How to Buy Lingerie from eBay, Part 1: Major Luxury Brands to Shop
Thank you for the great comments on last week's ebay how-to, Common Misconceptions about Buying Lingerie on Ebay. :) This week, I'll take you through some of my personal experiences with ebay when it comes to brands and sellers, and show how you can use these insights to spend your time and money better when shopping on ebay for lingerie.
I've broken each brand's profile down into volume (# of listings), how frequently new and unsold items are listed, and what kind of deals you can expect from both personal and professional sellers.
As I discussed last week, personal sellers are usually regular people who bought something, and for whatever reason (didn't like it, the item didn't fit, they couldn't return it, they needed money, etc), they decided to sell it on ebay. Personal sellers may be very experienced and professioanl, but I'm making this distinction by whether or not they make their livelihood by selling things on ebay.
Professional sellers do just that. Some pretend to be personal sellers, some don't, but you can usually tell by the number next to their name (over 250 is a safe bet). Return policies tend to be better with professional sellers, and deals tend to be worse. See below for a breakdown of how personal and professional sellers vary by brand. We'll talk more about how you can use this to your advantage next week.
So without further ado, here is Part 1 of a breakdown of some of my favorite brands to use in the roundup posts, and what volume and styles of sale I've seen from them. Enjoy!
Volume: Extremely high– 5,000+ listings, often closer to 6- or 7,000 (Item Location settings on Worldwide).
New items added, not just re-listed: High, between 10-40 truly new listings per day, more on Sundays.
Items re-listed: Also high, maybe 60%. Still a very high proportion of sold items though.
Deal profile, professional sellers: Many professional sellers keep prices on sold-out items pretty high, but there are somewhat frequent periods where bidding on older sale items will start at $1 or so (though shipping is always high for these listings). Also, a fair amount of what's on offer during sales like these are less in-demand sizes (A cups, E & F cups, XS or XL bottoms) so it limits the field a bit.
Deal profile, personal sellers: There are great scores to be had here. People unfamiliar with the particulars of Agent Provocateur's return policy (...we've all been there) often seem to turn to ebay. Some sellers don't want to spend the time to research the name of the style of what they're selling, which limits the number of people who see the listing, since many buyers used saved searches in the face of the sheer number of AP listings, and re-listings. However, this means that these listings (of items ranging from a Gloria bra to a Machina bodysuit) usually go for ridiculously cheap. Keep an eye out for them if you have the time to.
On the other hand, a fair amount of sellers try to make as much of their money back as possible, (only 20-40% off current season for example), but there are plenty of personal sellers who just list something for $30 and sit back to see what happens. AP personal sellers are easily the source of the best deals I've gotten on ebay (...hello Demelza and Annoushka sets). They are awesome, and it's very worth following their ebay store if you find a nice one who wears your size.
NOTES: For Soiree, there are far fewer new listings from non-professional sellers, and a higher proportion of re-lists. People do buy Soiree off ebay, but honestly the deals are never amazing.
LA PERLA (including Maison, Studio, Black Label, Malizia, etc...):
Volume: Extremely high– 5,000+ listings (Item Location settings on Worldwide).
New items added, not just re-listed: Low to medium. Usually around 10-15 totally new listings.
Items re-listed: Very often, easily the majority.
Deal profile, professional sellers: Professional sellers definitely make up the bulk of La Perla listings, unlike Agent Provocateur where it's more even. Prices from these sellers tend to stay around the original La Perla sale prices (which are pretty high to begin with, usually only 40-60% off). Some professionals are lower than others (there's a few in particular who are great), or offer sales, but in general you're never going to be jumping up and down from these deals. You can find a lot of beautiful pieces from previous seasons in mint condition though.
Deal profile, personal sellers: I won't say they're rare, but you just don't see the good deals from La Perla personal sellers in the volume you do from AP sellers. I would guess three to seven totally new listings per day for the primary brand. Also, again in contrast to AP, the majority of personal sellers do not know the style name for what they're selling, so saved searches miss out on a lot here. Which is frustrating, because when it's good, it's very, very good with La Perla on ebay. Also, you can get lucky with Black Label pieces here in a way you simply can't with Soiree.
NOTES: Sellers will occasionally 'forget' to mention that something is Studio La Perla, as opposed to main brand La Perla. I don't know much about the quality jump, but there does definitely seem to be one, so keep an eye out for tags if you're suspicious. Also you can always just message the seller and ask. See last week's article for why you'll usually get the truth from a dodgy seller if you ask directly.
New items added, not just re-listed: Very often.
NOTES: I rarely use Victoria's Secret in posts (and therefore don't have the personal experience to be able to make a profile for it) simply because I lack the motivation to tackle that particular ebay behemoth. I've absolutely seen pretty stuff from them, so while I don't buy or wear them personally, it's really not about the brand itself. It's just the sheer volume of personal sellers trying to sell their bras or sets at any price that puts me off, and there are tons (seriously, tons) of new listings every day. I'm sorry I can't be of more help VS fans : /
Volume: Quite low. Rarely more than 20 listings (see notes).
New items added, not just re-listed: Truly new items about once a week, but extremely worth the wait.
Items re-listed: Often. There's a bunch of bras from older collections that have been up for at least a year, and there are some very pricy items waiting around for the right wallet to come along (or for the seller to lower the price).
Deal profile, professional sellers: Because of the low amount of listings, there are usually only one or two of these - like most professional sellers, the prices aren't mind blowing, but considering how high Bordelle retails for, prices aren't outlandish either. The occasional good deal here.
Deal profile, personal sellers: Very mixed. Again, since Bordelle retails so high to begin with, even good sales run expensive, and there are many relistings because people won't lower prices. Still, there's often something for between $50 and $100, and you can get extremely lucky.
Also, to be fair, Bordelle on ebay is often about finding one of their sold-out cult items, or finding their classics (like the Angella dress) for more than 50% off. For example, anyone familiar with the Gallardia yellow silk and chantilly lace bodysuit? One sold last summer for around $200, which is pocket change compared to its original list price of $1200- 1500.
NOTES: If you go and look up Bordelle on ebay, you'll get around 60 listings. Frustratingly, Bordelle is one of the primary victims of sellers mentioning brands in their titles to promote an item they're selling which is actually from a totally different, lesser known brand. While this can occasionally introduce you to cool new designers, it's actually against ebay's policies and gets pretty annoying after a while. It can be a pain to sort through all the excess listings, trying to find the real thing. Unfortunately, in spite of the small number of new Bordelle items that get listed, this is why saving a search for this brand doesn't work well.
...Also, you may want to add '-latex' and '-rubber' when searching for Bordelle, there's a latex lingerie brand called Westward Bound with Bordelle in the name of one of its prints.
STELLA McCARTNEY LINGERIE:
Volume: High– 700+ listings.
New items added, not just re-listed: Truly new items turn up often, but not in high volume. Maybe one to five a day.
Items re-listed: The majority of listings are repeats, but there is also a pretty high sell rate.
Deal profile, professional sellers: I'd guess 60/40 professional to personal sellers. That said, professional seller prices are comparatively low for Stella McCartney Lingerie. It's partially because this is not a particularly expensive brand to begin with (at least when it comes to luxury lingerie), but listings for over $50 are definitely the minority.
Most professional sellers, like personal sellers, stick with a price around $30 and wait for a bite or a bid. Also, while professional sellers in other brands seem to mostly stock up on popular sizes (B and C-cups), I've noticed a fair amount of A and D+ bras from Stella McCartney sellers. Not sure if this is more a reflection on a higher percentage of A and D+ bras being made, but either way, it's awesome to see so many E-cups available from a mainstream brand. That said, if you're looking for a 38 band, or a 30 or lower, unfortunately you're not going to have much luck here.
Deal profile, personal sellers: There's a very wide price range here- I've seen that beautiful quilted silk wedding bustier sell for $20, but there are also personal sellers listing bras for 20% less than the original price. I'd say $10-30 is the primary range, and you can find some really awesome pieces from older collections here.
NOTES: Personal sellers will post lots containing Stella McCartney with some regularity. Sometimes its just items from the designer, but I've seen mixed lots ranging from Victoria's Secret, to Agent Provocateur. And there was one listing for a lot of two bras that's haunted me (both were lightyears away from my size); one bra was Stella McCartney, and the second bra was a Carine Gilson balconette from the Sonia Collection. I believe they sold together for $29..........
KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE:
Volume: Low but stable, usually 50-75 listings.
New items added, not just re-listed: Maybe one or two truly new items a day.
Items re-listed: Often, prices are pretty high and this is not quite on the main drag of brands people look for on ebay so traffic isn't what it is elsewhere (for example, Bordelle or Stella McCartney).
Deal profile, professional sellers: It seems like a lot of Kiki de Montparnasse sellers are halfway between professional and personal - sellers rarely have over 200 sales, and prices are high but not exorbitant. Either way, those prices don't change. This brand retails very high to begin with, and markdowns aren't stellar. Half the listings are over $100, with a quarter of those being way up there, from $300 to $800. That said, there are always items under $50, which you won't see most other places for Kiki de Montparnasse.
Deal profile, personal sellers: There is the occasional great deal here, but it seems like this brand is one that's somewhat restricted to people who really know lingerie, so there's not going to be someone posting a bra for $15 to see what happens. That said, there are a lot of items from very recent collections up for lower than sale prices, which is pretty cool.
NOTES: I don't know the brand that well, but from what I've seen on ebay, the size range is pretty much limited to A-C. On a separate note, there is some very lovely, and very pricy, loungewear from this designer up for sale as well.
Volume: Low but stable, usually 30-50 listings.
New items added, not just re-listed: Not often, a few times a week at most.
Items re-listed: Very frequently. Much like Kiki de Montparnasse, I.D. Sarrieri doesn't seem to get that many searches. Also to be fair, items are either from very old collections or very recent ones, but the latter is usually priced pretty high.
Deal profile, professional sellers: There are only a few, but they make up the majority of the listings, and while prices are pretty reasonable considering how high I.D. Sarrieri retails for, they also don't drop.
Deal profile, personal sellers: More infrequent, unfortunately not a tremendously higher sell rate. Like Bordelle, this brand's ebay presence can be about finding sold-out cult items, but when those items are listed, it's usually high. That said, there have been some amazing pieces at great prices. One of their chantilly lace bodysuits with Swarovski crystal accents sold for $100 a few months ago. If you like the brand, it's definitely worth checking in every so often.
NOTES: For whatever reason, the vast majority of the listings are for bras. Also, skip the search headache with the I.D. (or I D, or IDSarrieri) and just type in 'Sarrieri', it's much simpler.
Volume: Very low, not stable– 5-30 listings.
New items added, not just re-listed: Listings from this brand fluctuate so it's hard to tell. On average, maybe once a a week, if that.
Items re-listed: Often, mostly from professional sellers who price high.
Deal profile, professional sellers: It's not a highly populated majority, but professional sellers do have the most frequent presence for this brand. As I said, prices from them tend to run high, usually only 40-50% off retail.
Deal profile, personal sellers: You can find great things from this brand on ebay for an amazing price because of the personal sellers. It's not a very regular thing, but sets will go for less than $40, and you can find very cool, out-of-stock items like bodysuits for decent sale prices.
NOTES: While Lonely is pretty well known at this point, I believe it's also a smaller, more independent label than the rest of the brands on this list. As much as I love ebay, no part of your purchase goes to support the brand, and some brands need that support more than others. Ebay can certainly facilitate introductions to smaller, pricey indie brands, but make sure to spend some money with the actual brand too.
On a separate note, this probably reflects the brand itself, but I don't think I've ever seen a listing for a D cup. And finally, I don't recommend searching for 'lonely lingerie', most sellers are pretty good about including 'lingerie' in their titles, but you might miss out on personal sellers who just say something like 'Lonely lace bra...' Just search for 'lonely' and refine the results down to intimates & sleep.
I've spent a lot of time on ebay in the service of The Lingerie Addict (...and let's be honest, in the service of my top drawer), so while this post is entirely based of my personal experience, I hope you found it helpful! We made it through some of the big brands this week, but tune in next Sunday for Part 2 of Ebay Brand Profiles, including Hopeless Lingerie, Carine Gilson, Chantelle Paris, Rosamosario, Chantal Thomass, Felina and many more : )
Leave a comment below if there are any other brands you want me to cover next week, or if you've had different experiences than mine with any of the brands from this post. Feel free to share any shopping victories you've had with these designers on ebay too : ) And if you're the lucky
bastard duck who got that Carine Gilson/Stella McCartney lot mentioned above, I publicly salute you for getting the most wonderful deal on ebay I've ever seen.
Happy bidding : )