Zac Hembry is the founder of Messina Hembry Clothing, selling vintage and pre-loved designer clothing on his own website and several marketplaces. As someone who started out selling second-hand clothes to make a little extra money, Zac shares some advice about developing your hobby into a business.
How long have you been selling online and why did you start?
I started selling online in 2012 using my own private eBay account while I was still at university. It started out as a way to make a little bit of extra money, I was just selling some things I had found in charity shops. Then it started going really well, and it grew into a business when I left university; I now sell on eBay, Etsy, Shopify and ASOS marketplace.
What are your top recommendations for people starting out selling online?
Pretty much anyone can sell clothing online casually, but when it becomes a business you have to make sure you can offer a much better service. You need to make sure that your product pictures stand out, you have really detailed descriptions, and you’re there ready to reply to customer questions straight away.
You also need to make sure you find the right software to make all your processes more efficient. We use some very specific, niche software that has saved us a lot of time and money. ESA Product Manager links all our inventory, and so we’re able to list the same item on each platform, and it’s taken off the other platforms when the item is sold. The only platform that we have separate stock for is ASOS Marketplace.
What advice would you offer to others about taking product photos?
We use a Digital SLR camera, and while it did cost a bit of money, it’s definitely been worth the investment. There’s a dramatic difference between the pictures we use now, and when I was using a fairly basic, £50 camera.
It’s also important to photograph the products in the best possible condition; we always make sure the clothes are steamed and crease-free.
How do you handle returns?
We actually get a relatively low number of returns, but when we do it’s very simple for a customer to return something. We have a returns form included in all our orders, that we print from Zenstores, and they fill that in and send it back. People are happier to buy if you have a good returns policy, it takes away the element of risk there is in buying something online that you can’t see or try on.
Why do you use Zenstores?
We tried out a couple of different platforms for managing orders and Zenstores was very simple to use where others were quite confusing. The customer service is always good, and whenever we have an issue or something we want to change it’s resolved quickly. It saves us time and makes managing orders and shipping a lot simpler - it would have been a nightmare without good software.