Vintage fashion for extra cash: how to navigate a kilo sale like a pro
5 min | 2 October 2023
Secondhand clothing has become a primary source of income for the fashion- and finance-conscious alike. We look at how shopping vintage kilo sales can help you save.
It’s a sunny Saturday morning in south London and outside a largely nondescript building, groups of friends in their teens and 20s have already formed an orderly queue. They’re not hoping for entry to the latest after-hours party – they’re here for a vintage kilo sale.
Vintage kilo sales have been around for over a decade, but until recently they weren’t well-known outside of the fashion industry. Now, they’ve become a popular way to generally save on clothing costs and start a potentially lucrative side hustle.
That’s because the clothes bought at vintage kilo sales can then be sold on resale apps for a profit.
The rise of resale apps
Selling vintage clothing no longer requires a physical storefront or racks full of stock, and it can all be done from your bedroom with your phone.
To be a top seller on one of the most popular resale apps, you must consistently sell £2,000 worth of merchandise each month for at least four months. To put this into perspective, that would be the equivalent of selling more than 100 items with an average price of £20 each month.
Aesthetes aren’t simply in the resale game: they could be using their earnings towards their own burgeoning lines, saving for design degrees (or paying off the debt from said degrees) or building up deposits for houses (complete with sewing studios, of course).
From closet clean-out to kilo sale: getting started as a seller
For the fashion enthusiast, it can be a logical progression from collector to reseller. They’ll often start by selling their own castoffs, then quickly learn to spot the right stuff at charity shops and, if they’re lucky, be the beneficiaries of friends’ and family members’ closet clean-outs. By that time, they’ll know what they like, what others are into and, crucially, what sells well.
For many sellers, purchasing stock at a kilo sale is the next logical step. There, they can buy clothes in bulk and by weight and, unlike more traditional sources such as a car boot sale or auction, the pricing system is clear and consistent.
Vintage kilo sales are remarkably well-organised. As the doors open and you file in, you’re greeted with racks of clothing sorted neatly by garment type. Signs show the estimated weights of various pieces, and the price per kilo appears prominently in several places around the hall.
For example, you could purchase a kilo’s worth of desirable T-shirts for £10 (about three or four), then resell them for £20 each – excluding packaging, delivery and sometimes entry fee to these events – to potentially achieve a profit of £70.
The path to resale app success
The real work begins once you’ve purchased your pieces: you’ll need to photograph them, write the listings and promote your shop on whichever resale app you choose.
Each resale platform caters to its own niche audience. While some are trendy – so shots of garments artfully modelled among interesting objects are sure to stop shoppers mid-scroll – others are more minimal, which means you should stick to flat lays and detail shots. Make a note of tips in these apps that guide you on how to take the best photos of the pieces you wish to sell.
Look at the ways other sellers describe similar pieces and use the same language to ensure that you’re in with a chance to appear alongside them in searches. For example, the early 2000s are popular right now, and sellers will consistently use the phrase 'Y2K' rather than 'late 90s/early 00s'.
There are also a number of niche subcultures that flourish on these apps and across social media. Take note of these and tailor your listings and promotions accordingly.
The successful reseller tends to have an eye for what’s in and an understanding of their customer. Take the time to do your research and, as with personal style, don’t be afraid to experiment.
Top tips for navigating a vintage kilo sale
1. Be prepared: making a list of the garments you hope to find can help you stay focused if you start to feel overwhelmed.
2. Equally, be prepared to be disappointed and walk away with nothing, as not all kilo sales will have what you're looking for.
3. Bring a tape measure: a great-looking piece may actually be an unusual size and therefore a difficult sell.
4. Take your time: it doesn’t have to be a competition. Kilo sales will often replenish their stocks throughout the day.
5. Keep track of your spending: scales are usually placed around the room, so you can check what you’ll pay before you get to the till. (After your purchase, of course, if you pay with your Chase card, you’ll be able to see the exact amount in our app.)
6. Have fun! You’re spending the morning vintage shopping, after all! Bring a friend, take some photos and enjoy your day.
18+, UK residents. A Chase current account is required to open a saver account.
Disclaimer: These articles are not tax, legal or financial advice. Readers are responsible for their own tax affairs and should obtain advice if they are unclear as to their tax position.