Ten Tips for Finding Great Vintage Clothing on eBay
I've been buying and selling vintage clothes on eBay for five
years. It's fun...and sometimes frustrating. Here are some tips
to help you find the best vintage clothes on eBay.
1. SEARCH REGULARLY
Ebay allows you to list auction or fixed price items for 1, 3,
5, 7, or 10-day periods. Most sellers choose longer periods
because they are buying more advertising for their money but I'm
finding more and more 3-day auctions. So try to do your searches
at least every 3 days.
2. SEARCH MISSPELLINGS
It's easy to misspell Furstenberg and to type Pulizter instead
of Pulitzer. If you can find a quality designer item that has a
misspelling in the title, you will probably compete with a much
smaller pool of buyers for the item.
3. DON'T JUST SEARCH THE VINTAGE CATEGORY.
Not everyone offering vintage clothing is a vintage dealer.
Sometimes people are just clearing out Aunt Anna's clothes from
the attic and don't have a lot of experience with either vintage
clothes or selling on eBay. Often you'll find these items buried
in the Women's Clothing category which appears before the
Vintage category in the eBay listing process. So search for
VINTAGE VICTORIAN BLOUSE in the Clothing & Accessories category
rather than VICTORIAN BLOUSE in the vintage category.
4. SEARCH TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS
Not all sellers include the word VINTAGE in their auction
titles. To be sure you find all the VINTAGE VICTORIAN BLOUSES,
be sure to check the box under the search field to search both
titles and descriptions.
5. GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR SEARCHES
It's easy to find high-end vintage by searching for a designer's
name but you can also find high-quality items by searching on
fabrics (brocade, velvet, mink, cashmere), searching for
high-end department store names (Saks, I. Magnin, Bonwit Teller)
or searching for ESTATE SALE buried inside auction listings.
6. USE AN AUCTION SNIPING SERVICE
Sellers, of course, want you to bid on their items as soon as
possible. Their hope is that several bidders will become
interested in the piece and bid up the price. Smart buyers take
a different approach. Instead of entering their highest bid
early, and watching it get bumped up by other bidders over the
next few days, they wait until the final seconds of the auction.
Even better, use an auction snipe service. For a small fee,
these companies will place your bid in the last few seconds of
the auction and you don't even need to be at your computer! No
more forgetting that you wanted to bid on something--the snipe
service does it for you. I like these services because if I
enter my highest proxy bid too early, someone can keep bumping
up the bid trying to discover what my highest bid was. If I
enter it in the last few seconds, I may end up getting the item
for a lot less than if I bid in the first few hours of the
7. ALWAYS CHECK SELLER FEEDBACK
Again, not everyone offering vintage clothing on eBay is a
vintage clothing dealer. If someone has great feedback but has
been selling auto car parts, it might be wise to ask the seller
a few specific questions about the item before bidding. What you
think of as Mint condition and what they're calling Mint
condition could be vastly different. Also, as a seller who talks
to other sellers, I know that sometimes negative feedback is
left for sellers that is unwarranted. Or things like Katrina
happen and your auction item never gets sent. A negative
feedback or two every couple of years is not a big deal. What
you should be wary of is a pattern of recent negative or neutral
feedbacks. Drill down and read why they were left. If you are
unsure about a seller's responsiveness, send a simple question
to them and see how quickly and accurately they respond.
8. KEEP A LIST OF YOUR FAVORITE SELLERS
You can add a seller to your list of Favorite Sellers by
clicking on the link in one of their auctions. You can also sign
up to be emailed when your favorite sellers add new items.
You're never out of the loop and it makes browsing a lot more
fun when you are looking at items that you consistently like.
9. BROWSE, BROWSE, BROWSE
Browsing eBay can be just as much fun as browsing at the mall.
Looking for bargains? Browse through vintage by Lowest Price
First. Want to see the cr