Everything you must know to start an online thrift store | Fashion Trends


How often do you find yourself standing in front of your choked wardrobe, trying to fit in the newest piece of clothing you just couldn’t resist buying? And now, clothes that you no longer wear, either because you don’t fit into them or simply because they stopped being “trendy”, are sitting in there idle, staring you right in the face. In that moment, you realise that you are in desperate need of a closet clearance.

If you are planning to start your own thrift store, keep pricing realistic depending on the condition of your products. (Shutterstock)
If you are planning to start your own thrift store, keep pricing realistic depending on the condition of your products. (Shutterstock)

I found myself in a similar situation about two years ago, and that’s how my journey as a thrift store owner began. Back in 2021, I started my Instagram page, Retag Thrift (@retagthrift), at the age of 19, with the sole purpose of getting rid of unused clothes. Little did I know, it would grow to earn over 1 lakh in two years.

Anything and everything can be thrifted — be it clothes, shoes, home décor items or furniture. Thrifting comes with several benefits. Based on reusing and upcycling of products, it is an eco-friendly way of clearing your clutter. If you thought thrifting is only about luxury brands, I’m here to tell you otherwise. From high-street finds to dailywear, anything can be put up for sale.

India has seen a dramatic surge in online thrift stores since the Covid-19 lockdown. Today, it has turned into a full-fledged, sustainable fashion industry. If you are thinking of starting your own store, here’s everything you need to know.

Start with categorising your clothes. Divide them in a way that you have a significant number of items to put out for sale (at least 10-12 weekly). When you have nothing left to sell, you partner with third-party sellers and offer your page as a platform for them to sell their products. This maintains some activity on your page and makes your followers stick around.

While some opt for Facebook, the majority of online thrift stores start their businesses on Instagram because of its user-friendly interface. Create a business account as it makes it more convenient to keep a track of orders, customers and followers. With Instagram Business, you get more analytical tools to track the activity on your page.

If you post your products out of the blue, the turnout of your sales is unlikely to see much success. This is because you did not inform your audience about your drop, so they ended up missing it. Posting consistent stories with timers for the drop or a sneak-peek of the products that you are about to sell can spark excitement. Ideally, I’d start posting stories about my upcoming sale four-five days prior to the drop to give my audience reminders.

Strictly avoid payments after delivery. No matter how much you try to verify the credibility of your clients, you can never be too sure. Take the payment first, then proceed with the shipping. Instead of buyers paying the delivery partners, take online payments (UPI or bank transfers) as these are easier to keep a track of.

Wrap your package neatly. Go for eco-friendly wrapping paper. You can have your logo printed and even put a handwritten note that describes the garment along with styling ideas. Choose a reliable shipping company to avoid any hassle. Once your business is up and running, be consistent and aim to offer top-notch customer service. Spell out your refund and exchange policies clearly. Respond promptly to customer inquiries, address concerns and handle returns or exchanges professionally.

A smart way to increase your sales is to put out exciting offers and organise clearance sales from time to time. Offers around festivals and special occasions and schemes such as “Buy 1, get 15% off, buy 2 get 30% off” work well. It’s about constantly innovating.

Your products are a reflection of your style. On Retag, I follow the theme of minimalism because I have always been into simple, minimal clothes. So, create a vibe that goes with your style. Photographing your products is a crucial step as your sale depends on how appealing you make them look. Go for a distraction-free background so that the viewer’s focus is solely on the product. I maintain consistent backgrounds for every drop. The camera angle and the positioning of the model remain the same. If not using a model, you can place the outfit on a chart paper, a mat or a hanger and click clear pictures.


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