Recently, one of the most game-changing fashion decisions I’ve made has been buying and selling pieces with online consignment retailer The RealReal. It has helped me make some extra money by clearing out items from my closet that I haven’t been wearing, but it has also allowed me to order past-season designer pieces I missed out on the first time around—often at a sizable discount.
Earlier this year, I ordered a pair of metallic gold strappy heels from Manolo Blahnik for just $140. Then, I picked up a ’90s Dior monogram saddle bag just before the brand re-released the iconic style for fall. Right now, my cart is filled with Phoebe Philo–era Celine that I’m planning to order on the verge of the designer’s pieces becoming increasingly rare.
With my newfound affinity for consignment shopping and selling, I was interested to chat with experts at The RealReal to find out their tips on what to sell and what to buy, plus the best strategies to follow to make the most money. Ahead, I’m breaking down the findings I learned from Sasha Skoda, women’s category director at The RealReal.
WHAT TO BUY NOW
Which items should you order now before they sell out or the prices start to climb? For one, Celine. “With Hedi Slimane’s recent Celine debut, we have seen a steady 30% growth in search for Phoebe Philo–era Celine,” Skoda says, “with resale value rising by 7% across the board for all Celine items and up to 30% growth in iconic ready-to-wear pieces.”
PIECES THAT WILL RETAIN THEIR VALUE AFTER PURCHASE
If you’re thinking about buying a piece and want to make sure it retains its value, what should you buy? “Anything that is iconic to that designer,” says Skoda. “For example, within Hermès, Birkins and Kellys are the most iconic and therefore retain the most resale value, even increasing in value over time. With Chanel, it’s Flap Bags, Boy Bags, anything with the classic quilting and monogram CC logo, and tweed clothing.”
THE 5 TOP-SELLING BRANDS
It should come as no surprise that luxury designer pieces are the most in demand. Ahead are the five top-selling brands at The RealReal. If you have pieces from these labels, they’re good contenders to sell quickly and make you money the fastest.
THE MOST SEARCHED DESIGNER
Though Chanel and Louis Vuitton used to hit top searches across the retailer, Gucci now has the lead. “Although Gucci is #4 in top sales, Gucci is now #1 as the most searched designer,” Skoda says. “We see most of the demand growth coming from Gen Z and millennial customers." So, if you’re looking to unload some Gucci pieces, now is the time to sell.
THE TOP-SELLING SHOES
One of the biggest items across The RealReal right now? Chunky sneakers. “Sneakers continue to be a top trend for us, doubling in sales versus last year,” Skoda says. “We see chunkier dad styles increasing in value (Chanel sport low-tops, Balenciaga Triple S, Louis Vuitton Archlight are all in top demand) while cleaner, simpler styles are trending down (Common Projects and Isabel Marant).”
ANOTHER TOP-SELLING CATEGORY
One more category that’s exploding right now? Throwback pieces, “which are in huge demand as designers bring back classic styles from the past,” according to Skoda. “For example, the Dior Saddle Bag has increased 150% in resale value over the past year as Dior reintroduced this style earlier this year.” I myself ordered a ’90s Dior saddle bag earlier this year and have noticed how rare they’ve become in just a matter of months. So, if you have these items, it’s nearly a sure bet that they will sell quickly.
THE BIGGEST RESALE MISTAKE
If you’re looking to make the most possible money when selling pieces for consignment, which mistake should you avoid? Allowing your items to go into disrepair. “It’s important to take great care of all of your items,” Skoda says, “especially shoes and handbags, as these tend to get the most wear but can also retain high resale value if kept in excellent condition.” If there has been light wear to your pieces, you can take steps like resoling shoes or cleaning pen marks from handbag interiors. “Keeping original dust bags/boxes is always a plus as well,” adds Skoda.