Dance costumes are treasured possessions beyond their monetary value. However, there comes a time to pass the dress (or vest) onto someone else who will cherish it and hopefully allow us to afford the next one! Although I’m pretty certain no one ever made money from selling a used costume, here’s how to get the greatest return on your investment!
The styles change rapidly, and if you wait too long the dress will be passed over in favor of newer styles. The best time to sell a costume is within a year of its creation, while the style is still new. Some will list their old dress for sale before the new one is made/purchased just to get it on the market as soon as possible.
You’ll want to take the time to measure the dress properly and take quality photos. These will make a great impression for online buyers. The measurements should be taken while the dress is worn, rather than flat or hanging. Try to take at least one high quality photo of the dancer in the dress with the other costume accessories, and a simple background. This is the way the dress was intended to look and visually appealing. You do not want anything to detract from the appearance of the dress like dim lighting or a messy kitchen. Additionally, take photos of the costume flat: front, back, underside, and close-ups of any special details or signs of damage.
This is probably the most difficult part of selling a dress. Our dresses are meaningful to us, but others who do not have an emotional connection see a dress for its objective worth. There are so many dresses on the market that you don’t want a buyer to pass on yours because they think it’s overpriced. The value will only decrease the longer it stays on the market, so it’s to your advantage to price the dress fairly from the beginning and consider all offers. It helps to look at other dresses for sale through dance-again.com, the largest Irish Dance dress resale site. A good comparison would be a dress similar in size, age, style, condition, and even dressmaker. Your TCRG may have a pretty good price estimate for you too.
Get the dress exposure! Irish dancing is global and there are several websites devoted to the resale of Irish dance costumes. They charge a small percentage of the price to list your dress. You might want to see if the designer will advertise on their website–it’s an example of their fine work! Use your own social media too. Feises are a popular place for dancers to try on available dresses. Prepare a typed, noticeable flyer with your best photo of the dress and all other details. The flyer should be posted with the dress at feises and at your dance school. Advertise everywhere to maximize its chances for resale!
Photo credit: Cara Sutherland
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