Letting go can be lucrative as far as clothing is concerned. If you’re considering a closet clean-out, there are things to be mindful of as you decide to divest: What to donate. What to toss. What to cash in on.
Here are some tips from Long Island experts in the business of reselling on how to maximize your divestment.
1. KEEP IT CLEAN
It may seem obvious: Presentation impacts purchasability.
“Nothing is perfect, nor do we expect it to be,” says Matthew Ruiz, co-owner of Luxe Swap in Oyster Bay, which specializes in consignment and luxury resale. “But moth holes or giant irremovable stains are pretty much the resale kiss of death.”
Some wear is OK, Ruiz says, adding that “it gives character.”
At Plato’s Closet Commack, a seller of gently used casual clothing and accessories for young adults, merchandise must be ready to wear. “We won’t buy items with stains, tears or odors,” says owner Matthew Landsberg.
2. BE REALISTIC
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is being married to the price they originally paid at retail for an item, experts say.
“You never bought the item thinking you would get a return on an investment,” Ruiz says. “You bought it because you loved it and wanted to wear it.”
Christine Cournand, owner of One Last Look Consignment Boutique in Locust Valley, says the average resale value for a pre-owned item at her shop is one third of the original retail price.
Plato’s Closet buys items outright from sellers. Luxe Swap and One Last Look will buy from consignors or accept items on consignment, keeping a percentage of the resale price as a commission.
3. BE PATIENT
It may take time to see a return. Consignors are required to leave an item for a minimum of one week at One Last Look, with some things taking months to move. After 30 days, the boutique offers a 10 to 20 percent discount and after 60 days, merchandise is discounted 35 to 50 percent. Ultimately, the consignor (the person who gives the clothes to the shop to be sold) keeps at least half of the selling price. At One Last Look, your share increases with the selling price: $999 and less, the consignor gets 50 percent; $1,000 to $4,999, 70 percent; $5,000 and higher, 80 percent.
Seasonality, size and condition all influence pricing at Luxe Swap, Ruiz says. “If we are purchasing items from a client we would roughly offer about 30 to 40 percent of what we think we can sell it for,” he says.
4. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Know where to sell what. “Do a little homework on our brand and look up the type of items we sell first,” Ruiz says. “We will always look at something a client brings in, of course, but it’s always easier if you are bringing in our target product.”
His rule of thumb for potential clients at Luxe Swap is “if it has a store on Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive, we are on track.” The store is among few on Long Island that consigns high-end menswear and accessories by such designers as Cesare Attolini, Brioni, Kiton, Tom Ford, Salvatore Ferragamo and Kanye West. “In our physical boutique, we have items to accommodate every budget — from a $25 Brooks Brothers tie to a $15,000 Gucci one-of-a-kind fur coat or a $26,000 Saint Laurent alligator handbag.”
Landsberg also prefers that clients curate what they bring to Plato’s Closet. “A lot of people bring in massive garbage bags stuffed with a random mix of items,” he says. “If you look through your things and be selective, it makes it more likely that we will buy more items from you.”
Brands that do well at Plato’s Closet, which has more than 500 locations around the country, include Pink by Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle, Forever 21, Nike, Under Armour and Lululemon. Landsberg says he will also buy and sell some designer items such as those by Michael Kors. Merchandise ranges from $1 to $150 for high-end purses or shoes.
“The average price of items in the store is around $10 and everything is sold for up to 70 percent off retail,” Landsberg says.
One Last Look primarily sells women’s brands such as J. Crew, Chanel, Theory, Vince, Joie, Milly, Tory Burch, Haute Hippie, Diane von Furstenberg, Tibi, Stella McCartney, Equipment and Alice + Olivia. Prices vary by season, Cournand says, with fall and winter items averaging $69.
RECENT SAMPLING OF ITEMS
(Prices vary by condition, season and style)
AT LUXE SWAP
21 Berry Hill Rd., Oyster Bay, 516-226-1055, luxeswap.com
Original retail $2,100
Price here $675
You get $405
ONE LAST LOOK CONSIGNMENT BOUTIQUE
37 Forest Ave., Locust Valley, 516-399-2600, onelastlookconsignment.com
Michael Kors neon sheath dress
Original retail $129
Price here $69
Consignor gets $34.50
PLATO’S CLOSET COMMACK
6153 Jericho Tpke., Commack, 631-486-7920, platosclosetcommack.com
Original retail $30
Price here $8
You get $2.60