Saturday, 7 July 2012

Buying Vintage Online

Do you know I've gone right off buying vintage online? I feel like I've had such a bad run of purchases that I'm sticking to buying in person at the moment. I used to buy off eBay quite a lot - my tweedy winter coat (although this being England, I'm still wearing it in July occasionally) I love, was in excellent condition and is a perfect fit. I also own quite a few vintage dresses from eBay, as well as vintage home wares that I've had no problems with. I once bought a wondrous purple vintage cape with a big hood online that I love to pieces, so I have had some successes. It's just that lately I can't be bothered with it at all - I've had things listed as "very good condition" that arrived stained and frayed. I've bought dresses which had stains and patches that the seller didn't bother to mention. I've had a dispute with a seller whose photos were very misleading and whose books turned up smelling of cigarette smoke and refused to refund (eBay sorted this and even paid my postage but it was this fiasco that really put me off - I'd had no trouble returning before).

I've also had a dress described as 'Very good condition' turn up and as soon as I pulled it out of the mailbag I could see it was damaged - there was a whole host of things wrong with it including holes at seams, the lining of the skirt being cut out (badly) and staining. Fair enough I got a refund and the seller was pleasant - claiming she 'hadn't noticed'. It did make me think though - I noticed the damage even before fully unpacking the item, so how had they missed it? Especially as this was her full-time job and she was supposed to be actually looking for flaws.

I'm also sick of things being dated wrongly (if it's polyester with an elasticated waist it isn't 1950s) and having to wade through all the repro items to find the genuine vintage. It's also a bit insulting because you feel like the sellers think they can get away with it and that you won't notice the damage or the fact that it's from a different era than advertised. Gah!

Now I know not all online sellers are misleading (or just plain mean), I know most are great, but I just feel a bit jinxed with it all at the moment. As someone who has sold on eBay before, it really riles me that some of people doing this for a living don't seem to be putting much effort in. I think this is why I keep putting off selling on eBay/Etsy when I have a whole room of stuff to sell. I've sold before and gone over each item with a fine toothed comb looking for flaws, spent ages writing a description, packed items well and sent them promptly and left feedback and then waited nervously for my feedback to arrive. I've sold items where I've gone out of my way for a buyer and they've not even left feedback, so I worry I've done something wrong. I probably shouldn't take it to heart but I do. I stress out so much over every little thing that I don't really enjoy it that much - which is the whole point.

I do want to start doing stalls - you're selling direct to the buyer, they can see the item in person and look it over properly and you're both happy with the price. I've had a stall before, but working weekends makes it difficult for me to do it regularly, so it petered out.

I used to spend hours on eBay, but now I hardly bother - I know what I'm getting when I buy in person and I know how it fits too. Maybe I just need to get over it and buy something that breaks the run, but I can't bring myself to do it at the moment. Most of the stuff I like on eBay tends to escalate way out of my price range anyway.

I know I've read a blog post where the author recommended the best online sellers in their experience but I can't remember where. I know Penny Dreadful Vintage was on it as was Tuppence Ha'Penny Vintage. I've bought from Tuppence Ha'Penny before and everything was great so I can recommend her myself.

The purple cape I bought was from Martha's Closet, years ago, who were fab too.

Most of the people I've bought vintage from on eBay have been selling one-off items rather than doing it full time I think, so there's not many sellers I can recommend.

What do you think? Do you get good and bad patches too? Can you recommend any brilliant sellers?

Maybe I'll set up a separate page on the blog for recommended sellers, I was going to do one for Vintage Shops in Liverpool too - what do you reckon?

Nikki x

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