Thursday, August 14, 2014

Opening an Instagram Resale Shop

When you're buying for two at a time, clothes add up (both price and amount) quickly.  Since Michael and I are 94.7% sure we're done having kids (that percentage changes all of the time but has yet to dip below 90), I opened an Instagram shop last year so I could sell Jude & Sloane's clothes: @judeandsloanescloset. (Amber has one too: @shopmasseya)

Selling clothes on Instagram has become quite popular and for good reason: It's simple and profitable for the seller and gives the buyer the ability to shop from the comfort of their own home.  Or office.  Or wherever they might be when the sale takes place.  I've had several friends ask for Instagram shop tips so I'm going to share what has worked for me.  My hope is it'll convince you to dig through your overflowing closets and open a shop as well (after letting me know, of course - I will be your first follower)!


1. Once you come up with a name/password, edit your profile and include basic information (Mine says: Shipping is included. First PayPal email wins. Must pay within 24 hours. US only. All sales are final.) 

2. Create a Welcome post so your buyers know who you are.  Give a bit of background information on yourself and your kids.  It's all about trust when people are purchasing items from a stranger - let them see the faces behind the clothes!

3. Create a Shop Policies post that includes all of your requirements.  Give it its own hashtag so you can refer to it before every sale.  My shop policies: Thank you for following @judeandsloanescloset! A few items to discuss before the sale begins: Shipping is included in the price. | Payment is required within 24 hours of invoice receipt. | You must have a PayPal email address - US residents only. | I'm going to list ALL items before answering questions. If you want an item but have a question, include your email address in the comment (first email address wins). | "Share for $1 off" promotion ends before the sale begins! | I will offer a shipping discount if multiple items are purchased. | I think that's it! Thanks everyone! 

4. Introduce your shop on your personal IG account.  Ask your friends to do the same.  


1. Consider the season.  If it's August, it's probably not a good time to sell swimsuits and tank tops.  Instead, post all fall and winter clothing.  Save the spring/summer clothing for a March or April sale.

2  Price items to sell.  If you price a child's Target top at $15, it's going to sit on your IG feed forever and snickers will be heard around the world.  I typically sell clothes for at least 50% off what I paid for them and that is only if they are in mint condition.

3.  Include shipping in the price.  I did a blog sale once and had all sorts of rules for shipping/number of items.  It was such a headache.  Assume shipping is going to cost around $2.50 for each item. 

4. Spend time taking pictures of the items.  Use a room that offers good lighting and a backdrop that doesn't take away from the item (I use white posterboard unless the item is too big or is light colored).  Make sure the entire item is included in the picture (if you have an iPhone, switch it to take square pictures so you don't have to crop later).  DO NOT use filters.

5.  If there is a spot, hole, stain, ANYTHING on the item, you need to mention it and include a separate "detail picture."

6. Include brand, color (sometimes pictures are deceptive), size, and price in your description.  Make sure you say "$9 shipped" if shipping is included.

7.  Before you start your sale, have all of the item descriptions ready to go so you can simply copy/paste in Instagram.  I keep the descriptions in my iPhone notes.  Your buyers' time is precious - do not make them wait 15 minutes between items.

8. Promote your sale/shop on your personal IG a day or two before the sale.  Offer a small discount ($1-2) if people re-post your sale.  I typically post a small collage of items I will be selling (I use InstaCollage and Typic apps on my phone to create these images).


1. Give a 30-minute warning post that reminds people to read your shop policies (include the Shop Policies hashtag) and let them know you will not be answering questions until the sale is over.

2.  Have an order to your pictures.  For example, if you are selling boys/girls clothing, list all girls clothing before moving to boys (or vice-versa).  Start with small sizes and work up to larger sizes.  Typically I post Jude's clothes first (smallest to largest) and then move to Sloane's clothes (smallest to largest). I've also seen some adorable shops that pair b/g items together and sell them as a packaged deal. 

3. Post, post, post!  Have something to drink nearby! :) I always have my sales at night when the kids are asleep.  This gives most moms a chance to see your sale.


1.  Like anything else, there is Instagram Sale etiquette.  If someone leaves their paypal address but asks a question, it should be their item unless they opt to pass.  It is also their responsibility to confirm quickly - you are not required to wait a month before moving on to the next person.

2.  Always include an end post so buyers know the sale is over and that you will now be answering questions.  It's also helpful to mention if the buyer's profile is private they will not receive an alert that you responded (even if you tag them).  It is their responsibility to go back and look at the post.

3.  Answer any questions and tag the person who won the item to let them know the item is theirs. 

4. Create a hashtag for all unsold items (e.g., #judesclosetstillavailable) and tag remaining items so buyers don't have to scroll through dozens of pictures.  Post a picture and include the hashtag(s) so buyers can click on it and immediately see all that's left.  

5. If you are desperate to get rid of everything, immediately offer a discount for remaining items or allow buyers to make you an offer.  Otherwise, wait a few days before lowering prices.


1.  PayPal makes invoicing so simple.  They do take a $0.30 + 2.9% sale fee for each invoice so keep that in mind when pricing your item (FYI: If you plan to sell something for $4 shipped, you've made approximately zero cents after PayPal fees and shipping).

2.  Offer a shipping bundle discount.  One item costs $2.50 to ship.  Three items DO NOT cost $7.50 to ship.  If someone purchases multiple items, deduct a certain amount off of the invoice (e.g., $1 off each additional item purchased, etc.).  

3. When creating the invoice, give a detailed description of the item so the buyer knows exactly what they are purchasing (it's a good check for both of you).  Send the invoice within 24-hours of the sale ending.

4. I ask that all invoices are paid within 24 hours but I usually give the buyer 48 hours and one reminder email.  After that, I cancel the invoice.  If someone else was interested in the item I send them an invoice, otherwise I repost the item.  Many shop owners have a zero tolerance rule and will block those who do not pay.  I like to give everyone a certain amount of grace but if I notice a non-paying pattern (which I haven't), I will block the user.


1. I ship all of my items in poly mailer envelopes, which are so cheap on Amazon and weigh nothing. My goal is to have all items shipped within 48 hours of payment (I also try to keep the number of post office trips to a minimum).  

2. I do not include tracking on items (keeps costs down) but I always put my return address on the package.

3. Once the item has shipped, remove it from your IG shop!


1. Once you've completed your sale, ask for Feedback.  Keep this post yon your IG sale page so others can read about the quality of your clothing and the timeliness of your shipping.  

Good luck!!


If you haven't noticed, I try to go above and beyond to make the shopping experience as enjoyable as possible. Several of the tips above are not required, but I've had such positive feedback that I will continue putting forth the extra effort to make it fun for everyone.

Do you have your own IG shop?  If so, what tips do you have?  Leave a comment with your shop name so we can follow you! (Ps.  I'm having a sale next week!  I'd love to sell you some quality b/g toddler clothes!  @judeandsloanescloset)

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  1. GREAT tips!!
    Lots to learn and consider!

  2. I have been selling on Instagram for a few months and the hardest part for me has been building up followers. Slowly but surely I am getting there, but it is so frustrating to see my items just sit there at @bonmarchecloset, get a few likes and then ... nothing. So I am working on some new strategies and staying with it. Thanks for posting this play-by-play - I wish I had read it before I got started! This is great information for anyone who wants to give it a shot.

  3. Great tips! I just opened a shop @ taylor_your_closet. I'm looking for strategies to build followers

  4. I've only been open for a week and your tips are great! My shop is @mod.posh

  5. Just opened today and adding items but plan on doing a flash sale as well, my shop is @littletykescloset3

  6. Great advice, thanks for taking the time to post this. I'm in the beginning stages of opening a shop but one thing I'm struggling with is whether to use my existing account or create a new one. Sometimes I post photos of my kids or new outfits I'm wearing, that has nothing to do with the clothes I'm selling. I have built up some followers and don't really want to start over. What did you do? @shopprimoscloset

  7. This is so helpful! I have been really intrigued by Insta shops and I LOVE reselling my clothes so thank you for sharing! I actually linked to your site on a recent post on my blog if you're interested!

  8. Not sure this is a question to ask, but were they any state or federal requirements you had to go through first? Such as an online business license or tax id? I live in California, so business things can get tricky

  9. Not sure this is a question to ask, but were they any state or federal requirements you had to go through first? Such as an online business license or tax id? I live in California, so business things can get tricky