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It’s time to address the skeleton in your closet.  You know which one I’m talking about — made of fabric, has lots of rhinestones, cost several hundred or thousands of dollars, and you are probably never going to wear again.

Why not make room for new a costume?  Sell your used skating or ballroom dress!

Figure skating and ballroom dance dress resale may seem intimidating.  How do you determine the best price?  How do you find women to buy your dress?

Do these questions bog you down and prevent you from selling that competition dress (or dresses) hanging in your closet?

Yes?  I understand.  That’s why today’s post focuses on this topic with lots of answers for your questions.  My tips today work wonders for both:

    1. A dancer or skater selling one or two of her personal competition dresses,
    2. A dance-skate-dress sewing business trying to reduce their inventory.

P.S.  Do you run a sewing business and want in-depth coaching like this post to help your sewing business thrive?  Today’s post is one of those things that every owner of a sewing business needs to know.  Check out my new Dressmaker Business Academy for more helpful videos like this one.

Whether you sew dresses or buy them ready-made, keep reading and watch the video below.  Let’s put you on the right track towards getting the best price for your used figure skating and ballroom dance dress resale!

How to price your used skate and ballroom dress for resale. For personal or sewing businesses.
When reselling ballroom or Country costumes, Dance Dress Couture takes care to match the best dress for each customer.

Disclaimer: Odds are excellent that men and women from at least fifteen countries will read this blog post.  There is no way I can tell all of you “the best price” for your used costume in your particular country.  That’s like me making you a meal and having no idea what you like to eat and then no way to deliver it to you.

What I am delighted to do is give you guidelines on how to figure out your specific market and then price accordingly.  Make sense?  Good.  Let’s get started!

 

 1. Research Online Stores and Consignment Shops 

Yep, however boring it may be, research is your first step.  Before you price your used dress, you need to know what is selling in your part of the world.

Take some time to browse through Ebay, Facebook groups selling costumes (there are a lot of them) or online dance or skate dress consignment shops.

Pay close attention to the prices and details of several dozen dresses in the dance or skate style similar to the dress you wish to sell.  Try to find common denominators for the amount of rhinestones, lace appliqués, quality of the fabric, how well the dress is made, etc.  Example: if your dress has 4,000 rhinestones, you do not want to base your potential resale price to a dress that has only 200 stones.  Make sense?  You want to compare apples to apples, right?  Not apples to squash.

In the video below, I make price quotes for the cost of used ballroom dance dresses in the United States where I live and work.  However, the woman whose question I was answering lives in Australia.  Both she and you need to extrapolate as you watch the video and make the currency conversion in your mind based on your country.

teresa and duffy at dance dress couture

 

For consignment stores in the U.S., a great place to start is Dance Dress Couture.   They have over 200 dresses in their inventory beautifully suited to Dancesport and Country, and they are always happy to receive more used dresses that need a new home.

Another good online shop to look at prices is Dance Dressing, which sells new and offers consignment services in Europe.

Simply Skating Consignment has a nice selection of used dresses in the U.S, including adult sizes.  Check their About Us page for details on listing a dress for sale with them.

I have only listed a few of the consignment options around the world, but you get the picture.  You may have to dig a little bit to find a shop in your country.

There are many options for consigning your retired competition dress and freeing up closet space while putting money in your pocket.

Online dress consignment shops are not limited to a place to sell your dresses.  They also offer opportunities to buy a “new to you” costumes.  Go to my interview with Duffy Betterton, the co-owner of Dance Dress Couture, for more details on their ballroom dress resale process.  Debi and Duffy, the mother-daughter owners of Dance Dress Couture, take care to match the best dress for each customer.  If you choose to buy or sell through them, I know they will take care of you.

 


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 2. Price High 

Always price your dress above what you think the value is.  Why?  Because it's worth a shot!  What you feel has a low value may be the  perfect, golden ticket to the right buyer.

What should you do if you have an interested party that hesitates due to the price?

  1. Talk about the assets of the dress.
    • Name the dressmaker if the company is well-known.  Talk about the quality or quantity of rhinestones.  Mention hand-painting, feathers, lace, anything that makes the dress unique.
  2. If you are close to a sale, but not quite ... lower your price a little bit and open the table for bargaining.
    • If you start with a low price quote, you have little or no room to lower the price and still make a fair amount.

Speaking of profit...do you make dance or skate dresses for income?  Or do you want to begin sewing for income?

I would love to help you grow your business through my Dressmaker Business Academy, which focuses solely on the business side of making dance and skate costumes.

The first class of an 11-week mentorship program begins mid-February, 2022.  To make sure I have the best group possible, you must complete an application so I can learn more about you and your motives.  Remember, it is not required to have an existing business.  You just need to know how to sew and have the desire to begin making money sewing dance or skate costumes.

Are you ready to start a sewing business or up-level an existing one?

Apply soon!  The deadline closes January 23, 2022.

Reserve your seat in Dressmaker Business Academy.

 


 3. Price Based on Demand 

Another factor that goes into ballroom dress resale is determining how large the demand is.

For example, there are a lot of dress options for tall, slim dancers and figure skaters.  Conversely, there are significantly less dresses for fuller figures and very few dresses available for plus size performers.

Why does this matter?

It's the law of supply and demand.  The more there are, the less expensive the product is.  When a product is rare, they are often more costly.  Use this "law" to your advantage when pricing your dress to sell.

Since there are not as many medium to plus size dresses available, there is a higher demand for them.  This means that, in general, you can price medium to plus size dresses higher than a similar quality dress in a smaller size of which there are hundreds of variations.

In addition to size, there are other factors that may affect potential customer demand.

For example, you should consider whether your dance dress is up-to-date with current trends or not.  If your dance dress is old or out of style, you may want to update your dress or make a few small alterations to increase the value.  I talk about this in detail in my blog on updating this pink ballroom dress.

lace ballroom dance dress, ballroom dancing costume

Sew Like A Pro™ DRESSMAKER BUSINESS TIP #1: 

The same rules apply if you make and sell Dancesport or figure skating costumes.  If you make costumes that are in high demand, you can price them higher.  Take the extra time to learn your market and know how to maximize your profits!

 

 4. Sell When You Can! 

Figure skating and ballroom dress resale is not always quick.  Seldom do the stars align so you can sell your dress exactly when you want a new one.  Also, thanks to so many online costumes for sale, your dress has a lot of competition.  You might be sitting on your dress waiting to sell it for two years — no joke.  I suggest selling your dress whenever you get the chance.

If someone compliments your dress when you exit the rink or the floor, say "Thank you.  It's for sale."   Have a price in mind.  You might just have a buyer.

Sew Like A Pro™ DRESSMAKER BUSINESS TIP #2:

If you know how to do alterations, you can offer to do small alterations to make the dance or skate dress fit your potential buyer better.  If you wish, you can offer simple alterations free as an incentive to buy.  Or, you can charge for the alterations if they are extensive or time consuming.  It is your choice.  Go with what feels right for you and the potential buyer.

Some dance dress consignment shops, like Dance Dress Couture, also offer on-site alterations for customers.


 Pricing a Custom Dance Dress for Sale 

When making a custom skate or  ballroom dance dress for a client, quoting a price can be a little trickier.  Start the same place you would for skating and ballroom dress resale: research.

Instead of browsing dance dress consignment shops, look at the prices for new dresses by some of the big dress designers in your sport. Some ballroom dress designers you might want to look at are Dore Designs, Lenique, Radim, and Chrisanne Clover.  For figure skaters, look at Lisa McKinnon and Brad Griffies.  You may have a hard time finding their prices, but keep looking until you do.

For a professionally made figure skating or Dancesport dress - or for a custom dress in either category - there are several tiers of pricing.
  1. If you are a beginning dressmaker, you should probably charge in the low to mid range for a custom costume because the dress will take you longer and you will make mistakes along the way.
  2. After a few months or a year of experience,  raise your prices.
  3. Once you become proficient at making a particular type of dance or skate costume, you have gained confidence and customer testimonials to bolster your reputation, then raise your prices again to the highest price in your market.

Please keep in mind the dollar values I quote in the video may not pertain to your country's currency or the value of ice skating or ballroom dress resale in your area.  Also, this video is a 2016 excerpt taken from a live Q&A session in my Sew Like A Pro™ school.  Since then, prices of dresses have go up considerably!   As I suggested earlier, use your common sense and your research skills to determine your best dress resale price.

 

sewing business academy dance skate

 Are you running your own dressmaking business? 

 Do you want to begin your own sewing business? 

First, congratulations!  Starting your own business is a huge step. (Trust me.  I know first hand.)  Starting your new sewing business armed with the skills you need to succeed before you even take one dress order is even better!

Second, you are just in time to apply for my Dressmaker Business Academy, an 11-week mentorship program designed to help you grow your new or existing dressmaking business.

Get the business training you need to help your sewing business succeed. 

With almost thirty years of experience making and selling custom dresses, I want to help you increase your profits, your productivity, and your customer satisfaction.

Apply today!  The deadline for submitting your application is January 23, 2022. The first live meeting is mid-February.

Are you ready to streamline your work, raise your prices and increase customer satisfaction?

Learn more about Dressmaker Business Academy.

 



 

Not sure about the Dressmaker Business Academy?  Check out a Q&A excerpt featuring sewing school member Lauren, who recently started making custom dresses for clients at her dance studio.  It's another sneak-peek at the kind of personalized training you will get in my Dressmaker Business Academy, plus it has tips for dealing with a challenging custom dress commission.

lauren and client wearing custom ballroom dress

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Not interested in the business side of sewing? Get free dressmaker training with the Sew Like A Pro™ newsletter.

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