Cleaning out closets, turning out profits

Sophomore Ella Buchart prepares to photograph outgoing clothing for her Instagram account. — Ella Buchart

Along with spring comes the annual cleaning out of houses, bedrooms, and now closets. Due to all of the Island’s thrift and consignment stores being temporarily closed, students have found a new way to provide their clothing with a new home. Now, Instagram and Snapchat have become the new hots pots to find a new summer dress or lightly used sunglasses.

Here is how it works. Students make a social media account for selling clothing, shoes, and everything else. These accounts have pictures of the items, as well as prices. Prices range from $5 or less for smaller items, like bathing suit tops and T shirts, to $35 and up for larger items like jackets and shoes. When someone sees something they want to buy on an account, they direct-message (DM) the account owner to coordinate a delivery to the buyer’s home. The main form of payment is through Venmo, but some students leave cash outside the home when their item is delivered or picked up.

Junior Micheala Benefit started her Instagram account @mvclothessale about two weeks ago. “I think it’s better [to sell used clothes] instead of buying new ones, because you recycle [the used clothes],” she said.

Michaela sells her clothing to friends through a private Snapchat story as well. Along with bathing suits, T shirts, and dresses, she sells handmade jewelry on the account, made by her cousin, junior Emily Weyl.

Junior Maria Clara Lacerda started the Instagram account @mv.closet.cleanout with juniors Ruby and Klara Reimann, Chloe Combra, Kate Howell, Josey Sylva, and Hannah Best about a month ago. The account sells clothing and jewelry. Each person is responsible for the sale and delivery of their respective articles, although deliveries are sometimes coordinated with one another.

Maria Clara and her friends had many reasons for starting an account. Along with a means of getting extra cash, she said, “When we’re bored, we get to take pictures of ourselves, and it’s really fun.” The group’s primary reason, however, was the environmental benefits. “It’s sustainable and good for the environment to not throw stuff away,” she said.

Freshman Isabelle Ribeiro started selling clothes in early May. She shares her account with freshmen Cali Giglio and Josephine Merry. Isabelle thinks that selling used clothes on Instagram has several benefits. “You can get a little bit of money, which is always good,” she said. “I also think it’s a lot better [to buy used clothes], because you don’t have to spend the full price on something that maybe normally costs $60.”

Sophomore Ella Buchert said she was “ a little late to the trend” when she started her Instagram account @BEEKSboutiquemv in mid-May. She has friends — sophomores Ella Clarke and Ben Yancey, junior Kya Seiman, and senior Simone Davis — who help run the account as well, which sells mainly clothing, but also accessories such as sunglasses. For financial transactions, the team use cash and PayPal.

Ella said, “It’s good selling locally because it feels more trustworthy. Also it is eco-friendly, since a lot of fast fashion has been growing popular recently. It’s a great idea that no clothes are just wasted and thrown out,” she said.

As for why closet cleanout accounts have become a trend, Ella thinks it’s because of their profitability. “It’s been hard to work since corona hit, so everyone is scrambling to make some extra money before summer,” she said.