Beyond eBay – Buying & Selling Vintage

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I’m pretty sure we’ve all bought or sold something on eBay at sometime or other.

For a long time it’s been the biggest and easiest place to buy and sell vintage clothing or antiques. However, rising costs and lowered quality has led people to lose a bit of patience with the behemoth that is eBay recently, so today I thought I’d share a few other venues for shopping and selling that I’ve come across.


You’ve probably heard of Etsy, most people have by now, but it wouldn’t be a complete list without it! Etsy specialises in handmade and vintage items. It used to be largely US based, but more and more UK sellers and buyers are on there, and you can now convert prices to £.

1950s dress £81.50 on Etsy

1950s dress £81.50 on Etsy

Buying on Etsy – As a vintage buyer Etsy is pretty good. It’s easy to search for what you want, and the quality is generally pretty good  without lots of high street “vintage style” to wade through. The downside as a buyer is that bargains are rare as Etsy sellers set their own price with no auction format, and lower fees than eBay mean they’re willing to wait for the right buyer.

Selling on Etsy – Selling on Etsy is pretty easy, the listing form is uncomplicated and setting up a shop is easy (you can set up a shop here). You don’t have to be a professional seller to set up an Etsy shop, but you can only sell handmade goods, vintage or craft supplies. There are no monthly fees and it costs just 20 cents to list an item for 4 months, then a 3.5% fee when it sells.

Ruby Lane

Ruby Lane have been a long time advertiser of mine and are a virtual antique market like those ones I love trawling around at weekends. They’re made up of lots of individual professional sellers, with good quality products.

1950s Anne Fogarty Dress $225 or Make an Offer on Ruby Lane

1950s Anne Fogarty Dress $225 or Make an Offer on Ruby Lane

Buying on Ruby Lane – Ruby Lane is divided into “Lanes” you can browse to buy vintage fashion, vintage collectables, antiques, jewellery etc etc. You can browse each lane on it’s own and look at what’s new each day or week, or you can use the search function to search for specific items. It’s quite heavily US based, and each seller sets their own payment methods, much like eBay, though they are obliged to offer an online payment method and I think it would be unsual to find one not offering Paypal. As a buyer, I would say Ruby Lane is a place to look for quality and rare items rather than a bargain and all sellers are vetted before being approved. There is no auction format, but you can “Make an Offer” on some items.

Selling on Ruby Lane – As a seller Ruby Lane is one for the dedicated and professional trader. They genuinely appear to spend their shop fees on excellent promotion for the site as a quality place to shop, but in return you are asked to keep a minimum of 10 items in your shop each month and quality is strictly vetted. It costs $15 to set up a shop, and there is a $30 maintenance fee, plus 30 cents a month per item listed. You can add the option for buyers to “Make an Offer” on an item if you want.

ASOS Marketplace

ASOS Marketplace have been around a while, I have friends who run small independent boutiques and have found it excellent to sell through. I’ve also had a few emails from them in the past and am considering setting one up to clear my groaning wardrobe without the stress of eBay.

1950s Pink Silk Dress £275 on ASOS Marketplace

1950s Pink Silk Dress £275 on ASOS Marketplace

Buying on ASOS Marketplace – You can shop on ASOS Marketplace much like you would on ASOS, though they don’t take ASOS gift vouchers. There are sections for dresses, jumpsuits, trousers, you get the idea. You’ll find a lot of modern items on ASOS Marketplace, but there is also a dedicated area that focuses on Vintage, though it’s quite a loose definition and you should expect mostly 80s and 90s vintage, rather than 50s frocks. This is better if you are looking for vintage style, rather than original 1930s-70s vintage

Selling on ASOS Marketplace – If you are a boutique seller you have to apply for a space. Once approved it costs £20 a month and 20% commission on each sale. You get a custom store front, unlimited listings and a dedicated account manager, but you must commit to keeping a minimum of 15 items in your boutique at all times. If you’re an individual just looking to clear some wardrobe space then it’s free to list up to 100 items, and you only pay a 5% commission on sales, which is excellent. I believe it’s a fairly busy site with a lot of traffic, which makes the individual costs good as a free listing can sit there for as long as you want!


Preloved has been around since 1998. It’s a bit like a polished online small ads site and it’s free for individuals.

1950s Strapless Dress £75 on Preloved

1950s Strapless Dress £75 on Preloved

Buying on Preloved – This is not a site with a fashion focus, you can buy anything here from vintage frocks to holidays to cars, and even browse personal ads. It’s best to think of it as the small ads in the back of the paper. You might find something amazing. You can browse buy category or search for specifics and all “ads” have a large photo. It can be difficult to narrow down choices in the search, and you can’t just buy online, you need to contact each advertiser for more information. It’s worth an occasional peek, as you never know what people are trying to get rid of.

Selling on Preloved – As an individual it’s completely free to place ads on Preloved and there’s no commission after a sale either. The other side of this is there is no support if a transaction goes wrong at all. These are free ads and basically it’s just a way of getting you in touch with people who might want your stuff, after that it’s up to you! I’m not sure how busy it is, but with a free listing it’s not such an issue.


7 Responses
  • Ali
    November 20, 2013

    eBay has become too commercial for me. It’s so rare to find an auction on there and items are listed as a string of keywords, often unrelated to the product and stuffed in just to get as many hits as possible. Bargains are rare as there are far fewer individuals selling on there than shops. I really like the sound of some of the sites you’ve listed, especially Ruby Lane – in my head I’m wandering around a snowy lane at Christmas with white fairy lights and boutiques full of gorgeous things… (too much imagination I think!)

  • Vicky
    November 20, 2013

    I have given up on eBay especially with the rising postage costs! I closed my shop over a year ago and rarely sell anything on there anymore, the fees were getting ridiculous and since they removed the ability for a seller to leave a buyer negative feedback I have been held hostage over transactions from buyers and eBay have done nothing. I had no idea it was so easy to sell on Etsy and is definitely something I will look in to the new year

  • Sarah
    November 20, 2013

    I’ve given up on ebay as well, I was so fed up with buyers not paying and then ebay started taking a percentage of the postage costs which I thought a bit cheeky so I switched to asos marketplace. So far it has been great, with a few of my items selling within hours of the listing going up.

  • Hazel
    November 20, 2013

    Have often wondered about Etsy, you’ve made things a bit clearer. Thanks