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When Kirstie (my wife) and I were still in college we didn’t party or drink. Not only are we Mormon, but we just didn’t have time for it! In addition to being a full-time Physiology and Developmental Biology student, I working 40-50 hours a week managing a boy’s home. We were managing to keep our heads above water, but just barely. That is until Kirstie got pregnant. Followed by extreme morning sickness. She was unable to eat and was losing up to 5 pounds a week instead of gaining. I knew I couldn’t keep up my pace and abandon her for 14 hours a day for school and work. I needed to come up with a solution – and quickly – that would allow me to stay home and take care of her. Enter: selling on eBay.
While it wasn’t quick, I started selling off things around our house that we no longer needed (and some we did need…times were hard…). Within two years we had grown our little sideshow into a $100k a year business that gave me the flexibility to stay home for Kirstie’s next pregnancy! So how did we do it? What exactly did we sell? Well, since you’re here, you probably are guessing that we made a ton of money selling women’s clothes on eBay….and you’re right.
As much as it hurts my manhood to admit it, if I could attribute my success on eBay to something, it would be women’s clothing. Specifically, learning what the best clothing brands to sell on eBay are. For the first two years of selling online, women’s clothing made up more than 50% of our sales. It is as plentiful as it is profitable in almost every part of the country (and the world for that matter), so if you are interested in selling clothing on eBay, the women’s clothing section is one of the best places to start.
Unfortunately, it is also one of the most intimidating sections of any thrift store. Rack upon rack of clothing from more brands than you can possibly imagine. Even after selling online (mainly eBay) for several years, we have barely heard of half the brands we come across. Since it’s not effective to look up every single thing you find, we decided to put together a list of the most common and profitable brands for sellers to look for. After all, know what to sell on eBay is more than half the battle!
If you can recognize all the brands on this list, you will very rarely go home empty-handed from any thrifting expedition. So if you’re serious about selling used clothing online, let’s get into it!
Before we start though, I’ll warn you that you won’t find anything like Louis Vuitton or Gucci on this list. Everyone knows they’re valuable. We have done our best to talk about brands you’re likely to find (and might not know), not just the most expensive brands available. Because of that, some brands may not be exciting or flashy. While high dollar sales are fun, these “bread and butter” brands make up 80% of the orders we send out every day. Even after all these years on eBay, we are learning new brands on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. With that in mind, I firmly believe that this list will benefit even long-time sellers. However, if you are just starting out, knowing these 60 brands will put you MONTHS ahead of the competition! While everyone else is struggling to figure out how to find brands that will sell in the over-saturated clothing market, you will be snatching some of the best clothing brands to sell on eBay that they’ve never heard of! After you figure out what to sell on eBay, you’ll just have to figure out how to deal with that huge flux of inventory and orders!
The Best Clothing Brands to Sell on eBay
1. EILEEN FISHER
Most Common Types of Clothing: Blazers, tops, sweaters, dresses, and slacks.
What to Look For: The most profitable Eileen Fisher pieces are typically ones that are the most trendy or current. The brand name doesn’t have enough clout to make older and dated pieces valuable. Keep a special look out for pieces current enough that you can still find them on Google (using the style number). Then, you will be assured that they are current and you can use a stock photo!
The Current Market Outlook: Eileen Fisher is a popular enough brand that we often look for it outside of thrift stores (e.g. at Nordstrom Rack). Because it is both popular and expensive, the market for gently used pieces is huge. The market has dropped off a bit due to saturation but, unless the piece is overpriced, we almost always pick up Eileen Fisher pieces.
Resale Value: Medium-High
Most Common Types of Clothing: Dresses, skirts, and rompers.
What to Look For: If you aren’t familiar with it already, you’ll quickly come to know the look of linen just by thrifting. Because their clothing is made of linen (which comes from flax, shocking I know), you typically won’t find any flamboyant colors. While there are some vintage tie-dye pieces, current trends dictate that their recent pieces are subdued whites, grays, browns, etc. Their linen overalls are, without a doubt, their most popular items (some people list them as rompers but let’s be real, they’re overalls), and can sell for over $200 in used condition. Otherwise, style doesn’t seem to matter much and if the item is large but damaged, people may still buy it just for the fabric.
The FLAX tag may alternatively read FLAX DESIGNS and vintage pieces often say: FLAX by Jeanne Engelhart (she was their lead designer in yesteryear. Now she has changed her name to Jeanne Angelheart and specializes in crazy).
The Current Market Outlook: Flax is an unusual enough brand that we have had no problems moving it in the current market. We only find a couple pieces per month, so the market is unlikely to get saturated anytime soon.
Resale Value: Medium-High
3. FREE PEOPLE
Most Common Types of Clothing: Tops, blazers, cardigans, sweaters, etc.
What to Look For: In 2001, Free People went through a radical redesign in an attempt to get rid of its “Junior” stereotype. Now, they describe their perfect customer as “a 26-year-old girl, smart, creative, confident and comfortable in all aspects of her being, free and adventurous, sweet to tough to tomboy to romantic.” With that in mind, look for bright florals, sheer fabrics, and crazy boho designs. Beaded designs are some of the more valuable that can be had, while basic shirts typically won’t even bring in $10. When you see the characteristic little metal brand tag, be sure to check twice since there are many knock-offs now using the same type of labels. Also, be on the lookout for sub-brands of Free People such as We The Free.
The Current Market Outlook: Free People has been one of the brands that was hit the hardest by the massive influx of resellers. While complex and unusual items still do well, most thrift stores know the brand and basic tops can cost $10 or more, totally ruining the chance you have for any profit.
Resale Value: Low-Medium
4. DALE OF NORWAY
Most Common Types of Clothing: Cardigans and pull-over sweaters
What to Look For: Look for wool knit
Christmas-y type patterns. The brighter the colors, the more the sweater is
typically worth. Women’s sweaters are much more common, which means they’re
worth much less. We find a couple women’s sweaters a month, but have only found
a handful of men’s sweaters in years of thrifting. The men’s sweaters sold
almost instantly for over $100 apiece, so we won’t complain too much. But I
sure wouldn’t mind more of them!
The only places we’ve managed to find Dale of Norway pieces are estate sales and thrift stores. Be very aware of flaws, as wool tends to have moth/wear holes which are hard to see. Also be on the lookout for sweaters from Fjallraven, Oleana, and Skjaeveland. L.L. Bean also has a line of sweaters made in Norway which are valuable for resale. Finding out if a sweater is Norwegian wool is simple, as it is a high-end product and is always marked either near the brand tag or materials tag.
The Current Market Outlook: Brands like Dale of Norway can weather any market. They’ve been around for so long and have made a reputation built on quality items, that many people will still pay top dollar for their sweaters – even old ones. While the market has dropped off a little bit for old cardigans, anything that is brightly colored, unusual, or current still sells very well. Most pieces that you find will be vintage and worth around $40.
Resale Value: Medium-High
5. DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
Most Common Types of Clothing: Dresses, business casual wear
What to Look For: Diane Von Furstenberg is best known for its iconic wrap dress, but creates clothing ranging from business casual, to trendy party dresses, to $1,000 coats and gowns. Their items can really only be found by checking tags, as the style is not easily discernible from dozens of others you’ll find. Dresses usually sell for $100+, but this is heavily influenced by current styles and simply how cute the dress is. Tops generally fall in the $20-40 range in good, pre-owned condition.
The Current Market Outlook: If something is basic and in plentiful supply, you can bet that it isn’t worth much. So, be on the lookout for eye-catching pieces. Diane von Furstenberg pieces in bright colors, good fabrics (such as silk), and more expensive pieces like trench coats and full dresses still do well in the market.
Resale Value: Medium
Most Common Types of Clothing: Leather goods (mostly jackets, but also look for pants, skirts, vests, etc.)
What to Look For: Wilson’s Leather Jackets are probably the most common brand of leather jackets we find at thrift stores. The majority of them are similar, ill-fitting jackets from the early 90’s and have very little resale value. The notable exceptions are jackets of unusual colors or design, and jackets with a history. Fringe, beads, embroidery, and feminine colors all make for winning finds.
The Current Market Outlook: The market will never be saturated with high quality, unusual products. Leave the traditional, boring leather jackets on the rack (since they’re typically overpriced anyway), and keep your eyes open for the gems. When you find something unusual, price it high and content yourself knowing that the right buyer will come along eventually. We just sold a purple Wilson’s jacket for $200 (we paid 6), but it took over a year.
Resale Value: Medium-High
7. RISING INTERNATIONAL
Most Common Types of Clothing: Jackets, purses, dresses, tops
What to Look For: You know the style: purses and jackets that look like they’ve been stitched together by a hippie out of colorful rags. Look for hoodies, jackets, dresses, and bags – the more colorful and distressed the better. Also, 3D embellishments (such as flowers) add value.
The Current Market Outlook: Despite what many low-ballers seem to think, the market for Rising International remains excellent. People routinely price jackets and sweaters under $20, but if you take good pictures and price at $30-$35, as we do, buyers always seem to come. Because every piece is so different, if somebody wants your specific pattern and style, they are willing to pay to get it.
Resale Value: Low-Medium
Most Common Types of Clothing: Full-line of women’s wear with a focus on higher fashion
What to Look For: Keep an eye out for the brand tag that says “Moschino” on it. I wish I could be more helpful here, but the only time we’ve found anything of this brand, it’s because we’ve been checking all the brands on a rack. Pieces are so varied, it’s hard to nail down a style to look for. As far as brand names go, there are three main lines made by Moschino that you could possibly find:
- Moschino – This is the main line of both men’s and women’s clothing. It is the most exclusive and difficult to find.
- Moschino Cheap and Chic – This is a secondary women’s line. It is typically more ready-to-wear fashion at a more accessible price. Post-2014, this line changed to the name Moschino Boutique.
- Love Moschino – This is the diffusion line that makes both men’s and women’s clothes. It is the least valuable line and one that you’ll want to do research on before buying. From 1986-2008 this line was known as Moschino Jeans.
The Current Market Outlook: Moschino items are very difficult to find, and so hold their value very well. We only find a piece every month or two, but when we do, we price it high and wait for the right buyer to come along. Because the items are unusual and are kind of rare at thrift stores, it is unlikely that Moschino will disappear from any What To Sell on eBay lists any time soon. However, the lower-end the line, the less value it holds.
Resale Value: High
Most Common Types of Clothing: Button-downs, jackets, blazers
What to Look For: Everyday vintage Pendleton wear is not of much worth to the everyday reseller. The real money is in Western Wear, colorful sweaters, plaid shirts, and jackets. Keep an eye out for Aztec and Southwestern prints in bright colors. Also, we’ve only ever found them at thrift stores, but Pendleton wool blankets (particularly limited edition runs) can be found at estate sales and antique malls. We don’t bother picking up dated (1980’s-esque) blazers or jackets.
The Current Market Outlook: It used to be that anything with the name Pendleton on it could sell well on eBay. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Pieces that are drab in color and/or are totally out of style are very, very difficult to sell. However, the price for brightly colored and patterned pieces has actually gone up due to the increased brand awareness. Highly desirable period pieces are hard to find, but if you intentionally source for them at antique malls, estate sales, and online, you will find them.
Resale Value: Medium
10. HARLEY DAVIDSON
Most Common Types of Clothing: Jackets, pants, shirts, vests
What to Look For: Vintage and leather. I’ve seen vintage Harley shirts with crass sayings on them go for over $300 on auction – the more offensive the better. If it’s old, someone wants it. If it’s leather, someone wants it whether it’s old or not. We’ve sold leather vests, pants, and jackets. The more valuable ones will have some sort of embroidery, a large logo, or other decoration.
The Current Market Outlook: Not only is Harley Davidson one of the best-known brands on this list, but it is also easily one of the best clothing brands to sell on eBay. Depending on the season, riding gear and lifestyle motorcycle gear is a very hot market. T-shirts don’t hold their value well unless they have great content or are vintage. Riding gear, boots, and other leather items hold their value very well. Its high-quality leather items are usually priced high at thrift stores, but we double or triple our money on leather riding jackets that we find on craigslist all the time. While tripling your money isn’t very exciting when you’re at the Goodwill Bins, when you’re talking about buying a jacket for $100 and selling it for $300, it gets a lot more interesting.
Resale Value: Medium
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Cut 6 months off your learning curve!
Avoid the long slog of looking up hundreds of items to learn new brands. Learn more brands in one sitting than seasoned sellers learn in months.
Never leave a thrift store empty handed.
There are money-makers in every thrift store at every moment. If you didn’t find anything to flip it’s because you didn’t know what to look for.
Say goodbye to $0 sales days!
If you are selling clothing brands that people want (and other sellers don’t know about) you’ll have packages to send out every single day.