Ten Tips for Finding Great Vintage Clothing on eBay

Written By Arman Zulhajar on Sunday, June 3, 2012 | 4:23 AM


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 auction.

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 crème de la

crème? Browse by Highest Price First. If you have lots of time, do what a friend of

mine does: every day, EVERY day, she browses the Newly Listed vintage category

items and stops when she reaches the first listing she saw the day before. She

wants to make sure she never misses out on a great item.

10. PIGGYBACK ON ANOTHER BUYER

Do you find you keep losing auctions to the same buyer? Do you find that the same

people seem to be bidding on the same auctions as you over and over? Piggyback

on them by doing a SEARCH BY BIDDER. Enter their bidder ID and you will be able

to see a list of all the items they are currently bidding on. Chances are good that

they have found a great vintage item that you missed!

With these tips you should be able to find all kinds of vintage clothing and

accessories on eBay. One final tip: be sure to pay for your items quickly and

establish good feedback of our own so you can continue to buy vintage bargains on

eBay.

Copyright 2005, Mary Kincaid.




Mary Kincaid has been buying, wearing, selling and collecting vintage clothing and accessories for a decade. She is the editor of Zuburbia, a Vintage Clothing Blog (http://www.zuburbia.blogspot.com) that features her Vintage Pick-of-the-Day (VPOD) and tips, information and insights for current and future vintage fashionistas. A former eBay Powerseller, she is currently working on a new fashion line called RESCUE, featuring restructured vintage pieces.





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