee (or none at all, such as Facebook.). This makes buying from the sellers on the apps a bit more affordable. In addition, the listings on Facebook give locations so you can find things you love from a seller who may even just be down the road from you, cutting out the postage cost.

On my personal Facebook account I’m a member of a few buy/sell/swap groups, including one that only lists high end/designer items. I AM OBSESSED with this group. While I will never be able to afford a $3,500 Chanel bag or a $15,000 Hermes Birkin, I have been able to get some fantastic designer items at a steal.

Most recently, I bought these Prada brown ankle boots from a lovely seller for $40. They definitely weren’t brand new and there were a fair few scuffs on the leather. However, there was still a lot of life left in them and it was an unbelievable price. According to Lyst, these boots retailed for USD$479. It was such an easy transaction – we met at a designated meeting spot, I inspected the boots, was very happy with how they looked, gave her the money, I went back to work.

The other Facebook feature where I’ve bought items before is Marketplace, which is currently only accessible through the app. The Bassike dress I’m wearing below was from a seller who I bought four things from, and she was kind enough to offer free postage. (For price reference, I bought the dress for $15; Bassike dresses like this normally retail for $170.)

buying second hand fashion

PROS of using Facebook for buying/selling:
  • Some of these groups have a great sense of community – the admins and most members are pretty supportive and it’s nice to be part of a group of like-minded people.
  • I’ve met some really lovely sellers through the buying experience – we’re not going to be Facebook friends mind you, but they’ve always been very positive and easy to deal with.
  • The admins of the Facebook groups can be pretty strict with what is listed so more often than not you’ll see authentic (ie not replica) items.
  • The prices range from very reasonable to out-of-this-world (a $50K engagement ring anyone?) .
  • The prices are negotiable within reason – I usually don’t negotiate too hard as the items I’m buying are usually pretty affordable anyway, or if it’s from a seller who’s interstate I might try to wrangle free postage.

Reformation tee (top left) bought from Facebook group for AUD$50
(retailed on Reformation website for USD$98)

Cons of Using Facebook for Buying/Selling:
  • Marketplace isn’t policed like the groups, so replica items are often listed – more often than not sellers will say that it is a replica.
  • As I mentioned above, some items can still be quite expensive – I’ve seen Yeezy Boosts sell for more than what the RRP was in store because they’re in such high demand.
  • You have to be quick off the mark with some of the group listings – I’ve missed out on some amazing items because I’m not on Facebook 24/7. But don’t fall for the “it’s cheap so I have to buy it” – you have to want it and love it to justify the purchase!
Tips for buying and selling on Facebook

If buying:

  • Carefully look at the photos of the actual item. If posts don’t have the actual item in the photos, ask for them.
  • Ask questions. Ask about the condition, how many times it’s been worn, are there any stains or defects, etc. Most of the time sellers will be honest about these and should mention them in the post, but I’ve heard stories of buyers being disappointed with the items once received because any defects weren’t fully disclosed in the original listing. Get pictures of the defects if you can.
  • Ask for authenticity when buying a high-end designer item, particularly bags. While not having a receipt doesn’t mean it’s fake, a receipt of proof of purchase is probably the best way to make sure an item is authentic. However, I’ve read about receipts themselves being faked (and even being sold on eBay!!!). If in doubt you can have it authenticated at an additional cost.
  • Negotiate, but don’t be ridiculous. I’ve seen people negotiate a price to what was basically 1/10 of the original price the seller paid. It’s offensive to the seller and you’re likely not to get a response.

If selling:

  • Take photos of the actual item. Include photos of all tags and any defects. Add stock photos to show what the item looked like when it was brand new, as well as a stock photo of a model wearing it for an indication of fit.
  • Disclose these defects if any, and take these into account when pricing it. Honesty is the best policy.
  • Give yourself a little room to move with the price. People will start following your post to see if you’ll reduce the price even further. Consider the lowest that you’d sell the piece. However, if the price is firm, state that upfront.

Have you used Facebook to buy, sell, and/or swap fashion items? Would you consider using it to buy second hand fashion? Let me know by commenting below!

Check back soon for my next post on buying and selling using your phone, where I’ll be talking about Carousell!

See all my thrifty fashion and sustainable shopping posts here.

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5feetofstyle

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