Anyone want to buy my old clothes?

plus wolves you should love + ACNH MCR
Money
June 23, 2021 • Issue #99
Dollar Scholar
Hi y’all —

I am not what you (or, uh, anyone) would call “fashionable.” Not only do I have a weakness for dumb T-shirts, tie dye and Tevas, but I also totally disregard trends. As I type this, for example, I’m wearing a bright yellow TREAT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS shirt I got at a 2018 Harry Styles show, a decade-old pair of denim shorts with a broken zipper, and Target socks with squirrels eating acorns on them.

Seriously. Stacy and Clinton would have a field day with me.

But for how bad I am at buying clothes, I sure do have a lot of them. I learned this the hard way a few months ago when I had to pack for my move. I have so much stuff — and, admittedly, a lot of stuff I should get rid of.

Here’s the problem. I can’t have a garage sale — I live in Brooklyn; you think I have a garage? Can’t have a yard sale (no yard). The nearest Plato’s Closet is in New Jersey, so that’s a non-starter.

The 21st century solution would be to try a resale app like Depop, Mercari and Poshmark. But while I love to browse these apps, I’ve never actually tried to sell anything on them. There are too many; they seem too intimidating.

Let’s dive in. What are the differences between Depop, Mercari and Poshmark? Which should I use? 

Hyejune Park, an assistant professor of design, housing and merchandising at Oklahoma State University, said the pandemic is partially behind the resale app boom. People were stuck in their houses staring at their stuff, which caused them to get restless. They weren’t wearing much of their wardrobe because they weren’t going out, which caused them to re-evaluate their needs. And there was a recession, which caused them to look for ways to make extra money.

“The pandemic has affected people to have some kind of desire to simplify their consumption,” Park adds.

Those factors, combined with a growing interest in sustainability, led to an explosion in interest for secondhand clothing. “Explosion” isn’t an exaggeration: According to thredUP’s 2021 resale report, some 33 million people bought secondhand clothing for the first time last year. As a sector, secondhand clothing is on track to reach $77 billion by 2025.
Every time I see an item on Depop/Mercari/Poshmark described as “Y2K” I die a little inside
Gone are the days of Goodwill, though — apps are at the forefront of this trend. Poshmark, Depop and Mercari are the big three, especially for younger people.

Speaking generally, the three services are all pretty similar. They’re all peer-to-peer, where customers buy directly from sellers. They’re all designed like social media apps, with options to “like” items and such. None charge listing fees, which means it’s free to post my clothing.

But one area where the apps differ is how big of a cut they take once my stuff sells. Depop and Mercari both take a 10% cut of every item sold in addition to charging a 2.9% plus $0.30 transaction fee for payment processing. Poshmark’s fees vary depending on how high the price is. Under $15, it charges a flat $2.95; over $15, the fee is 20%. Poshmark offers free credit card processing.

They also have different user bases, according to Haley Burson, a 25-year-old seller who lives in Seattle.

Burson is an expert. A former thrift store employee, she racked up 84,000 followers and earned about $3,000 on Poshmark in college. When she got back into the resale game during the pandemic, she expanded to also use Mercari and Depop.

According to Burson, Poshmark tends to target millennials and moms — Burson sees pencil skirts and blazers sell well there because customers are generally in the workforce looking for office wear. Depop caters largely to Gen Z — she’s found success with “weird, niche, vintage stuff,” cat T-shirts and ‘90s clothes. Mercari is for bargain hunters.

Each platform has its own niche for sellers, too. Burson likes that Poshmark helps sellers with shipping, but she says its fees are “the worst.” It’s also highly social, which gives an advantage to influencers with large followings while making it harder for casual closet-cleaners like me to break through.

“When you look at how much time you have to spend in their app sharing and going to Posh parties, it’s a lot,” she adds.

Depop, where the interface is basically like Instagram, is full of professional sellers and flippers who are opening their own mini vintage stores. In Burson’s opinion, Mercari is probably best for beginners like me because it’s the least time-consuming and has tools like smart pricing, which automatically lowers items’ prices to help them sell faster. 

“Mercari is very no-nonsense. There’s no following other people, no sharing other people’s closets — you literally post something, you put it there, it sells or it doesn’t,” Burson adds.

No matter which app I use, though, I should be prepared to put some work into reselling my clothes. At minimum, I’ll need a printer and mailers. I’ll need to plan to take well-lit photos of my items, write descriptions and take packages to the post office for shipping. Finally, I might want to consider cross-posting on all three apps for exposure.
THE BOTTOM LINE
(but please don't tell me you scrolled past all of my hard work)
The clothing app resale scene is wild. The pandemic pushed Poshmark, Depop and Mercari to become popular with consumers, but selling is not for the faint of heart. If I want to make extra money off my squirrel socks someday, I need to do some research.

And that’s to say nothing of the physical labor. In May, Burson made about $60 from eight items she sold. It took three hours of work, which shakes out to $20 an hour. Not bad, but definitely not a casual endeavor.

“This is not easy money,” she says. “It takes a lot of brain power to be on these apps.”
Thrift
VIA GIPHY

RECEIPT OF THE WEEK
check out this wild celebrity purchase
Catherina-Amalia
VIA INSTAGRAM
The Netherlands’ Princess Catharina-Amalia did a royally cool thing recently and turned down a $1.9 million annual inheritance she’s entitled to by law. The 17-year-old wrote in a letter that she felt “uncomfortable as long as I do not do anything for it in return,” especially while “other students have a much tougher time of it, particularly in this period of coronavirus.” We stan a self-aware queen.

INTERNET GOLD
five things I'm loving online right now
1 I’m obsessed with this High Country News piece about how second-graders are helping prepare Coloradoans for wolf reintroduction. It’s full of adorable details, including this quote from an 8-year-old named Amelia: “OMG you should loves wolves and you actually should because wolves are awesome … Wolves are AMAAAAZING! Because they help the ecosystem and are amazing.” Convincing.
2 My Chemical Romance, but make it Animal Crossing.
3 Just sitting here wishing I were at a cool hotel pool.
4 Cool job alert! London’s Science Museum is hiring someone who can curate and recreate Stephen Hawking’s office, the contents of which reflect “the working life of one of the world’s most renowned scientists: his publications, memorabilia of international celebrity, and the technological solutions that he and his associates developed to enable him to live and work with motor neurone disease.”
5 Is this story about three albino squirrels just living their lives in South Dakota the most low-stakes news article of all time? Probably, but the photos are cute.
 

401(K)9 CONTRIBUTION
send me cute pictures of your pets, please
Wheezy
VIA PEGGY BRANDT BROWN
Meet Wheezy, a smiley retired racing greyhound. Wheezy doesn’t use clothing apps, but she looks pawsome nonetheless.

See you next week for Dollar Scholar’s 100th issue. You’re not gonna want to miss it. 👀
Julia
P.S. Last issue about ticket service fees inspired a ton of amazing Dolla Scholla hollas! Scholar Amy told me she recently paid $23 in fees on a $50 ticket for Monster Jam (ugh). Scholar Dave suggested I skip primary or secondary sellers and look for an alternate way to buy tickets, like by seeing if there's associated physical box office in town where I can avoid high fees. Finally, Scholar Jeanette said to save money by considering working or volunteering at the venue — or becoming friends with someone who does — so I can get into shows for free.

Also, I'm still getting cookie recipes and LOVING it. Scholar Donna recommended these literally legendary Neiman Marcus cookies, and Scholar Mary sent me the recipe for two-ingredient (!) peanut butter cookies. Keep 'em coming, guys.

P.P.S. Have you ever resold clothes on an app? Would you ever turn down $1.9 million? What do you think is the ultimate cool hotel pool song? LMK at julia.glum@money.com or @SuperJulia on Twitter.
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