As someone that has been involved in designer resale as both a buyer & seller for over a decade now, I’ve learned the best resources in finding deals. Here are my suggestions for where to go if you’re hunting down luxury items.
eBay is in a category of its own here because it deserves to be. It is, without a doubt, the largest and most well-known of all the names on this list. eBay’s selection is unmatched and I personally have found amazing deals on there. That being said, you do need to exercise some caution. While the site is relatively strict on banning counterfeits, it cannot monitor every single listing. If you’re going to buy something off eBay, be smart. Unless you know absolutely every single detail on what to look for – get it authenticated prior to purchase. Utilize PayPal for payment as they will protect you if the item is not as described (ie: fake). And use common sense: if a seller from Eastern Europe with zero feedback is selling a “brand new” Chanel purse for $100, it’s fake.
Poshmark and Mercari
Poshmark and Mercari are two sites that have grown in popularity within the resale market over the last year. The target demographic for these sites is millennials and both require a smartphone with their respective apps installed to shop listings. I have used both and only recommend for non-designer purchases, or those of a lower dollar amount. The number of counterfeit items on these sites is alarming – while many of these sellers do openly admit the items are fake, I have discovered dozens where the seller is trying to pass it off as real. Both companies claim to support buyers if they accidentally purchase a counterfeit item, but I have read mixed reviews online. Like eBay (or perhaps more so than eBay?), use caution and common sense if you’re going to buy off these websites.
Tradesy and Vestiaire Collective
Tradesy and Vestiaire Collective seem to market themselves as the more sophisticated versions of Mercari and Poshmark. While Tradesy allows users to sell from the comforts of their own home, Vestiaire Collective requires the sellers send them the item to be checked for quality and authentication. Vestiaire’s services are a plus in my book, however, the prices for buyers on these sites seem much higher. It may be worth it if you are seeking a rare item, but the high sale prices prevent me from utilizing either very often.
The RealReal, Yoogi’s Closet, Fashionphile and Portero
TheRealReal, Yoogi’s Closet, Fashionphile and Portero: these four companies have a great reputation for selection within the resale world, and for good reason. What I love about these four are the sales! All of them tend to offer discounts relatively frequently. While the prices are higher than eBay, Poshmark and Mercari, I can usually justify it if I have a promo code sent to my inbox. Of the four, I use The RealReal the most. I have purchased shoes, purses and jewelry from this site for years now. While I can’t comment on Customer Service recently, I did have to contact them a couple years ago (while they were still a very new company) about questions authenticating a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes on their website. They were so wonderful – they actually got me in touch with their head of authentication who explained everything in detail to me (this was before I learned about the stamping, etc of Louboutins). All four of these websites offer financing options too – which, while I can’t review personally, may be of interest to some customers.
If you’re looking to stay local, Craigslist can be an awesome resource. I have purchased designer items using this website, but I cannot stress enough: be careful – not just with making sure your item is legit but physically safe. Anytime I have made a Craigslist purchase, I have made sure to do so in a public space, notified a friend prior to going (unless someone was able to go with me) and sent them details/a photo of what I’m wearing prior to leaving. This might sound a little extreme but if you’re potentially buying something expensive, and a stranger knows you’re going to carrying a large amount of cash, you cannot be too safe.
Here’s one of the best-kept secrets: your local Goodwill (or Salvation Army, etc) is full of amazing finds. I’ve managed to determine which ones in my city get the “best” inventory and I have found everything from a vintage Louis Vuitton pochette, St. John tops, Yves Saint Laurent and Burberry clothing, a Miu Miu purse, and more. Obviously, it requires some digging but if you can find something amazing, it’s totally worth it.
Estate sales are probably my least favorite item on this list because the concept just creeps me out. That being said, if you can handle it, there are good finds. It can be crowded and competitive so plan ahead!
Local Consignment Shops
Here’s one final suggestion, and one that supports your local community at that: shopping small businesses like consignment shops. I’ve found that getting to know the staff is an extremely beneficial strategy for this – at the ones I frequent the most, the staff usually recognizes me and knows what brands tend to be my favorite. I’ve even been known to have them take my name down “just in case” a specific item happens to come in. I love the personal connection that comes from shopping at local consignment (it’s almost like having a team of personal shoppers available) and the fact that I’m helping small businesses is a bonus!