If you’ve ever tried to sell your unwanted clothes to one of the four Beacon’s Closet locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan (or if you’ve seen the Broad City episode parodying this very experience), you know that if you go in unprepared, it can be a slightly harrowing experience.
There’s just something about watching a trendy stranger sift through items you no longer wear while you try to decipher if the look on their face is one of disdain or mild interest that feels … demoralizing.
But it need not be so bad! The Beacon’s on Bogart Street has a calmer vibe than some of the other locations; and its relatively small size makes it a more manageable place to both shop and sell. The clothes are priced fairly, and range from high-end designer labels to low-key brands to unlabeled vintage.
We spoke with several buyers and came up with a few helpful tips for painlessly selling your clothes to this reliable thrift spot the next time you need some last-minute cash—or store credit to mitigate the damage of your vintage dress habit, no judgment.
The Art of the Sell
Call ahead to find out what season they are buying for, and if there are any items they do or don’t need.
Save yourself the trouble of bringing items they will 99 percent not take!
The buyers know their merchandise well, and will be able to tell you not only what season they are buying for, but also whether any specific categories are much needed. In the middle of one season, they may already be buying for the next.
It’s definitely helpful to find out that the store is looking for quality winter coats, but has a surplus of shoes and bags, before you decide to lug over six pairs of boots in only so-so condition.
A veteran buyer we spoke to, who has worked at the Bushwick location since its opening, explained the importance of ensuring your bag is clean, organized, and only has items that are meant to be in it.
She (understandably) won’t continue looking through someone’s clothes if she keeps encountering items that are obviously not meant to be there, like underwear or towels, or too many things covered in cat hair.
Don’t just throw a bunch of your old stuff in a bag and hope they like something—make sure everything is washed, folded, and preferably lint-rolled.
If you can, go on a weekday morning.
It’s the quietest time in the store! You won’t have to wait, like you would on the weekend, and the buyers have yet to be inundated with clothes, so you have a better chance of unloading some of yours. If you sell at the end of the day, they’ve already looked through and bought a lot, so chances are they will be even more selective.
Another note on timing: our buyer observed that the store tends to turn over the most clothing during the shift between seasons, when people are looking to empty and refresh their wardrobes.
It can be smart to sell during a season transition because the store has more room for new things, but as lots of people are getting rid of clothes, be mindful that the competition may be fierce.
ONLY stand with the buyer if you have items that you are unsure about selling.
This is a big one. At Beacon’s, you have the option of watching the buyer sift through your clothes and price or reject them, or you can drop the bag off while you shop or get food or do whatever you want and just return later to retrieve it, with everything already picked through. The most stressful part of selling your clothes is watching the deliberation process.
Trying to talk a buyer into taking something of yours they don’t want or pricing it higher will only irritate them, and watching them cast aside things you’ve bought like they’re worthless will just make you sad.
However, if you have anything that you aren’t sure about selling—for example, a designer item that you might want to consign for a higher price, or a piece you’re just not sure you want to part with—it’s a good idea to be present for the buying process. You’ll be told what the item would be priced at, and you can opt to sell or not depending on your gut.
Know your market.
While the merchandise at Beacon’s changes from season to season, there’s a style present all the time.
Our veteran buyer believes the vibe of the Bushwick store is “younger” than it is at the other locations, catering to their hip and eclectic clientele. They buy and sell a lot of truly vintage clothing, matching the aesthetic of their immediate neighborhood.
They’re often in the market for “denim, cashmere, leather, fur” (raid your grandma’s closet), and tend to have a shortage of good men’s clothing.
The store also has a truly excellent and huge selection of vintage tees, which they are also always looking for more of! If you have any of these prime items, we suggest showing them first—it can’t hurt to start on a positive note…
If you’ve succeeded in selling, then whatever your clothes have been priced at, you can choose to redeem 35% in cash or 55% in store credit.
Can you think of any other tips or tricks we’ve missed? Any veteran sellers out there have the game rigged? We’d love to know!
Here’s to stress-free and successful selling, Bushwick!
All photos by Sophia Giovannitti for Bushwick Daily.