Tips; Q and A for the Customer’s Closet

Tips on Taking Good Pictures

We think outdoor shots are best because of the lighting advantages. Most cameras will offer good exposure automatically and details will show up better with bright natural light. A neutral background or a nature background is best and be sure to have the sun at the photographer’s back. Jackets, pants, suits and gloves look best if you (or somebody of a good size) is wearing them. Shots of garments thrown on a table or floor really don’t look great to a buyer. When framing your shot, focus on the item… fill the frame with what the customer will be buying. Do an upper body shot for jackets, lower body shots for pants, jazz hands for gloves. Boots are best just laying on a surface. Get at least a front and back shot and maybe a close-up or two to show a feature or the texture of fabrics/leather.

Photo Editing: Even a pretty good smart phone sometimes has trouble taking good pictures, and isn’t it annoying how some pictures save sideways? You’ll want to at least crop, rotate (if necessary) and resize your photos before you submit them to us. I found a great little photo editor that works in a browser window. Just go to Pic Monkey. With a few minutes of practice, you’ll be producing good quality pictures with an appropriate orientation and size.

Picture Sizing: While you are doing your photo editing, you’ll want to resize and save your photos so that the file sizes aren’t too big for the audience (and so I don’t have to do it for you on my end). My suggestion is about 750 pixels wide for a square or landscape shaped picture or about 600 wide for a portrait shaped picture. Pictures in this size range can show sufficient detail, but they aren’t too large for slow computers, cell phone browsers, etc.

Tips on Pricing a Good Used Item

Pricing used items is tricky and there is no black and white formula, but we have a few suggestions:

  • Price the item below what a person can buy the same thing for “as new”. Sounds obvious, but take a few minutes to determine the current street price of your item. Try Google Shopping, or any other shopper-type website of your choice.
    • If your item is still a current model, BRAND NEW with tags and packaging, then we suggest pricing at 70% of the current street price.
    • If your item is still current and near-new, we suggest about 40% to 50% of the best street price. If it is near-new in condition, but now an obsolete style, then it might bring 30% to 40% of its original street price.
    • Items that are well-used and or have some crash damage really won’t have much value… probably not enough to make it worth (our collective) while. You might try eBay or Craigslist.

There are a few exceptional products that will bring good money even if they are older or an obsolete style: Vanson, RoadCrafter, or other leathers that are “vintage” or special interest might still move. If you have something like this, feel free to contact us with a description and we’ll try to help with a pricing suggestion.

The pricing percentages listed above are a good guide, but also there seems to be a ceiling on the maximum price people will pay for a used item… no matter what brand or condition. My feeling is that the ceiling is caused by the fact that folks can buy good NEW gear at a reasonable/moderate price point, and won’t pay more for a premium used item. Also, buyers of used gear are by nature bargain hunters and there is a limit to what they’ll pay just on principle. Here are our estimates of MAX prices we have been able to sell at: for a leather jacket, it is about $250, for a textile jacket or pant, about $100, leather pants, about $150, boots, about $75 for a touring or street boot and about $140 for a race boot (or other specialty boot), ordinary gloves, about $40 and premium gloves, about $100.

A couple other thoughts…

  • Sentimental value is valuable only to you! A good brief story in your description of why your gear is special to you (and might be to a buyer) is interesting and fun, but don’t expect buyers to pay anything extra for your love and experiences because they won’t. Price it fair and price it to sell!
  • Part of “the good” in selling used gear is knowing it is going to good use. Not selling used gear and leaving it sitting in a closet forever is a waste. Don’t get hung up on recouping everything you spent on gear. You’ll get some satisfaction out of the extra closet space and you’ll know your gear has new usefulness to somebody.

When you submit an item to us for the customer’s closet, you’ll be naming the price you think it will sell for. When we review the description, pictures and price you submit, we’ll check the pricing, and if we think it is a bit out of line, we’ll let you know. Ideally, you’ll pick a reasonable price, we’ll agree, and then your item will sell right away to a customer that also thinks it is fair.

What if my item doesn’t sell? Will you ship it back?

Yes, we will, but we try to prevent that request from arising. First, we screen all submissions to make sure sellers are asking a reasonable price for what they have. And then we encourage people to lower prices anytime they want. When a price is lowered it moves back up to the top of the list and says “REDUCED”.

But if all that fails, and a seller wants his/her stuff back, we’ll ship it to them, but we ask the seller to pay the return shipping (we can provide a cost based on the product(s) being shipped). Another good option is to ask us to include the returning Closet item along with merchandise you’ve ordered from our store. We are happy to do that at no charge upon request.

I find most people aren’t as concerned with price… they just want to find a new home for their used gear and get some bucks in the process and they are willing to lower the price until gone. If you are that kind of person, then it will work great for you. But if you attempt to sell but want more than the market will bear, then it probably isn’t right for you. After shipping expense and labor we don’t make money on the closet… it is a customer service, and we want people to find it useful and interesting. But it is not for everybody.

What do you say if a shopper asks, “I’d like to make a lower offer on a Closet item. Can you do it?”

All the prices in the closet are set by the seller. Sellers are free to lower prices anytime they want if their goods aren’t moving as fast as they hoped.

Early on in launching the Closet, we decided to not try to broker offers from buyers. We found it puts us in an awkward position. When presented with lower offers, sellers get concerned we might encourage lower prices in order to sell their goods faster but at their expense. Even worse, some might suspect we’d already sold an item but wanted to increase our margin by fabricating a “lower offer” scenario. It’s really just human nature to suspect anything that reduces the amount a seller gets that they cannot verify.

When shoppers consider buying closet items, we want them to know the commissions we charge sellers for moving their used items are minimal, and that we pre-screen items to make sure that the prices are reasonable even before we accept them for sale in the Closet. Also, we provide buyers with the service of having inspected all the items before they are sold and we offer a return privilege as part of the price.