vintage tea cups

Diving into Vancouver’s Second-Hand Economy

As someone who recently went through a giant Spring cleaning because I was moving apartments, I totally appreciate the value of the second-hand economy – giving my belongings a second chance with someone else, while making a few extra bucks!

For example, during my move, I found a smartphone camera attachment which no longer fit my new phone as I upgraded to a new size. So, I sold it to a student who was going on her first solo travel trip, who was ecstatic about getting something to help document her vacation, at a bargain price. I, on the other hand, was thrilled that someone would be able to use something I couldn’t anymore, and it wouldn’t go to waste.

I recently watched Kijiji’s “Second-hand Van”, a four-part web series highlighting the fascinating things Vancouverites are doing within the second-hand economy…and I couldn’t believe all the amazing ways that locals are buying, selling and swapping items here on the West Coast.

For me, I’m mostly on the “selling” side of the second-hand market – making a few bucks off last season’s clothing and electronics. It was really interesting for me to gain a perspective from the other side – the “buying” side, and see all of the unique items that Vancouverites scan through online listings for.

Each 2-minute webisode of Second-Hand Van covers an interesting perspective of the local second-hand economy, including taking a peek into Vancouver’s vintage motorcycling scene, exploring how creative and resourceful Vancouverites are choosing to live in vans, purchasing a second-hand surf board for a trip to Tofino, and chatting with production designers in the local film industry. Second-Hand Van showcases what makes buying, selling, or trading second-hand goods in Vancouver totally unique.

For example, producers and set designers in the movie industry will frequently hit up antique stores to find props and background fillers for their movies – be it vintage magazines, antique furniture, or something as specific as a bone handled walking cane or a monocle.  As you can imagine, physically browsing through endless aisles of products can be very time consuming. This is where Kijiji comes in…

With a quick search for keywords or key phrases, you instantly can search through thousands of local listings. If you’re lucky, you’ll find exactly what you need.

Watch below for the Art Directors episode of Second-Hand Van:

Maybe it’s because of the high cost of living in Vancouver, or our eco-friendly West Coast mentality, but British Columbians seem to love giving items a second chance in a new home.  I learned from Kijiji that in 2016, Canadians bought, sold, swapped or donated $1.9 billion worth of goods.  The average British Columbian gave second life to 82 products, which is 4 more products than the average Canadian.

If you’re looking to sell items you own for some extra pocket cash, I’ve included some tips from Second-Hand Van host and second-hand economy expert Daniel Fu on how to get the most for your items.

Be Specific in Your Title:

Your title should be as descriptive and specific as possible. Include buzz words like “brand new”, “tag still on”, and “vintage” to grab a potential buyer’s attention.

Be Honest About Condition:

Always list the condition of the item in your description. You don’t want to waste the buyer’s time and your time with back-and-forth questions.

Take Good Photos:

Great pictures are key! Good lighting and images of the item from multiple angles will give potential buyers a good sense of what they’d be purchasing. Most smartphones can generate high quality photos, so no excuses!

Get Ready to Bargain:

Most people will try to bargain with you so price your items accordingly. If the quality of your item is great, start by listing it at retail price knowing that you’ll likely drop the price when in conversation with a potential buyer. For the hot ticket items, if you have receipts or documents that backup your purchase, bring it along with you as proof and use it as a bargaining tool so buyers know the value of what they’re getting.

To see more episodes of Second-Hand Van, visit:

This post was written in partnership with Kijiji.


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