Here's How You Can Turn Your Old Clothes Into Your New Business

Quick, easy cash is always on the mind of a college student.

People will sell just about anything for a quick payday, but the easiest place to look for your next sale is in your wardrobe. We all have something in the back of our closets that we haven’t worn in years, but we can’t quite get rid of. I have news for you: It’s time to get rid of it.

There are people who have made entire businesses out of buying and selling clothes. Netflix made a TV show called Girl Boss based on the rise of Nasty Gal, now an online-only clothing brand, that started out as an eBay store for vintage clothing. eBay is the original buy-and-sell online market that started in 1995.

The idea of buying and selling through an online platform is clearly not new; However, buying and selling through various apps is. Teen Vogue has an extensive list of websites and apps you can use for buying and selling clothing or other items. Yet they don’t mention two apps that I feel are underutilized: Depop and Instagram.

Depop is a new, downloadable app that acts as social media that you can use to find and sell any type of clothing item. It’s similar to Poshmark in that you can follow accounts and like posts. I’ve never personally been a huge fan Poshmark because their clothes tend to be more for an older generation, but if you’re looking for cheap, designer work clothes, Poshmark is a good option.

Depop is for the college-aged individual who wants to buy items at a reasonable price. The app has just about any name-brand you could want, as well as vintage items. It’s more along the lines of a Plato’s Closet, but you’ll probably have to pay for shipping. On the other hand, if you’re looking to sell, Depop is a way to get your clothing out on display for purchase.

Depop takes 10 percent of your selling price, however, you get paid directly through PayPal, and then PayPal takes a percentage of the transaction. Each app or online service you use to sell clothes will take a percentage of the profit. You have to be careful to determine which app or website is going to work best for you because their way of paying a user could be vastly different than another app’s way.

If you’re willing to put in the work to maintain a full-on store page, you have the possibility to have a steady stream of income. However, it’s not easy. For apps like Poshmark or Depop you need to be selling products that has a market for it. You’ll also be dealing directly with customers, possibly even bartering prices, so you have to be able to understand what deal is going to be best for you and your client.

Mia Crisostomo, a student at the University of Florida, started using Depop over the summer but has switched over to using Instagram as an outlet for buying and selling her clothes.

“I originally started on Depop, but it takes a percentage of sales,” Crisostomo said. “I really wanted my brand and myself to be attached to my store.”

Crisostomo said that selling on Depop was more difficult because it was like another social media account. For it to really work, she said she had to be willing to commit, which she wasn’t at the time. She turned back to Instagram, an app she had already been using to cultivate her store and her brand.

Crisostomo takes a step further in selling her clothes because she chooses to up-cycle most of her products. Her Instagram is full of thrift flips that’ll make you want to take a chance on scissors and an old Gator t-shirt.

“My mom taught me how to sew when I was really young, and ever since then, I’ve been into sewing,” Crisostomo said. “It was kind of expensive to buy fabric, so I started going to thrift stores. I can go to a thrift store and get more fabric for the same price as if I went to a store.”

Selling clothes isn’t all work and no play; Crisostomo said it’s something that she genuinely enjoys. She compared it to her job at the UF Southwest Recreation Center, where she makes minimum wage, and said, “It’s easy; I can just sew all day, and the fact that I can make money off of it is awesome.”

For Crisostomo, buying and selling clothes is a creative outlet that also lets her explore opportunities in small business.

“I can make my own path, and I don’t have to follow a specific path,” Crisostomo said. “You can make a living doing anything.”