Getting Your Thrift On (Online)

Veronika Valia

The Internet makes locating unique, specific items and acquiring them much more practical and possible.





Over the past couple of years, prices for clothes have skyrocketed, and in my opinion, they’ve hit a point that is absolutely ridiculous. For name-brand clothes, a pair of leggings can go for over one-hundred bucks, a pair of shoes can go for hundreds more, and a certain type of bag can cost thousands. For the majority of people, prices that high are simply not affordable, and for those that can afford it, many wonder how much more they could get for their money elsewhere. 

There are many sites, such as Shein, that try to sell cute clothes for less, but with that, from my own personal experience, comes a sacrifice in overall quality, material, and warranty of an outfit. In short, it leaves many customers frustrated, believing that the only way they can get the clothes they desire, and the quality they expect, is to pay full price. 

Wrong. 

The solution is simple: online thrifting. I want to note that this article isn’t just about thrifting in person, as with COVID, it’s hard to get out and get to a regular, traditional thrift store. Instead, this article is about online thrifting: a practice that is significantly more effective and less time-consuming, allowing us to search directly for what we’re looking for, sort by brand or price, and make offers on items. The Internet makes locating unique, specific items and acquiring them much more practical and possible, and thrifting makes those items affordable and provides a more sustainable purchase option. 

In the online thrift stores that I’m going to mention below, you are able to search for a specific item or just browse by category (such as tops, pants, shoes, etc.), make offers on items (offer a price that you’re comfortable with paying which is quite often less than full price), negotiate prices and counteroffer with the seller, and message the seller directly. These are all aspects of online thrifting that I love and that are so important to me. Things that you simply can’t experience in a store or in an in-person thrift store. I want to share some of my favorite apps and websites to thrift with you and share their pros and cons. 

First up is my absolute favorite, Curtsy. This is an app that I would highly encourage you to not only buy from, but to sell on too. Why not make some extra cash that would then be deposited directly into your Curtsy wallet that you could then use to buy more cute clothes off the app? 

The current process for listing your own clothes on resale apps can be time-consuming. A recent report, for example, detailed how many women were trying to sell on Poshmark, the most well-known app in the online-thrifting community, to no avail. They complained that they had to do more than just list, sell, package, and ship their items — they also had to participate in the community in order to have their items discovered. As someone who’s sold on Poshmark before, as this was the first app that I ever went onto as it was the most popular, I know how hard it can be to get your items discovered. You have to add a countless amount of clothes to your closet (your page) to even get people’s attention, and Poshmark takes a huge percentage of the profits (around $2 on items under $10 and 20% for items over $10 I think.)

Curtsy has an entirely different take. It wants to make it easier and faster for casual sellers to list items by reducing the amount of work involved to sell. It also doesn’t matter how many followers a seller has, which makes its marketplace more welcoming to first-time sellers. First-time sellers receive a free starter kit with Curtsy-branded supplies for packaging their items at home, like poly mailers in multiple sizes. The cost of those is built into the selling flow, so you don’t have to explicitly pay for it — it’s just deducted from your earnings. 

Curtsy also helps sellers to schedule a free USPS pickup to save a trip to the post office, and it will even send sellers a shipping label, if need be. Although most of this is helpful for many women, you don’t even need all this. Dropping a package off at the post station takes a couple of seconds, but Curtsy just loves to go above and beyond for its sellers. The app accommodates everyone, even people that don’t have printers. They even have a label service and send you the label in the mail for free from centers across the country.

On apps like Poshmark, if you don’t like the item and want to resell it later, you have to completely re-list the item, re-market it, and it can be insanely hard to get rid of. With Curtsy, when a buyer of an item is ready to resell it, they can do so with one tap — they don’t have to photograph it and describe it again. This also speeds up the selling process.

Curtsy truly has the entire process down pat, with the sellers and buyers covered every step of the way. 

Another one of my favorite apps is Mercari. This app is one of the fastest when it comes to getting your purchases delivered on time. On this app, the seller has three days to ship the item, and when the item is delivered to you, the buyer has three full days to accept and rate the item, and then after the seller rates the buyer, then you get paid. It’s a system similar to Uber or any other service-sharing app. The service goes both ways, and by having people get rated, future buyers and sellers can decide if they want to buy from (or sell to) a certain person based on their rating. However, when it comes to selling on this app it is a bit trickier. It’s hard to get people to visit your page and buy your items, so if you’re interested in making some quick easy money I would suggest Curtsy instead!

Lastly, I would suggest Depop for a couple of reasons. First, there is a varying quality and descriptions of items. When you buy second-hand items online, you’re taking a gamble. You can’t touch the item or see it in person before purchasing, so you rely on the seller’s description and pictures. On Depop, they do a great job of providing plenty of pictures, a very in-depth description, measurements and more.

However, there are some downsides. First, all sales are final unless an item wasn’t received as described. You get a 3-hour window after purchasing to cancel an order. If the item doesn’t fit or you have buyer’s remorse after that window, you’re stuck with the item. The internet is also filled with counterfeit goods for sale. It’s not only on Poshmark. Inauthentic goods can be found on every second-hand sales platform. Unfortunately, Depop is not the fastest or most attentive to getting those items removed. However, shipping is great. Sellers often ship out within a couple of days. I always try to ship on the same day or the next day, so know that there are many attentive sellers out there too.

Thrifting is always a gamble, but I hope that these app reviews could help any of you looking to find some great deals on clothes!
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