Sunday, August 2, 2015

buying vintage online : ebay vs etsy

I stopped doing monthly thrift round-ups on my blog because in the last year or so I have not really had a bunch of thrift luck. I have in turn decided to have a few "treatyoself" moments where I have purchased wishlist items online rather than wait to see if I can thrift them for cheaper. I have ordered from both ebay and etsy and have some thoughts to share on what I have found from buying vintage online. These are my thoughts on the actual site/ buying process not tips on sourcing vintage online. I always know what I "think" I need and know my vintage well so searching for items is easy for me.

As a disclaimer I have never had a bad experience purchasing online what so ever. I have never had an item arrive broken or lost. Only good times hence why I am smitten with it.
recent cheap and cheerful items that have come home with me from the thrift.
ebay: (also know as evil-bay)
If you would have asked me a year ago if I had ever bought or even looked at vintage on ebay I would have said no. For me personally I used ebay to buy hard to find cd's and items that aren't sold/shipped to Canada buuuut I have made a few purchases recently and know why it has an addictive reputation.

  • if you search long and hard you can find vintage for a good price. I have never seen anything for a steal you've seen those penny auctions...but for about 1/4 what you would pay retail which is still pretty good. Bare in mind most sellers do charge full retail nowadays.
  • a lot of variety ebay sellers tend not to over think their items/feel of their shop and will list anything which leads to finding unique items

  • ummm the bidding, I have never won an auction style item I only use the buy it now, which isn't always an option...
  • shipping! I have seen s/h to Canada at $64 for a brooch some sellers don't take the time to source out better shipping options and go with first class tracked air mail no matter what which makes a lot of items unreasonable. 
  • care of packaging, almost everything I have received off ebay and has just been stuffed in an envelope no note/card/tag just the item.
  • sheer amount of items last time I looked there were 112,299 listings for vintage necklaces you must know what you are looking for and add in as many words as you can into the search box.
items I can't seem to thrift so I look for/buy online.
I do sell on etsy and am glad as a site it exists I had never bought vintage online before etsy. It does tend to be more pricey and keeps impulse purchases at bay.

  • great layout of the site with filters and keywords making specific items easy to find.
  • a large mix of shops with varying price ranges giving you the option to be patient and hunt for the items you are looking for.
  • finding items by the same shop/seller is easy to navigate. Many shops have social media which you can follow and see shop updates. 
  • reasonable shipping! etsy sellers don't tend to charge a handling fee and most fees are bang on with the most economical price.

  • I personally have found that vintage sellers on etsy aren't as a rule as "branded" as other shops tend to be. I have had items arrive as is with no packaging/ business info much like ebay. I tend to like etsy for the "love" you feel from the shops but some vintage shops have missed that mark for me. 
  • beautiful things at pricy prices, add in the exchange rate and shipping and it becomes unaffordable at times when you love unique items!
My verdict? When shopping for vintage variety is great I do look on both sites but personally find ebay a pain to navigate they mix in non-vintage items (or because the seller listed them as vintage when they are not) so I am often scrolling through items not relevant to what I am looking for.  I have been sucked in by the "lower" price of an item and have made way more impulse buys on ebay. If I were to have seen the item in person I can 100% say I would have never have bought it.

As a rule etsy is my go to first choice for purchasing wishlist vintage online.
Feel free to share your thoughts. Are there other sites that you have tried that are worth a look for buying vintage? Do let me know below!


  1. Terrific post and to-the-core look at some of the pros and cons of eBay vs Etsy. Though I do still shop on eBay sometimes, I've been much more of an Etsy buyer for years now. I generally get better quality service, more professionally packaged goods, and less hassles in general there - plus, as you mentioned, you don't run into the nutso high shipping prices (to Canada) of eBay nearly as often.

    I've had a few bad experiences as a buyer on both (more so with eBay) over the years, but thankfully no truly epic horror stories, so for now, I'll continue to shop on both - but not all that much (anywhere in the States) until our poor, beaten up Canadian dollar improves a bit.

    Wishing you a fantastic week, sweet gal!
    ♥ Jessica

  2. thanks for these thoughts on etsy!! i've been meaning to look into it when sourcing for some items for the wedding next year. :)

    Have a great week!
    Animated Confessions