For quite a few years now I’ve done a fair bit of selling and buying on eBay (a lot more buying than selling, I have to admit :)) and I wanted to share what I’ve learnt from my experiences so far (as well as the excellent buys I’ve bought recently).
Please note this is NOT a sponsored post, I just wanted to share with you some of my knowledge and experience on buying through eBay if you have always wanted to try it!
Instead of continuing the capsule wardrobe experiment which I tried back in March, I decided I would try to build a sustainable, “slow fashion” wardrobe and have bought quite a few things from eBay in my pursuit.
Indeed, I’ve bought a few things over the years off eBay with mostly positive results, and I’ve been able to nab some fantastic bargains through the website too. The only downside of course is that I am paying a lot of money to our national postal service – at least it keeps our local postman occupied.
With all of the purchases I’ve done through the years, here are some of my learnings from buying off eBay.
- Be specific with what you’re looking for. There are literally hundreds of thousands of items on eBay for “black dress”, and that includes international sellers. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to search that many entries. While you could be specific with size or specific style like “black fit and flare dress”, I prefer to search by the name of the label/brand that I like (eg. “Phillip Lim black dress”) or by specific criteria (eg. “black dress size 8” or “black mini dress”) which whittles down the search quite considerably. It also makes you more mindful of what you’re looking for – I found this wonderful American Vintage dress (which I posted about here) by doing a search of the label; I wouldn’t have had this success trawling through thousands of results for “grey wool dress”.
This was another eBay purchase early when I was just starting out on the website – I really wanted a khaki anorak and wasn’t happy with what was in the stores. I paid $30 for this one and still have it.
Interestingly though I came across this grey long vest after searching “Witchery vest” and eBay thought I’d be interested in this as a similar item – which indeed I was! So I guess sometimes eBay will find the perfect item for you too!
- List the search result items by a certain order, eg. ending soonest or lower price first. Because you may end of up with quite a few items in your search result, this helps you narrow your search so that you only look at those ending in the next couple of days or have a starting price of $0.99 (bear in mind that these lower priced items can jump in pretty quickly – see point 6 below.)
- Search by local (ie domestic) sellers only. While international sellers can offer a good bargain, they may not always be offering a high quality or indeed an authentic product. I bought this Comme Des Garcons play striped shirt on eBay and when I received it, it didn’t seem quite right – the fabric felt cheap, for one. The ad purported to be selling an authentic product, but my gut told me it wasn’t. It was however a fifth of the price of a real Comme Des Garcons shirt so I couldn’t complain. This also helps reduce the number of search results considerably.
- If you find something you like, watch it. Most auctions are set for 7 days which gives you a fair bit of time to decide if you want it or not. You could also use that time to some research and comparisons for other similar items that are cheaper or better than the first one you liked. Watching it doesn’t commit you to anything, but it saves you from having to go looking for it again.
- Give yourself a price threshold. Most items are listed in an auction format so if you really like something, think about how much you’d be willing to spend on it. You could do a search on eBay for “completed items” of similar items to see how much they’ve sold for to give you an idea of how much you might be willing to spend yourself. If you place a bid and the auctions exceeds your threshold, be prepared to walk away. However…
- … If you really really really want it, be ready to sit in front of the computer/be glued to your smartphone for the last few minutes of the auction. This is when the action really happens for highly popular items. You place the highest price you’re willing to pay and eBay will bid on your behalf up to that amount if anyone else tries to bid.What I’ve done a few times before is place a bid for the highest amount I’m willing to pay for an item in the last 15 seconds. For example, these Rag and Bone boots were sitting on AUD$12.50 for days until I put in a bid for $45 in the dying seconds of the auction. The price immediately jumped up to $36.00. So the previous bidder’s highest price had been $35. Yep, I’m one of those who will disappoint you if you had the highest bid up until end (#sorrynotsorry).
You could also look for items that are “Buy It Now” so for those of use who are impatient for the auction to end, this will satisfy your online purchase need!
- If there’s an item you like, check out the seller’s other items. There’s a pretty good chance that the seller might have other items too that you could take a liking to. I bought this gorgeous Marc Jacobs jacket off the same seller as the American Vintage dress I mentioned above.
- This is your chance to buy a designer piece at a fraction of the cost. Think about which designers or labels you love but would never afford full price. eBay is a great way to get it at a much lower cost. The Rag and Bone boots I mentioned above were $72 including postage and repairs to the heel – admittedly the suede is a bit worn, but considering the retail price was around $800 Australian I’m pretty happy. The Marc Jacobs jacket I bought for $29.99 – although second hand, it’s in great condition and I think retailed for around $1,000. The American Vintage dress I also bought for $29.99 – this retails for around $160 new. But as I mentioned in point 5, give yourself an idea of what you want to pay for it, and bear in mind you may be up against others who are hunting for their designer bargain too!
This week I’m super excited to be co-hosting Thursday Fashion Files with the Lovely Jill from Doused in Pink and Carrie from Curly Crafty Mom – two fellow mamas who don’t let motherhood get in the way of style! See the details below of how to participate in the link up!
Welcome to Thursday Fashion Files!
We are always looking for Co-Hosts for Thursday Fashion Files. If you haven’t signed up to Co-Host, but are interested, sign up by clicking HERE.
We now have a Thursday Fashion Files Pinterest board. We will be pinning our top two picks along with our own outfits for that week. Be sure to click HERE to join our new Pinterest board!
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