Author Topic: Help me sell my wedding dress  (Read 3686 times)

Megma

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Help me sell my wedding dress
« on: January 26, 2018, 08:18:05 AM »
I have been trying unsuccessfully to sell my wedding dress online since September. The dress was originally (ie new) about 1100 as a package including veil, tiara, etc. I have it listed for $750 not including the veil/tiara. I have listed it on Craigslist, LetGo, and several Facebook groups. I also posted it on ebay once. I plan to keep the tiara as a memento and am hoping to up-sell the buyer on the veil (I will add veil to sweeten deal or for a nominal price of $25-50, new veils are 200+).

It's a larger size so could be altered to fit many smaller people and I'm tall so I haven't had it hemmed really short.

I've had a few contacts which always seem to fizzle or are clearly scams. One person asked if I would do $650 and I said yes only to never hear from her again.

Do I need to wait until later in the wedding season? Am I asking way too much money for a lightly used dress? The cleaning for the dress was $200 so I'd like to get that plus extra at least. Has anyone sold their dress successfully? Where and how much of the purchase price did you get back?

rubybeth

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 08:43:11 AM »
There are websites specifically for selling wedding dresses. I would try those in addition to what you have going.

Also, as someone who has bought many used items online, photos matter A LOT. Is this a designer dress? Or one from a store like David's Bridal? I would use the original photos that helped sell YOU on the dress, if possible. And your own wedding photos of the dress in action might help, if you don't already have those included.

Also, a tip I learned about pricing: if you use a very specific number like $752, then people will assume you have a good reason for asking that exact amount. If you ask for a round number, that indicates that you are willing to negotiate.

Megma

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 08:57:29 AM »
There are websites specifically for selling wedding dresses. I would try those in addition to what you have going.

Also, as someone who has bought many used items online, photos matter A LOT. Is this a designer dress? Or one from a store like David's Bridal? I would use the original photos that helped sell YOU on the dress, if possible. And your own wedding photos of the dress in action might help, if you don't already have those included.

Also, a tip I learned about pricing: if you use a very specific number like $752, then people will assume you have a good reason for asking that exact amount. If you ask for a round number, that indicates that you are willing to negotiate.

The dress is from a small, independent boutique not sure it's designer but I should check that, as it's a selling point if it is. Even if it's a "brand" that could help. I did put in the listing that it's NOT from David's Bridal, as some think their's are generic. I will look at this.

I don't want to sell on the dress specific websites (I did try 1 or 2 actually though) because then I have to ship, which is another expense.

The photos are all of me wearing the dress (but just the dress part, I'm headless), the in action ones. It could be that I should post some pics of it hanging up now as people have asked about it's current condition several times, so perhaps they think it has some defects now that I'm hiding? I'm not but maybe they think this.

Thanks for the suggestions Rubybeth!

CNM

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 09:03:47 AM »
I'd look in to brick and mortar wedding dress stores in your town.  Many take dresses on consignment.  I think it's easier for people to shell out the money once they can see it and try it on for themselves. 

ooeei

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2018, 09:38:37 AM »
I'll give you the same advice I give anyone selling on craigslist or ebay. If it's not selling, it's too expensive. Yeah pictures might help, but people aren't going to buy a used wedding dress off craigslist for $750, in this case less than a 25% discount from what they'd pay at the store per your description. I mean, assuming the veil actually costs around $200 and the tiara is $50 they're only saving $100 versus going to a store where they can try on dozens of dresses and get them brand new.

People go to craigslist to get amazing deals. They don't care what you paid for it, what cleaning cost, or what sentimental value you've put on it. I've seen so many kitchenaid mixers on my local craigslist at 20% under retail, and they all stick around for months. You've got to put one at about 1/2 off for anyone to be interested. I messaged a guy about a toolbox a few months ago that he had listed for $50 more than amazon sells it for brand new, he said he paid $50 more than he was asking so that's what he needed to get for it. I'm sure if I went and looked it's still listed at that same price, and will be until he throws it away during a move or something. He couldn't comprehend that a brand new one from Amazon cost less than his, so nobody would ever buy it. To him he just couldn't bear to part with it for more than $50 less than he paid, so he expected someone to buy it for that because that's "fair" to him. That is not a seller's mindset.

If I was you I'd drop it $50-100 every week and see what happens. Once you get to the level that you'd rather keep it than sell it that low, just post it for $50 more than that and wait it out, or keep it.

Consignment is also an option as posted above. Not sure how much more you'll end up with once they take their cut but it's not a bad idea.

edit: And I'm not sure how alterations work, but if they're normally included for free by a shop when you buy a dress, that's an additional cost they'll have with yours (and thus an additional drop in price you'll need) vs a new one from a store.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 09:49:19 AM by ooeei »

Righty

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2018, 09:49:07 AM »
I know nothing about the second-hand wedding dress market - but I do a fair amount of buying/selling in used fly fishing equipment (so what I'm about to say may or may not be relevant).

My sense is you are asking too much for the dress - I will not even consider an item unless the seller is asking <= 50% of the original purchase price.

You also need to remind yourself that you are really limiting your options by not being willing to ship - this reduces your pool of potential buyers dramatically as well.

So not to get into a lame conversation on supply and demand - but you haven't yet priced it to generate demand, and you also have limited the marketplace (where perhaps a buyer could be located elsewhere).

Dicey

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2018, 09:55:05 AM »
1. Mention that it's been fully cleaned, that's important.
2. Can't have too many photos, especially close-ups of details.
3. Cast a wider net.
4. Lower your price.
5. Add more words to your description. Include the manufacturer's name, style number, place and date of purchase and focus on searchable keywords.
6. Make it about the actual dress, not about you.
7. Remove typos (unlike this post).
 
You clearly have an emotional attachment and (sorry) unrealistic expectations. By the time someone alters your dress they are too close to retail to make buying second hand worthwhile. Someone who is looking to buy used is probably not of the mindset to spend more than, say $500, unless they want that exact dress.

Fun story, a friend on the West Coast wanted a specific dress, so she searched high and low for it used, with the manufacturer and style number. She wanted extra fabric to modify the straps, but figured she'd have to suck it up and order it from the mfr. at $100/yard. She found the dress online on the East Coast. When she emailed the seller, it turned out to be someone she knew from grad school. The seller just happened to have ordered extra fabric that she hadn't used. Result? The frugal bride paid half of retail for her dream dress, and the first bride cut the cost of wearing her first choice, brand-new dress on her wedding day in half. Win-win.

robartsd

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2018, 09:58:45 AM »
I'll give you the same advice I give anyone selling on craigslist or ebay. If it's not selling, it's too expensive. Yeah pictures might help, but people aren't going to buy a used wedding dress off craigslist for $750, in this case less than a 25% discount from what they'd pay at the store per your description. I mean, assuming the veil actually costs around $200 and the tiara is $50 they're only saving $100 versus going to a store where they can try on dozens of dresses and get them brand new.

I think $750 is too high. $1100 - $200 veil - $50 tierra = $850. At best you're offering a $100 discount for someone to go out of their way to shop for your dress - and that's assumng they don't need to spend much altering it. Has the veil upsell offer been listed in your ads? Waiting for the buyer to contact you may be diminishing the value the upsell may have. I'd drop the price to $650 right away and add a mention of including the veil for $50 more in the description. I think I'd drop the price slower than ooeei suggests (maybe $25/week), but that depends on how improtant it is to sell quickly (and how many responses you get).

Shopper who countered with $650 may have responded to multiple ads while shopping and a deal she lliked better may have worked out (you could have been the backup plan). Buyers feel no responsibility for contacting sellers to let them know they are no longer interested.

Last item I sold on CL, I'm pretty sure I priced too low (10 y.o. stacking washer dryer set with cosmetic issues for $350, managing the responses from potential buyers became difficult because there was so much interest).

You also need to remind yourself that you are really limiting your options by not being willing to ship - this reduces your pool of potential buyers dramatically as well.

How much would it cost to ship? How much is the hassle worth to you? List it on wedding dress websites for that much more than you list it locally. Someone local may decide to snatch up the deal, or someone distant may pay a better price; either way you win.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2018, 09:59:30 AM »
I do a wedding dress specific website. OnceWed I think. I was able to put in that I prefer a local buy, which is what I got. I took current pictures in good lighting, in addition to posting photos from my wedding.

It sounds like you're probably asking too much though. Mine was a $1400 designer gown, although since I got a wedding show referral and got a cash discount, it cost me $1100. Plus I had $400 alterations on it. So ostensibly an $1800 dress in that sense. I sold it for $800 about a year ago. The lady came down, tried it on at my house, and we used Venmo to have her pay us. Be sure you're not overcharging.

ETA: through OnceWed I was also able to choose for them to pay shipping if someone from a distance wanted it, and I was unwilling to take returns.

thingamabobs

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2018, 10:09:42 AM »
Youíre asking too much. Unless itís a brand/style that is sought after, youíre not going to get more than 50% purchase price. Like others said, people go on Craigslist to get great deals and a pre owned wedding dress at about 30% discount is not a great deal.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2018, 10:15:00 AM »
I wouldn't list a dress that cost $1100 new (with upgrades like tiara and veil!) for more than $300.  It was already a really inexpensive wedding dress (you yourself said veils cost $200+; you've stripped that value from the package already, and the tiara let's call that $150; so now it's only worth $750 or so new; which is what you are trying to charge used).

You aren't going to get much for it.

Megma

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2018, 01:13:59 PM »
First let me say that my 1100 was what my dress was marked in the store. They were having an off-season promotional sale where you got a tiara (normally ~$30-50 not anywhere near 150) if you bought a dress and I negotiated a tiara and a veil by paying same-day cash, rather than using their installment plan (yes people buy wedding dresses on credit!). So I would not say it was an $850 dress because I also got a veil. Like Bracken_Joy, I got a really good deal.

But ok, I take the point that I am probably still asking too much and that's why it hasn't sold, though these past few months have been the slow season for wedding dresses (people get married in the spring/summer, many people get engaged at Christmas, etc) and I do need a specific buyer (ie size range and taste), so it might take longer than other Craigslist items. I guess I don't want to ask for 600 and have people offering me 300 because at that price I'd probably give it away to someone that needed it.

For this reason, I do think it is probably somewhat different than a toolbox or fishing equipment. I have also had many people buy Craigslist items from me for more than I paid but that's another story...

Ooeei, no alterations are NOT included when you buy a dress. One shop told me their alterations started at $500! Needless to say, I went to an independent seamstress for mine :) I am of course not including these in my 1100 price. Anyone who buys the dress from me will also have to get it altered.

Hmm...maybe I'll donate it to a charity auction or something. I did look at OnceWed but shipping would be a hassle because the dress is a ballgown style, so big and poofy.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2018, 01:18:37 PM »
First let me say that my 1100 was what my dress was marked in the store. They were having an off-season promotional sale where you got a tiara (normally ~$30-50 not anywhere near 150) if you bought a dress and I negotiated a tiara and a veil by paying same-day cash, rather than using their installment plan (yes people buy wedding dresses on credit!). So I would not say it was an $850 dress because I also got a veil. Like Bracken_Joy, I got a really good deal.

But ok, I take the point that I am probably still asking too much and that's why it hasn't sold, though these past few months have been the slow season for wedding dresses (people get married in the spring/summer, many people get engaged at Christmas, etc) and I do need a specific buyer (ie size range and taste), so it might take longer than other Craigslist items. I guess I don't want to ask for 600 and have people offering me 300 because at that price I'd probably give it away to someone that needed it.

For this reason, I do think it is probably somewhat different than a toolbox or fishing equipment. I have also had many people buy Craigslist items from me for more than I paid but that's another story...

Ooeei, no alterations are NOT included when you buy a dress. One shop told me their alterations started at $500! Needless to say, I went to an independent seamstress for mine :) I am of course not including these in my 1100 price. Anyone who buys the dress from me will also have to get it altered.

Hmm...maybe I'll donate it to a charity auction or something. I did look at OnceWed but shipping would be a hassle because the dress is a ballgown style, so big and poofy.

Still try once wed- they have an advertise locally option. I did NOT ship mine, she came to me. I don't live in a big metro area either.

(I also very much "lucked out" on trend though- I picked this dress up when a trend was just starting, so when it was time to sell it, it was really catching on on all the wedding websites/pinterest/etc. That, and the designer label, probably helped substantially. The lady drove like 3 hours to come try it on and then buy it)

fuzzy math

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2018, 01:32:45 PM »
People are weird about used wedding dresses (and rings etc). They're 'bad luck', only people who divorce sell theirs etc and a lot of people want to avoid any potential of having karma cast a weird light on their marriage. They're only that expensive because its what people are willing to pay. On the used market people are willing to pay much less.

You acknowledged that your price was too high then justified it due to the price of the veil not being included initially, the cleaning cost etc. You're still engaging in the sunken cost fallacy. Any money you get out of it is a net win. You might not have known back when you had it cleaned (because everyone has to) that you were eventually going to sell it.

I would keep it simple. Do not "throw in extras for $25-50", just list the entire package price as is, or sell the smaller items separately on eBay. Some people don't want a tiara, or have a specific style of veil in mind. If your size is difficult to sell to begin with that's something you need to take into account. Also keep in mind that many bridal shops will not allow you to visit their seamstress with a used dress. So whomever buys it is going to have to find a separate person. That convenience and guarantee by a major named shop are some of the reasons people buy new and pay the premium.

My sister and a good friend both had designer gowns (Maggie Sottero), retailing for about $1100, and I believe neither of them were able to sell their used dresses for more than $3-400. As mentioned by another poster, people looking for used gowns have a max price and you're about twice that.

slappy

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2018, 01:38:24 PM »
First let me say that my 1100 was what my dress was marked in the store. They were having an off-season promotional sale where you got a tiara (normally ~$30-50 not anywhere near 150) if you bought a dress and I negotiated a tiara and a veil by paying same-day cash, rather than using their installment plan (yes people buy wedding dresses on credit!). So I would not say it was an $850 dress because I also got a veil. Like Bracken_Joy, I got a really good deal.

But ok, I take the point that I am probably still asking too much and that's why it hasn't sold, though these past few months have been the slow season for wedding dresses (people get married in the spring/summer, many people get engaged at Christmas, etc) and I do need a specific buyer (ie size range and taste), so it might take longer than other Craigslist items. I guess I don't want to ask for 600 and have people offering me 300 because at that price I'd probably give it away to someone that needed it.

For this reason, I do think it is probably somewhat different than a toolbox or fishing equipment. I have also had many people buy Craigslist items from me for more than I paid but that's another story...

Ooeei, no alterations are NOT included when you buy a dress. One shop told me their alterations started at $500! Needless to say, I went to an independent seamstress for mine :) I am of course not including these in my 1100 price. Anyone who buys the dress from me will also have to get it altered.

Hmm...maybe I'll donate it to a charity auction or something. I did look at OnceWed but shipping would be a hassle because the dress is a ballgown style, so big and poofy.

Selling wedding dresses is so hard. If you want to donate, I believe there is an organization that accepts dresses specifically for military brides. There are also places that will take the dress and use the material to make dresses for babies who are still born or who pass away in the hospital. It hurts my heart to even type that. :(  https://www.nicuhelpinghands.org/programs/angel-gown-program/

robartsd

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2018, 01:43:54 PM »
First let me say that my 1100 was what my dress was marked in the store. They were having an off-season promotional sale where you got a tiara (normally ~$30-50 not anywhere near 150) if you bought a dress and I negotiated a tiara and a veil by paying same-day cash, rather than using their installment plan (yes people buy wedding dresses on credit!). So I would not say it was an $850 dress because I also got a veil. Like Bracken_Joy, I got a really good deal.
Bottom line is that a retail store with full support was willing to give that to a good negotiator paying cash. You are also selling to good negotiators paying cash, they can basically get what you're offering + full retail support for $100 more.

many people get engaged at Christmas, etc.
And Valentines day is just arround the corner. I think $600 might be reasonable if you're willing to wait for it. $400 could probably move fairly soon, $300 if you want it to move fast.

MayDay

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2018, 01:44:26 PM »
Reading the OP, my thought was you might get 300$ for it. MIGHT.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2018, 01:47:00 PM »
I donated my wedding dress to a charity specifically collecting them and prom dresses for low income people in a specific program.

There just isn't a lot of value to a wedding dress after it is worn.  The tax write off was probably better than the sale could have been.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2018, 02:25:14 PM »
Yeah, I think you are asking too much.  We bought DW's wedding dress from a consignment store, and it was like $50, albeit for a tea length not super complicated dress.

I still haven't sold my wedding dress and should have donated it before year end last year.  Oops!  I would have happily taken a $50 tax write off over the hassle of selling it.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 02:32:49 PM »
I sold mine on preownedweddingdresses.com for half of what I paid (paid $520 for it; originally it was $600; sold for $250). Cleaned it in the bathtub (it was polyester) with Oxyclean and a toothbrush so that I wouldn't have to pay for dry cleaning. Hung it to dry in front of a box fan. Got a coupon for the listing and paid $15 to list it. Paid shipping--just folded it carefully in tissue paper and put it in a flat rate box. I think I paid $20 for shipping. Listed it with many pictures and a very detailed description of my measurements and the alterations I had done. It sold within a week. It was a popular style and I only waited three weeks after the wedding to sell it.

It was a JCrew gown. David's Bridal and other "generic" gowns work for you when you want to sell--everybody has access to these dresses and knows exactly what they want, how much it costs, and many have actually tried the dress on in person and are now looking for make/model/size used to save money.

Boutique gowns that are unusual are a strike against you. Nobody's heard of it; nobody's typing it into a search engine. With the used market, people aren't shopping the way they are on "Say Yes to the Dress".

I second what everyone else has said: your pricing is unrealistic. Alter your mindset: anything you get for the dress is gravy. You're trying to get it out of the house, not recoup a bunch of the purchase price. A wedding dress is an annoying albatross, as far as I'm concerned. It was just going to take up space in my closet and remind me of how skinny I'll never be again.

TL;DR: Lower your price. List on specific wedding dress sites. Stop thinking of selling your wedding dress as a way to recoup your costs but instead as a way to get rid of clutter. Try as much as possible to be unsentimental about it.

woopwoop

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2018, 03:29:38 PM »
I sold mine on preownedweddingdresses.com
That's where I bought mine! Mine was 90% off retail price, btw, just as an example - for something that's going to need to be cleaned or pressed, let alone altered, it doesn't make sense for anything close to what you paid for it.

Make sure your best photo is the one that shows up in the searches.

Include a line about your marriage still being great, etc. With such a sentimental item, people will be wary of dresses with "negative vibes" or whatever. I didn't care but a lot of people will.

marty998

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2018, 02:23:38 AM »
My mum supposably turned her wedding dress into a Christening gown for her kids.

Obviously it then couldn't be used for another wedding, but it could get passed around from baby to baby within the extended family.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2018, 05:30:01 PM »
My daughter's wedding dress is a sample - a company buys all the samples from bridal stores and has big sale dates at hotels in major cities.  Her gown would retail for $2200, she paid $600 for a dress in perfect condition, only worn when being tried on.  Your price is too high.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2018, 06:23:39 PM »
My mum supposably turned her wedding dress into a Christening gown for her kids.

Obviously it then couldn't be used for another wedding, but it could get passed around from baby to baby within the extended family.

I've heard this before, I've also known a few people to make throw pillows.

Dicey

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2018, 06:24:41 PM »
My mum supposably turned her wedding dress into a Christening gown for her kids.

Obviously it then couldn't be used for another wedding, but it could get passed around from baby to baby within the extended family.
My grandmother did exactly that. Her children wore it, her grandchildren (including this one) wore it. I have it now, but gosh darn it, I forgot to have kids! Dunno what I'm going to do with it.

I was engaged once, and there was a big wedding planned. I bought a sample dress for $300. I chose one made of silk, with a fairly plain skirt, so I could get large swaths of fabric to work with. My plan was to make a new christening dress and incorporate some of my grandmother's dress-cum-christening gown. I called off the wedding (with no regrets), so the dress is in a box in my garage. When I got married for reals many years later, we eloped (highly recommended) wearing stuff we pulled from our closets the night before.

Nice idea, but it just never happened.

slappy

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Re: Help me sell my wedding dress
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2018, 11:43:51 AM »
My mum supposably turned her wedding dress into a Christening gown for her kids.

Obviously it then couldn't be used for another wedding, but it could get passed around from baby to baby within the extended family.

I've heard this before, I've also known a few people to make throw pillows.

Iíve heard if Christmas tree skirts too.