Enjoy Fashion

Social Media Steals: How To Use Facebook to Save on Fashion

Sarah Compo  |  February 10, 2020

Social media isn’t just a place to connect with friends—it’s where you can find high end brands at a deep discount, and in some cases for free. 

Many women dream of having closets full of Lululemon, Lilly Pulitzer, Anthropologie and other high-end brands. However, for those who are trying to save (or people like me, who just can’t stomach spending $100 on a pair of leggings) it’s not always realistic.

Enter Facebook, where brand-focused buy, sell, trade (BST) groups have amassed tens of thousands of members; some who buy, some who sell and others who act as personal shoppers for fellow fans.

I recently caught up with Annie Fairfax, the woman behind “Lilly Pulitzer: Dressed to Impress,” a Facebook group that since its founding in 2015, has amassed more members than a small city. We covered everything from how she got her start, to how the group has become much more than a place to buy and sell clothes.

FROM THE GRAM … TO THE BOOK

 A longtime Lilly Pulitzer fan, Fairfax got her start on Instagram, where her personal account was originally dedicated to highlighting her near-daily Lilly outfits. As she posted, questions followed — everything from material composition to washing instructions. “I couldn’t keep up with the questions, so I started a Facebook group as a place for other fans of the brand to find one another,” says Fairfax.

After a while, Fairfax started to allow buying, selling and trading, or what’s commonly referred to as “BST’ing” in the group. In its first year, it attracted more than 10,000 members. Today, with a membership totaling nearly 40,000 people, the group is one of the largest clothing related groups on Facebook — something Fairfax says is due to the environment she cultivates as its moderator. “We have air tight rules everyone has to follow, which prevents anyone from being scammed and makes a huge difference to my members, because they know they will be supported on the off chance something goes wrong, or a package is lost in the mail.”

SAVING SERIOUS CASH

Fairfax estimates that items sold within her group can be anywhere from 50 to 90 percent off retail price. Even better, she shared that from time to time, generous members will offer free items, where the shopper only has to pay for shipping. “These are a great way to offload unworn clothing, or things that didn’t sell to someone who will love it—or who will repurpose the beautiful, printed fabric into something else,” says Fairfax.

THREE WORDS: FOLLOW. THE. RULES.

As someone who was booted from Facebook’s biggest Anthropologie BST group for neglecting to follow very specific rules (note to self, DON’T forget to list the condition of an item you’re selling!), I can’t stress this one enough—and neither can Fairfax. “We have rules that are first and foremost there to protect each and every member and to ensure things run smoothly and fairly for everyone,” says Fairfax. One of the biggest rules? All transactions MUST be completed through PayPal “goods and services,” which offers protection for both buyers and sellers.

TIPS FOR BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL SELLER     

While many members of Fairfax’s group use it as a way to score cheap Lilly, others see it as a side hustle. Successful sellers can make hundreds of dollars or more per-month and gain a loyal following of customers. While the secrets of selling might seem simple — taking clear photos from multiple angles, including measurements in descriptions and listing style names — there are other touches that can make you stand out. “A lot of sellers will include little gifts for their buyers with their packages, like pressed flowers, chocolates — carefully packaged  — or even hair bows,” says Fairfax. “These little touches really make buyers feel valued and help create a sense of community.”

LILLY Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

When it comes to Facebook BST groups, Lilly Pulitzer: Dressed to Impress is just the tip of the iceberg. As someone whose wardrobe is filled with secondhand (and sometimes new) social media fashion finds, I highly recommend the following:

Lululand: Love Lululemon but hate the price? In this more than 16,000 member group, members visit the brand’s outlet stores and when they arrive, post what’s available and what’s on sale that day. They take requests, purchase available items and then ship to shoppers.

Kate Spade Buy/Sell/Trade: A great place to buy, sell and trade new and used Kate Spade items, as well as celebrate your love of the brand alongside more than 23,000 other fans.

Crew and Madewell Buy, Sell and Trade: While not as massive as other BST groups, this is the largest of those dedicated to J.Crew and/or Madewell. It’s been growing in recent years, and now at nearly 13,000 members regularly has an excellent selection of clothing, accessories and other items.

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