Pop-up retail initiative My Ex Wardrobe is helping the city’s spendthrifts sell unwanted clothes. Jenny Hewett road tests the service.
Clothes hoarding is a vice that some have down to a fine art, but it can wreak havoc on your wardrobe and severely diminish your style cred.
As most lovers of fashion know, there comes that time in every season when you have to let go of the once prized threads that are no longer doing it for you. It can take you weeks, months, sometimes years to realise that you had lost interest in a piece long ago, but were holding onto it for sentimental or monetary reasons. While many of us are quick to donate our old things to charity, there is another option for those looking to make back a quick dirham on expensive unwanted items.
Dubai-based pop-up retail initiative My Ex Wardrobe offers a platform for people to buy and sell pre-loved items at a discounted rate. Run by British-born sisters Sian and Teagan Rowlands, the pop-up label holds events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi every month and will sell your clothes for a fee. ‘We cater to all sorts of sellers, but one thing they all have in common is they are all fashionable,’ says Sian.
After notifying the team of our interest to sell, we were sent an easy-to-follow excel spreadsheet to provide a detailed list of the items we were parting with. There is an admin fee that varies depending on whether you are selling up to 20 or 40 pieces and My Ex Wardrobe take 25 percent commission on whatever you make over Dhs500. We wonder if our clothes, which are on the petite side, will appeal to their audience. ‘Mostly we sell the middle-range sizes, from UK 8 to 14, and occasionally we have one or two larger or smaller sellers and when that happens we try and contact the buyers who we know are looking for those sizes,’ says Sian.
‘We have lots of regular customers that we see at every event so it’s great to be able to keep an eye out for special things we know they want. It’s the same with shoe sizes as well, for example one lady has pretty much guaranteed she will buy any size 37 Louboutins we get in,’ she says.
And so begins the task of sorting our wardrobe and deciding how much we should sell each piece for. My Ex Wardrobe suggests pricing items at 45 percent less than what you paid if it’s well-loved and 25 percent less if it’s never been worn, but we decide to slash them further to make more sales. We leave no corner of our closet unturned and list everything: from heels to hats to designer dresses, to cheap chain-store buys that are still in good condition. Overall the process takes about two hours over a couple of nights, but if you consider the effort you would need to make to organise a stall at a market, it’s no big deal. We throw our pre-loved items into a plastic bags and arrange pick-up from My Ex Wardrobe for an extra Dhs50 fee (you can also deliver items to their warehouses in various locations at no cost). The pick-up time is pushed back a couple of times, but our items are eventually taken away to be tagged and prepared for the event.
The event itself is all done very professionally. Clothes are displayed on racks with price tags and there are changing rooms and a cash register for any purchases. We spy everything from pricy Jimmy Choo courts to Dhs50 bags. Four days after the event, as promised, we are sent an email informing us that we had sold 12 items and made over Dhs1,100 with the commission deducted. Not too bad a result after listing 40 items. The option is there to then have your clothes returned or donated to charity after the event and 14 days later we receive our cash in-hand and the delivery of the clothes to our office. Delivery is again charged at an extra Dhs50. The delivery and pick-up service needs a little fine-tuning, but otherwise it’s an easy and stream-lined process and really worth it if your clothes are of good quality. We suggest pooling together with friends and splitting the admin fee.
Dhs150 admin fee for 20 pieces; Dhs250 for 40 pieces; Dhs100 to have My Ex Wardrobe price the clothes and fill out the form. www.myexwardrobe.com
Where to sell your stuff
Dubai Flea Market
Sell everything from old electronics and DVDS to clothes, shoes and art here.
Accepts pre-loved furniture, jewellery and more, plus they give you a portion of what they sell it for.
Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Quoz, www.cashconverters.ae (04 379 1112).
Want to sell your phone, car or boat? This website is a treasure trove for all types of second-hand goods.
What we sold
2 x pairs of heels
1 x blazer
1 x bracelet
1 x bag
5 x dress
1 x sunglasses
1 x top