No, this is not a misprint; I really did buy a near-new Trelise Cooper Bolero Jacket for $42!
Trade Me recently asked if I’d participate in their $250 Challenge - what could I buy fashion wise for $250. I had an open brief, I could buy anything ‘fashion’. I decided I wanted to see how much I could get for the $250 but it had to be clothing (or accessories) I’d love to own and wear. I also gave myself another personal challenge - I wasn’t allowed to buy black. Ha, that was a HUGE challenge in itself for me.
Well, I have to say at the end of my challenge, I’m REALLY chuffed with my purchases - the following prices include postage:
- Moochi dress $46
- Sass & Bide pants $45
- Trelise Cooper Jacket $46.50
- Trelise Cooper Dress $70.50
- Brand new Donna Karan Sequin top for $13.50 (yes, that includes postage and yes, it’s BRAND NEW)
- Drape Top Blouse AND Batwing Top $38, both brand new.
That’s 7 items, three of which are brand new, from sought-after, quality brands all for $259.50 including postage! Okay, so I was a little over budget!
Moochi dress $46 (includes postage)
Sass & Bide pants $45 (left and right). Right, also wearing brand new Donna Karan Sequin top for $13.50 (both include postage)
Brand new Donna Karan Sequin top for $13.50 (includes postage). This is my favourite piece simply because of the BARGAIN it is.
Brand new top (2-piece, including separate white top underneath), unknown label, $19 (includes postage).
Trelise Cooper strikes again. Soooo excited about this. Trelise Cooper Dress $70.50 (includes postage).
Brand new dress, unknown label $19 (including postage)
Trelise Cooper Bolero Jacket $42 + postage.
I appreciate my style philosophy is “all about style, not brand” but when it comes to buying through the likes of Trade Me, brand is important. There is only so much information you can glean from the photograph/s and description supplied, so knowing it’s also a good brand gives you added assurances. It’s especially helpful because some sellers are not that good at marketing their wares!
With the exception of two, the clothes I bought are all desirable, highly sought-after brands, and I am comforted that with the prices I paid I could get close to those prices again if I decide to re-sell! That’s another advantage of buying brands.
I was also astounded at how many ‘new’ items there are for sale on Trade Me, including cool brands like Federation - clothes, shoes, jewellery, etc.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL 'BUYING' ONLINE
- I ALWAYS ask what the condition of the item/s is, even if they say ‘excellent’.
“Dear Seller, you say the top is in excellent condition, but is there anything I should be aware of - marks, flaws, fading, etc”.
I received one dress that looked like a fade mark down the middle. Because I had asked the condition of the item, I was able to return it successfully. But oops, it wasn’t a fade mark and it actually washed out! The seller was amazing to deal with and I got a full refund, including my return postage.
Ask as many questions as you need.
- Buying online can be time consuming, but not if you’re smart. I now have ‘saved searches’ set up that are emailed to me once a day (or weekly). I based my search criteria on certain brands (Zambesi, Moochi, Federation, Witchery, Trelise Cooper etc) and my size. You can also include preferences like - colour, price, location. It takes me a few seconds to scan through the email to see if anything interests me. Sometimes you get random listings in your selection, like a book with the title that included Witchery :).
One day I decided to do a search: brands, size and $1 (reserve). Experienced sellers often put product out there for $1 reserve to attract interest. $1 certainly attracts my interest! It’s a great selling technique and it means you can often pick up a bargain.
- Many sellers have multiple listings, so if you like a particular item they’re selling, you may be interested in their others. If you like the product they sell overall, ‘save seller’ as an alert and then whenever they have new items you’ll be notified by email.
- Once you’ve initiated an action, e.g. put something on your ‘watchlist’, other suggestions pop up on the next screen. This is great because there may be some little gems you hadn’t seen before.
- I also tried my hand at ‘auto bid’ - I set the maximum amount I wanted to pay for the item and let the system do the rest. Really handy, especially when you’re not around at the time the auction closes.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL 'SELLING' ONLINE
- Be generous with your description of the product. The more you can tell people, the less they will hopefully ask. I do say hopefully! And be honest, that’s always reassuring for a buyer. Some sellers state that their product is “from a clean, smoke-free home” which personally appealed.
- How you display your product in the photographs is REALLY important, it’s what will sell it, or not! I saw some shocking photographs and wasn’t even interested in looking further. That’s just me but I’m sure it’s off-putting for many. Present the clothes as best you can:
1) good lighting that shows the product off well
2) make sure it’s ironed and looks neat and tidy
3) show different profiles - front, back and side.
4) photograph the clothing on a person, mannequin or at least on a coat hanger. Some sellers use photos from the brand’s original marketing material, which is really helpful because you can see how the garment was intended to be worn/accessorised.
5) consider adding accessories to complete the look of the top or jacket, for example. But be careful to ensure you state that ‘accessories are not included’ in your description.
As I have just experienced, there are some amazing fashion gems, pre-loved and new, at bargain prices on Trade Me. Be patient, set up ‘saved searches’ to make it easy and you may be pleasantly surprised, as I was.
Happy Shopping & Selling.