How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram & Make Money | Blogger Closet Sale Tips

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Today on the blog, I’m sharing my top tips and my own personal system for how to sell your clothes on Instagram – and make money!!

Before. we get started – !’m Brianne – a plus size fashion blogger and designer. As a blogger, I have a LOT of clothes. (Like, closets full of clothing!), buying and being gifted lots of clothing pieces to review, model, etc. I’ve recently been trying various plus size subscription services to cut down on the amount of fashion I buy, but i still have a LOT of clothes.

business and career coach brianne huntsman
Hey there! I’m Brianne Huntsman, AKA “The Huntswoman”! I’m a plus size blogger, model and fashion designer — and TODAY I am *so excited* to share how to sell your clothes on Instagram and make money!

I’ve tried various ways to sell my plus size clothes online (shops like Poshmark, consignment shops, etc), and I’ve made the most revenue using a closet sale on Instagram – but not the most profit (money I was left with after expenses).

Because I learned SO MUCH through trial and error, I wanted to create the ULTIMATE guide on how to sell your clothes on Instagram and make money. My goal with this post is to help YOU learn some tips for selling YOUR clothes on Instagram, as well as decide if Instagram even makes sense for YOU!

This blog post is ALL about how to sell your clothes on Instagram!

[Heads up! This post was originally posted in February of 2020, and I have updated it on August 24, 2023! Pleases note that I’m not making any guarantee of success selling your clothes on Instagram! Rather, i’m sharing my experience! If there are tips in this post I’ve missed or info you’d like to share, please feel free to drop me a line!]

ULTIMATE Guide | How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram

Ok, this post is a BEAST – almost 4,000 words long, which is basically an e-book, lol. I’ve updated and added to it a LOT since my first closet sale in 2018, so I have created a sort of table of contents below!

  • Part 1: Who I am & How I sold my clothes on Instagram! This section is a brief recap of my two sales, so you have a better idea of who I am, so you can compare YOUR experience and background to mine! My advice is only helpful is if you know WHY I’m giving it, I think!
  • Part 2: Is selling your clothes on Instagram EVEN RIGHT for you? In this section, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of selling your clothes on Instagram. I *don’t* think everyone will be successful selling their clothes on IG, which is why I’m starting HERE!
  • Part 3: How to Prepare & Plan to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram!
  • Part 4: Helpful SUPPLIES and items to get to help you for your sale!
  • Part 5: Mistakes *I* made during my two Instagram closet sales, and how to avoid them!
How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram

Part 1 How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram | My Two Sales

I’ve done two BIG closet sales on Instagram, one in 2018 and one in 2020. I would’ve done one this year, but I was crunched for time during a move!

Disclaimer: There are many business, legal, and tax considerations that come with selling your clothes online, and this post doesn’t go into that! I’m neither a legal nor financial advisor. SOOOOO I recommend doing your research and consulting with your legal and financial experts! The info in this post is NOT legal or financial advice. The info is this post is shared for entertainment and to help give you an idea of how much work is involved here.

How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram
A promotional tweet I sent out in 2018 for my closet sale!

My Instagram Closet Sale in 2018

This was the first closet sale I had ever done! I was a bit overwhelmed with trying to learn Poshmark, so I decided to sell my clothes on Instagram.

My big lessons for this Instagram closet sale were:

  • Keep the Instagram closet sale (ideally) to 3-4 days so people BUY. If a product is always available, they’ll talk themselves out of it.
  • Be a bit ruthless – if someone doesn’t pay their invoice within the set time limit (let’s say 24 hours), move onto the next person! Don’t try to track people down!
  • Shipping costs are MURDER! I spent about half what I made on SHIPPING, UGH

I sold my clothes on Instagram in 2018, and I grossed (before costs) about $1,000 selling pretty new and not-worn plus size clothes. I think I had about 30-40 pieces. I did NOT sell items that were torn, damaged, etc. My adage was, “Keep it Simple Stupid!” I did not want to have to deal with refunding someone because they hadn’t READ the caption about the piece.

How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram
A garment rack isn’t required, but dang it makes it WAY easier to be organized for an Instagram Closet Sale!

I love this gold one, linked HERE!

My Instagram Closet Sale in 2020

Then, I did an Instagram closet sale AGAIN in 2020 and grossed to $1,000. BUUUT there some costs I didn’t plan for!

  • I tried to increase the cost of shipping, but because I had more clothes — people bought more. Some packages cost me $100+ to ship. People aren’t used to paying for shipping because of Amazon Prime and big box stores, so I really learned how surprising these costs can be!
  • So, TLDR I still spent a LOT of money on shipping
  • Around double the amount of clothes (As compared to 2018) meant more than DOUBLE the time getting organized.

Overall, I’ve decided that Instagram Closet Sales don’t make sense for me, based on calculating what my hourly rate was. But if you have a LOT of clothes and need money FAST, then it could be a good idea for you!

How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram

Part Two: The Pros of Selling Clothes on Instagram

Ok, now that you’ve got a bit more experience on my two Instagram closet sales, let’s talk about whether an selling clothes on YOUR Instagram makes sense for YOU!

The easiest way I know how to do this is by sharing the pros and cons of selling clothes on Instagram, below! I also added a mini subsection on whether a platform like Poshmark or Mercari makes sense, or using a consignment shop!

Pros of Selling Clothes on Instagram

We briefly covered these above, but now I want to DIG IN!

There are a few things to consider, but here are my top reasons why selling your clothes on Instagram could be better than other platforms:

  • No need to sign up for a new platform or pay their fees! You can direct your followers to the secondary IG account when the sale opens, and then put it on private when you’re done selling.
  • You develop a more personal relationship with your followers! You’re sending them to an account YOU RUN
  • They can ask questions, and you’ll get notifications when you’re on IG anyways!
  • You don’t lose $$$ to extra fees that websites charge
How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram
Here’s an example listing from my Instagram Closet Sale:

Red Velvet Top | Hell Bunny | New with Tags | 4X |$14
.
Comment with your PayPal email address to be invoiced. Comment “next” with your PayPal email to be next in line. You must pay within 24 hours of invoicing to receive item, otherwise will go to next person.
.
*SHIPPING*
Shipping in the USA (up to 5 items) is $8. International shipping will be calculated at checkout. Free shipping for orders over $120.

.
ALL SALES FINAL. Clothing comes from smoke-free home with 1 dog

Cons of Selling Clothes on Instagram

An Instagram Closet Sale is WAYYYYY more work than selling your clothes on Poshmark or through a resale shop. There’s a lot more backend work when you DIY it.

Here’s a list of extra work:

  • SHIPPING costs! I’ll share more on this further down, but I have really screwed myself over with shipping!
  • FOLLOWERS! If you don’t have a good amount of Instagram followers, you may have trouble selling pieces. Clothing resale platforms have a LOT of traffic coming to them, so it would be better to start with one of those if you don’t have a lot of followers, I think!
  • SET UP! Taking photos and uploading as posts, with the right copy
  • INVOICES! You have to send and track invoices, making sure people have paid
  • SHIPPING! You have to make shipping labels, they’re not automatically generated like on Poshmark
  • MORE INVOICING! You have to monitor unpaid invoices and re-list items

Overall, I found that hosting my own Instagram closet sale to make money basically took over my LIFE for about a week. 2 days of prep, 3-4 days of selling and then shipping for 1-2 days!

Overall, I found that hosting my own Instagram closet sale to make money basically took over my LIFE for about a week. 2 days of prep, 3-4 days of selling and then shipping for 1-2 days!

How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram & Make Money

Need for Instagram FOLLOWERS – A HUGE CAVEAT & NOTE

SOOOOOO, I originally wrote this post for fashion bloggers, influencers and those with a good size social media following. Since then, a lot of folks have found this post useful [who aren’t influencers or folks with a lot of followers on social media]. I’ve gone back and add this section, so we’re all on the same page!

When selling clothes on Instagram, I really think this only works if you have an engaged following. Selling clothes on Instagram worked for ME, because I have a lot of people looking at my page! In 2020, I think I had over 15,000 Instagram followers. This meant I had people I could market my Instagram closet sale to.

If you don’t have an engaged audience, or you’re not already pretty active on Instagram – it can be hard to sell clothes there. It’s the online equivalent of opening up a shop that no one knows exists and isn’t in a good location – you may not make any money!!!

Ok, now that we’ve talked about that, let’s move on!

Sell Clothes on Instagram

Would Another Platform Be BETTER to sell your clothes on?

Ok, so! Having sold my plus size clothes on Instagram, Poshmark and consignment, all have their drawbacks.

I’ve shared the pros and cons of platforms like Poshmark and consignment below, but here’s the TLDR:

  • CONSIGNMENT: If you’re short on TIME but want to at least get SOME money out of your clothes, I’d use consignment shops
  • PLATFORMS LIKE POSHMARK: If you want to maximize your PROFITSbut shipping costs scare you, I’d use Poshmark
  • INSTAGRAM: If you need all the MONEY you can get and comfortable passing 100% of shipping costs onto your customers, then INSTAGRAM makes the most sense.

Knowing what I know now about the issues of shipping costs, I would’ve gone with Poshmark, TBQH! My fear of the platform kept me from using it, but honestly it streamlines SO much.

Knowing what I know now about the issues of shipping costs, I would’ve gone with Poshmark, TBQH! My fear of the platform kept me from using it, but honestly it streamlines SO much.

Platform! Pros & Cons of Selling Clothes on a Platform (vs. Selling Your Clothes on Instagram)

Below, I’ve shared the pros and cons of selling clothes on a resale platform, like Poshmark, Depop, or MERCARI.

PROS:

  • MILLIONS of people use these platforms, which means you can get a LOT more eyeballs on your stuff
  • You can do research to see what your items are selling for
  • You can offer bundles or discounts with a click of a button, you don’t have to do backend math
  • SHIPPING is much easier, as there’s usually a flat rate. On Poshmark, a shipping label is autogenerated

CONS:

  • Fee paid to the platform for each sale
  • Having to get items out of your house ASAP to ship out (lots of post office trips)
  • People unhappy with the clothing item you sent
How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram & Make Money

Consignment! Pros & Cons of Selling Clothes on Consignment | (vs. Selling Your Clothes on Instagram)

I had never consigned before visiting Plus BKLYN in NYC! This can be a great option if you’re in a time crunch! I know many of my plus size blogger besties in SoCal consign at The Plus Bus in LA! Below, I’ve shared some pros and cons of selling your plus size clothes on consignment:

PROS:

  • The selling work is done for you — you just drop off your items

CONS:

  • Consignment shops need to take their cut, too! And, because many of these are brick and mortar businesses, they have to take a LOT larger chunk than a resale platform.
  • Tracking can be an issue! Some consignment shops have a pretty outdated system to track how much they need to pay you when your items sell, and issues can lead to you not getting paid for some pieces. (This is why I recommend doing your due diligence before buying).
How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram & Make Money

Part 3: SCHEDULE – Planning Your Instagram Closet Sale

Ok, so now that we’ve talked about the pros and cons of selling your clothes on Instagram, I wanted to share my calendar or order of operations for planning your Instagram closet sale.

My #1 Tip: Only have your closet sale open for a limited time — say one week — and then CLOSE IT DOWN. People need that deadline to get their butts in gear to buy!!

For me, I found it was easiest to have my Instagram Closet Sale open for a set amount of time [ex: 1 week]. Having a “store” open for too long means people don’t feel an urgency to buy, and it ends up being a regular stressor. Having fixed start and end dates makes things easier, in my opinion.

8 Steps to Plan a Instagram Closet Sale

  1. Step 1: GATHER! Gather all the clothes you want to sell over a few weeks
  2. Step 2: CLEAN! Launder/wash all of them at the same time! Keep this laundry separate from your other laundry!! I literally took the laundered sale items and put them in my home office, to avoid confusion.
  3. STEP #3: EXAMINE! Inspect clothing for tears and stains. If you wouldn’t buy it at a thrift store, don’t sell it!
  4. STEP #4: PHOTS! Photograph clothes all at once! [I put a thumbtack into the wall and hung a hanger off of it, putting clothes on and off the hanger.]
  5. Step #5: UPLOAD! Upload photos and descriptions (you can do pricing research on a website like Poshmark, if you like, seeing what other folks sold it for.)
  6. Step #6: MARKET! As you’re doing all of these activities, I recommend you post a lot about them on your IG Story, so your followers can see! Share your preparations and updates, to get them excited for the sale!
  7. Step 7: LAUNCH Launch sale on a Sunday, and post teasers throughout the process on your main account to get your readers excited!
  8. Step 8: MONEY! I invoiced via PayPal to track everything. Some folks use Venmo or another payment processor

Part 4: Supplies You’ll Need to Make an Instagram Closet Sale EASIER

Below, I’ve shared a few things you may want to buy to make your Instagram Closet Sale easier!

  • Clothing Rack to organize clothes && take pictures!
  • Tape gun for boxes
  • File folio to organize receipts from shipping (receipts are needed to claim insurance if a pacakge doesn’t arrive, I think!)
  • Camera (if your phone camera isn’t good)

Part 5: Learn from ME! | 7+ Tips for Selling Clothes on an Instagram Closet Sale

That said, there are ways to streamline the process. Here are some things I’ve learned:

  1. Create a separate Instagram account – not your regular IG account – to sell clothes. Some bloggers don’t do this, choosing to just sell clothes via their IG Story. Then, the week before your sale, you promote the new IG Sale account via your IG Story, [maybe a Reel?], etc, on your main account.
  2. Use the same caption organization for all pieces selling. Share size, brand, wear/tear and how shipping works. Instruct people to claim an item with a PayPal email address! [Scroll up for an example of my captions – I’m sure I’m missing something tho!]
  3. Set shipping at $30 USD for up to 3 items. This is a priority flat rate box. Stipulate that you’ll charge more $$$ for shipping outside of the USA.
  4. It is SUPER helpful to stipulate that you’ll invoice separately for shipping. I have lost SO MUCH money, because I tried to offer like $10 for shipping. Don’t do that. Shipping like 5-6 pieces costs around $40, minimum.
  5. Instruct people to comment “next!” if they want to be next in in case the original buyer doesn’t come through. Instruct people to leave their PayPal email addresses in the comments.
  6. Stipulate that people have 24 hours to pay an invoice before it goes to the next person.
  7. Educate your buyers as to when all items will ship. I recommend setting the closet sale to be a specific # of days, and then you ship everything at once.
  8. Use photos of you wearing the clothes, ideally! If not, take photos of the item hanging up, and take detail shots. If you have past photos in the clothes, use those!

Taking Photos for Your Instagram Closet Sale:

Bonus Section: Setting Up Your Instagram Closet Sale Account

When it comes to holding a closet sale on Instagram, I recommend making a second account that references your main account [see Tip #1, above]. It makes it easier to post images of clothing, and if you plan on having closet sales in the future – you have an account to do so!

You can make an IG account specifically for your closet sale, and add “ClosetSale” to your regular username. I sent out the link to my closet sale to my email list first, as I want subscribers to be my .VIPs!

From there I shared on personal channels, and then I blasted the link across social media.

How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram

CAUTION: Calculating Shipping for an Instagram Closet Sale

I’ve talked about this above, but my top mistake/lesson was miscalculating shipping. I was worried if I charged too much for shipping then no one would buy my clothes on Instagram.

What happened?

I lost a lot of money shipping big boxes of clothes. Like, there some shipments I basically *lost* money on – the shipping cost was pretty equal to the cost of goods sold, meaning I didn’t make money.

FML, right?!

How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram

I would recommend only offering a flat rate for shipping for 1-2 pieces, and then quote shipping based on weight.

This can confuse people, as many people are used to not paying a shipping fee [they’re used to Amazon Prime], or not having to pay shipping if they spend over $50 or $100.

Here’s the thing though – companies who offer free shipping have made it part of their business model, absorbing that cost elsewhere. But you and I are people – not companies – and shipping can get expensive FAST.

Shipping can get expensive FAST

Also, this is where it may make more sense to use Poshmark or Mercari – because they calculate shipping and make it super straight forward.

How to sell clothes on Instagram

Final Thoughts – Is an Instagram Closet Sale Worth the TIME?

Okay, so I wish I had tracked how much time it took me to do a lot of the backend and setup stuff for my Instagram Closet Sale.

Because it took a LOT of time an brainwork – time and brainwork that probably could’ve been used elsewhere and resulted in me making more money. [I’m a business and career coach, have other businesses, etc.]

Since 2020, I haven’t done an IG closet sale. I’ve found the time isn’t worth it for me, because if I look at the money I made I’m not making my hourly rate that I make in my business.

Now, some bloggers and influencers do closet sales as a way to connect wit their fans, which I love! But I just don’t need to do them often enough for it to be a point of connection. I’ve also been working on not buying clothes [subscription memberships for the win]

SO, TLDR – here are a few things to think on:

  • Would I be better off donating my clothes and making money by reducing my tax bill? [Talk to your accountant for this one!]
  • Would I be better off joining up with other people with a similar style and doing a joint closet sale?
  • Would I be better off consigning my clothes to a resale shop in my area?

Would I be better off consigning my clothes to a resale shop in my area?

How to Sell Your Clothes on Instagram & Make Money

Test for the Future – Selling Clothing on Facebook Marketplace?

Ok, so I’m currently furnishing my first apartment [writing loads of blog posts on it, list of those HERE], and something I’ve wondered about is using Facebook Marketplace to advertise a local closet sale – like a yard sale.

Specifically, I imagine this might be a strategy that does well for me, if I promoted a plus size closet sale on FB Marketplace – because there are so few plus size stores people can shop IRL.

I haven’t tested this though! I wonder if doing this would be easier than Instagram. One wouldn’t need to take photos of each item individually, I think. Taking photo of 5-7 items in a shot would work? IDK. This idea needs some fleshing out. It appeal to me, because you can put on FB Marketplace that it’s pickup only [no shipping fees to pay!!] – and you could make the sale 1-day?

There are safety considerations of course [sharing your address on the internet can be risky], so I’d endeavor to do it somewhere I don’t live.

Check-In: Selling Clothes on IG

Ok, now that I’ve shared ALLLL of that, how are you feeling? Do you still want to test out selling your clothes on Instagram? Let’s do it!

This blog post was ALL about how to sell your clothes on Instagram!

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