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How to Sell One-off Dresses: Giving Dresses Second Life

12 min read

One-off dresses are special and one-of-a-kind pieces meant for meaningful and exclusive occasions. In the fashion industry, the term one-off refers to limited and single-time occasion pieces that are created only once, and many times in an impromptu manner. Besides the common types that most of us are familiar with, wedding and graduation dresses, for example, this is also considered a popular trend among major retail chains and reputable designers that has proven effective and of public interest.

Once the particular event has passed for which the dress was purchased and buyers have made use of their one-off piece, most find themselves storing their dresses for years until the time comes to dispose of them or donate them. Moreover, many aspiring entrepreneurs have found a great business opportunity granting one-off dresses a second opportunity to shine.

In this quick post, we’ll be going over how to sell one-off dresses online from anywhere at any time. If you’re a new entrepreneur and find yourself simply wanting to give the idea a shot without the need to invest a fortune or having to compromise on a monthly subscription, you’ll likely find this post very useful. Let’s dive right in and learn all about selling one-off dresses online.

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One-off Dresses as Your Niche

If you’re looking for ways to make some extra cash, perhaps selling one-off dresses has crossed your mind, or perhaps is currently on your list of business ideas that you’d like to make a reality.  Just imagine how many beautiful, almost intact, dresses most people only wear once or don’t even get to wear at all that could be turned into cash as you give them a second life.

The reality is there are many shoppers out there in need of unique designs that don’t wish to pay full retail price for them and that would much rather find a way to buy used. And although selling used clothes online is now easier than ever with ecommerce platforms like Ecwid, not many have ventured the idea. It’s true that dresses have a lower profit margin and lower resale value when compared to other used items sold online like phones or computers; however,  many people have still managed to make pretty good cash from selling second-hand clothes online.

The key remains in having a creative and demanding niche, a nice-looking website, and without a doubt, great customer service. Thankfully, selling one-off dresses is far from being an overrated concept,  and it can be a very rewarding niche when you appeal to the right audience.

Most Common and Popular Types of One-off Dresses

Now, when choosing to sell one-off dresses online, you’ll likely want to fill up your inventory with popular choices. Also, it’s very probable you’ll have to purchase your dresses from their original owners or ask for donations, to then resale at a profitable price. This is unless you simply want to sell a few old dresses you have piled up from your and your sister’s closet, which is completely possible too. No matter the path you wish you take, here are some of the most popular designs to choose from for optimal success and the highest profit margins.

Sell prom dresses

Prom dresses are a popular choice in this niche, mostly because every year thousands of teenage girls go through the hustle of finding a beautiful looking yet affordable prom piece. Also, this is a relatively easy type to find at any consignment or thrift store as most girls choose to donate theirs once prom is over. Keep in mind a clean and shiny dress will always be more attractive to customers; therefore, selling for more. Make sure to include dress size and measurements so customers know exactly what they’re about to purchase.

Sell wedding dresses

Let’s be real, not everyone has the luxury to afford a designer or tailored wedding dress. This type of one-off dress is still very popular and we’ll likely stay relevant for years. In fact, for many, the idea of purchasing a second-hand vintage style wedding dress is their dream, and are willing to pay high prices for unique-looking pieces. Consider adding wedding dresses to your inventory. Although they tend to be a little more pricey for you to purchase, the profit is usually higher when resold.

Sell bridesmaid dresses

I’m telling you, there is probably nothing less useful than a bridesmaid wedding dress once the wedding celebration is over. Most bridesmaids end up reselling or donating their dresses, making it a relatively easy find to add to your inventory. This type of dress can not only be sold under the bridesmaid category but also under homecoming or prom dresses.

Sell homecoming dresses

The beauty of homecoming dresses is there is nothing to them that specifies they’re homecoming dresses. Does that make sense? Well, what we mean is, depending on the time of the year and season, you can market a homecoming dress as a new year’s, Christmas, valentine’s dinner, or eventually homecoming dress. Always keep in mind the time of the year and what consumers are searching for, and don’t forget to use appropriate keywords and descriptions. It also goes without saying that homecoming dresses are also an easy find at most thrift stores or even the Facebook marketplace, making it a great addition to your inventory.

There is no rule to the kind of dresses you decide to sell. Perhaps you want your store to be about floral dresses or simply formal dresses. The main point is to go with a style you can relate with and your audience finds appealing. We recommend you do some research on each piece before you purchase or put it out for sale. This way you can know the exact market value and know if it’s worth your interest.

Where to Sell One-off Dresses Online

Thankfully, once you’ve decided on the type of one-off dresses you wish to sell, finding a place to sell them for cash online is rather easy. Here are some of the most popular ways people make money selling dresses online.

Poshmark

Poshmark remains a popular choice among those not looking to sell used apparel as a side business, but merely to get rid of a few old pieces they’ve piled up over the years. Let’s say the only one-off dress you’re looking to sell is your old prom dress, then Poshmark can be a great place for one-time sales. The app is very easy to try and use. All users have to do when selling an item is take some photos, set a price, add keywords, and then upload. They also have a flat shipping rate of $7.45 no matter what you choose to sell.

Sadly, the app does come with some cons like a 20 percent fee from every sale you make, and is not uncommon for users to make offers asking for lower prices.

The RealReal

The RealReal is not your regular thrift store or online consignment shop. The platform is considered a luxurious secondhand store and can be a great option for those planning to sell designer dresses including brands like Chanel, Fendi, or any other affluent brands. The RealReal offers sellers a built audience already interested in designer second-hand pieces, making it easier for them to find customers. However, sellers have no control of how much their item is sold for and fees are often a little higher than other platforms.

eBay

eBay is one of the oldest and longer-standing online spaces dedicated to the selling of secondhand clothes. Users can sell almost anything on eBay; however, clothing sellers appear to do the best. The final value fee for most categories is 12.55% of the sale price and $0.30 per order. Unfortunately,  It can be hard to stand out from the competition as you’ll likely come across hundreds, if not thousands, of other sellers in the same niche as you.

Mercari

This secondhand marketplace is also another popular option among sellers. The platform has paid millions to users since it has launched. Out of all of the other platforms we have covered so far, Mercari might be the one with the most built-in customers and most beginner-friendly. Last, but not least, Mercari charges a 10 percent fee on any item you sell. One of the lowest percentages you’ll come across when selling secondhand clothes through third-party sellers. Like most of its competitors, it comes with a lot of competition and makes it harder for sellers to build long-term customer relationships.

Your own website

As for our last recommendation, we’ve left the best for last. One of the most efficient and convenient ways to sell one-off dresses online remains through your own website. No matter the number of marketplaces apps or platforms that keep coming out, none of them have yet to surpass having your own website.

For most, selling secondhand clothes is more than a seasonal hobby; instead, this is how they make their income. This is why they choose to rely on building a brand for themselves and offer their customers a full experience, all while getting to keep all of the profit they make.

Also, as more and more people continue to learn about third-party apps, it’s becoming harder to stand out from the competition and eventually make a sale. Overall, selling from your own website gives you more opportunities to create new and long-lasting customers, create retargeting campaigns, and lastly, the unique ability to sell on a subscription basis, something not yet possible through third-party platforms.

Sign up for a free Ecwid account today, and get ready to create your own one-off dresses store with just a few clicks. The instructions are simple, with no coding or experience necessary, and no monthly fees that make it difficult to get started. You can even connect your store and run it on popular third-party sites like eBay if you’re looking to expand your options. You don’t have to worry about choosing the best way to sell dresses online when you can sell from anywhere at any time.

Do you want to learn more about selling dresses online?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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