Tuesday 21 October 2014

Purge to splurge - cashing off cast-offs is cooler than ever

Don't leave those impulse buys hanging in your wardrobe when they could be making you money.

Corina Gaffney

Published 14/08/2014 | 02:30

Ella de Guzman and her girls - Tanya, Eileen, Sinead and Ciara - and Steve driving, arrive in the orange VW camper van for a Closet Cleanout
Ella de Guzman, Siopaella, with the team, Eileen, Sinead, Steve, Ciara and Tanya, in the Temple Bar shop
Mulberry Lana Del Rey black leather handbag €899 (originally €1,450)

With a new season around the corner and the lure of drool-worthy autumn pieces, comes the inevitable task of making room for those coveted items in our already overflowing wardrobes. One of the most-dreaded, and often avoided, chores has to be the closet purge.

Like a good dietary cleanse, ridding ourselves of the excess and the unnecessary is totally a good thing, right? Yet we tend to ignore it for lots of reasons, including lack of time, angst over where to start, fear of letting go or admitting that you've spent a little too much on stuff you never wear. It can all be hard to swallow, just like that dietary cleanse.

Who hasn't splurged on a pair of heels, only to realise after you've worn them once that they kill your feet? Into the back of the wardrobe they go, never to be seenagain.

In her book 'You are What you Wear' psychologist Jennifer Baumgarter writes that only 20pc of the clothing in a person's wardrobe is worn on a regular basis. That's a lot of clothes collecting dust, and while hiding away in your wardrobe they're not making you any money.

But cleaning out your closet doesn't have to be painful. Imagine if you had a fashion fairy godmother who would help with your closet control, alleviate your buyer's guilt and get you back some of the lost capital.

Enter Siopella, a consignment store based in Dublin. With their expertise, you can purge your possessions and make a few bucks while you're at it. The best bit? You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home.

"The closet buy-out is a total free clothes pick-up service, where we roll in Penelope, aka the Siopaella VW, and also help you with wardrobe weeding and consultation. We give people an option of a cash-buy on the spot or to consign with us," explains owner Ella De Guzman.

"It's really designed for people who haven't cleared out their wardrobe in a few years. We found a lot of our customers were so busy that they don't have the time to come in to the store," she says.

As we all know, time is money and you could be staring at a lot of euro signs in your wardrobe. "We went to a closet buy-out recently where a lady had 400 handbags. The retail value of her buyout came to around €30,000. She hadn't cleaned out her wardrobe since 2005, so there was nine years of hidden gems."

Parting with your unwanted or impulse buys has never been easier. There are loads of easy-to-use streamlined online consignment and re-sale sites that optimise your chances of making some extra cash such as Vestiarire Collective and Covetique. What separates them from other consumer resale sites is that shoppers go there looking solely for fashion items, so pieces can sell in seconds.

And it's not just luxury designer wear that will earn you extra pocket money; online shops and consignment stores like Siopella accept a range of labels, such as Cos, River Island, Zara up to Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

"We're one of the first stores in Ireland to take in everything from Topshop all the way to Chanel," explains Ella.

With the emergence of fast fashion, its become the norm to constantly refresh your wardrobe, to wear something a couple of times and never again. This way of consumption is not sustainable for the environment, with 225,000 tonnes of textile waste being disposed of in Ireland each year; the term landfill fashion seems more appropriate.

By selling on your unwanted items, you can revamp your wardrobe and make money without excessive consumption.

"It actually turns you into a smarter shopper and makes you reconsider what you should buy, going for quality items that will wear well and have some sort of residual value to sell on again," says Erin McManus, a manager in a securities services company, who has consigned clothes for years.

Stylist Annmarie O'Connor agrees with the smart thinking involved in the resale route. "We all need to collectively address our shopping habits to avoid having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Clawing back money spent on impulse buys or simply getting a financial kickback from gently worn garments is, in itself, smart."

But how do you ensure that your clothes sell and make you that financial windfall?

For a start, it's imperative that your items are clean and in like-new condition so they feel special and new to the person buying them. Take a good look at your items - would you be happy to come across them in a shop?

Ella from Siopella advises: "No colour fade, no rips, no piling, no pet hair - it has to look brand new and make sure it's nice enough if you were to give to your best friend to wear."

Do your research and check the websites to see what brands are stocked. Your clothing will sell faster and for more money if they are on trend and appropriate for the current season.

Before you think you need to have a model figure to have resell value, the most popular sizes are 12 to 14.

"We just don't have enough customers that are a size 6 or 8 and we actually need more size 18 too," explains Ella.

If all this talk has you looking at your wardrobe anew, know that when it comes to reselling your gently worn wares, if you take care of your clothes, they'll look after you.

And they might even earn you some cash for your next season fashion must-haves.

siopella.com/ (01) 677 9106

Irish Independent

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