Friday, February 23, 2024 Feb 23, 2024
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Online Shopping

Why Sell Your Stuff Online When This Company Will Do It for You?

Sella, which launched in Dallas last month, is a digital service that will list and sell your old items on online resale sites, like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, so you don’t have to.
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Sella
Courtesy of Sella

Whatever happened to the garage sale? Your neighbor’s folding table is gathering dust instead of holding torn Rubén Sierra baseball cards and pairs of old nylon sweatpants. And, sure, the city doesn’t exactly make it easy on you to organize one of these things, even after you’ve printed fliers and stapled them to your preferred pole. Technically, you need an actual permit now from the city of Dallas to sell your stuff from your driveway. It’s probably easier to just post it on Facebook Marketplace and wait.

Or is it? 

“Snap a photo, post it, and it’s sold: the truth is that’s sort of hiding a lot of the work, right?” says Byron Binkley, who founded Sella, a digital service company that sells your stuff online for you. “If you really want to do a good job, you have to know what you’re doing.”

You need to do pricing research, Binkley explains. Sure, you bought your Blu-ray player for $200 back in 2009, but what is it selling for now on eBay? You need to have a detailed listing description. You need to be wary of the time of year (electronics sell better after Christmas, says Binkley). You need to be willing to negotiate pricing, and you should probably list it on multiple websites. 

This is where Sella comes in. The company, which launched in Portland last year and Dallas last month, acts as a middleman between you and the person who eventually buys your stuff. You drop off your items or have them picked up for a fee at a local hub. Typically that is at a local Sella rep’s home, which Binkley calls “Airbnb for fulfillment.” Sella takes photos and measurements, does the pricing research, and presents you with the listing information and a selling plan (i.e., what’s your asking price and how low are you willing to go) to approve. 

“We’re the leg work, but ultimately our customers call the shots and they’re the CEO,” Binkley says. 

Once a plan is approved, Sella posts the listing on multiple online resale sites, like Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, and more. They look through the influx of messages, sell the item, handle the pass off, and then send you a check. 

While this seems like a digital-age adaptation of a consignment shop, that’s not what Sella is, Binkley says. You keep ownership of your stuff until it gets sold and you can cancel the service at any time. Sella charges a flat processing fee instead of pocketing a commission. Fees start at $5.99 for each item, plus 20 cents a day until it’s sold, although rates can vary depending on size of the item, shipping, and any online marketplace fees. 

You can sell most things via Sella. But Binkley says name-brand items or electronics purchased within the last year or two—the first item sold in Dallas through Sella was a Vitamix—sell best. And there are a few stipulations. First, they don’t take anything that one person can’t carry or “won’t fit in the trunk of a Prius.” So no Craigslist couch.

Second, they won’t accept anything that’s prohibited, such as firearms or car seats, on the resale sites. Third, items need to meet a minimum price value. This ensures your item will sell and your rate of return is worth it, Binkley says. “We say like, $40 or more, because it puts people in the right ballpark.” 

Although, he admits, this can get nuanced. Some of the pricier niche items, like fancy birding binoculars, can be a tough sale. And while Sella won’t take your tired $10 H&M sweater, there will always be a market for a $20 microwave, or even a seven-pound box of Legos. 

The smaller, cheaper items, as well as bulky products like dressers and lacrosse sticks, are why Binkley thinks traditional garage sales will never truly disappear. “There’s tons of stuff that is barely worth the time to drive it somewhere,” he says. “And so, you know, taking it out of the garage, and sort of laying it out, is a good way to have people shop and browse.” 

The more valuable stuff will probably garner more money online, Binkley says, but there’s something familial and nostalgic about sifting through a $5 bin at your classic weekend garage sale. 

Just be sure to get a permit. 

Author

Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…

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