BULK VINTAGE WHOLESALE THE BIGGEST SECONDHAND CLOTHING FACTORY IN EUROPE - FREE DELIVERY IN THE UK MAIN LAND ON ALL ORDERS
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      THRIFTING EUROPE - NAPLES EDITION

      THRIFTING EUROPE - NAPLES EDITION

      At BULK we think connections are key. Sourcing the best vintage from around the world is an essential part of what we do and we think the history behind second hand clothing is just as exciting as uncovering a unique vintage gem. Getting to see how things work in factories and warehouses abroad whilst meeting those in the industry gives us priceless insight into the background of vintage clothing. Because we can't get around much at the moment, we thought it'd be be fun to get you prepped for when we can and give you a heads up on where's hot for all things second hand.

      On our most recent visit to Naples we saw and heard first hand how the thriving thrift industry began and why Italy has become one of the most impressive places to source pre-loved garments in the game. 

      Why is Naples great for thrifting?

      During our visit we heard about how what is now considered 'vintage' found it's way onto the streets of Naples in particular. In an effort to rebuild much of Europe after WW2, the USA sent financial aid and relief in the form of used clothing. As bales of clothing landed in Napoli, civilians snapped up as much as they could, with many items being sold on to the black market. Vendors then sold the contents of the bales and gained a reputation for sorting and selling used clothing at markets (which could be considered a small thrift stall!). This played a vital role in the up-cycling movement and in turn thrifting which is still a massive part of the used clothing industry today. We love knowing that the clothing that comes through our warehouses at BULK has journeyed across the world and nothing beats rummaging through a pile of vintage stuff, finding something you'd never be able to find on the high street. You're guaranteed to find some amazing vintage pieces over in Naples regardless of your style. From authentic branded clothing to genuine 20th century vintage there really is something for everyone. 

      What makes thrifting great wherever you are?

      Both market stall and in-store thrifting not only gives used clothing a second chance, it also gives you the chance to find something you won't find easily anywhere else. Thrifting culture is one we are really passionate about at BULK and we love that we can find something with links to a place we've visited whilst contributing to less waste. Amongst all the love we have for vintage clothing, it's important that our customers know why we're so passionate about it. 

      Fast fashion is an absolute environmental nightmare and creates huge negative socio-economic issues. High street clothing is often cheaply made by people across the world, meaning those who make it are usually paid abysmally. Clothes are then shipped thousands of miles and sold for very little to keep up with the fast pace of the fashion industry and are discarded by consumers without a thought as to where the clothes will end up. Buying second hand is a great way to help combat this problem whilst getting your mitts on some really cool things. Up-cycling and repurposing is a really big part of our ethos, it's something we demonstrate in our sister company Rockerfella where we transform grade B high end vintage into new one of a kind products. 

      What can I expect to find in Naples?

      That's simple, the history speaks for itself! The sheer variety of clothing from around the world makes it a great place for unearthing unique vintage finds. There is great mix of European and American vintage in circulation throughout Naples and Italy's thriving fashion industry post war era means high end Italian fashion frequents the pre-loved clothing industry there. Whether you spend a day at Poggioreale Market or find one of the many vintage clothing stores there, it's hard not to become overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the sheer amount going on.

      Markets in Naples are a daily occurrence so there are loads to choose from. Whether it's a car boot market like Portobello Road or a traditional indoor/outdoor market like Fuorigrotta, you'll need at least a day to look around each one. One of our favourites was Resina Market which is an absolute goldmine full of personality. The whole vibe of the place; from the architecture to the local vendors, screams vintage and we saw some really cool and crazy pieces there.

      Personally, nothing compares to raking through an overfilled clothing rail at a bustling market, but the chaos of that isn't for everyone. If you're looking for that high end thrifting hit, Silva Ustato D'autore might be more up your street. They focus mostly on designer womenswear and accesories like Fendi and Gucci bags. High end vintage stores tend to be more curated which can take the fun out of thrifting, however we'd still recommend popping in to have a look even if you're not looking to splurge on designer items. If high end isn't really your thing, POP 21 sells the kind of Depop gold you might be after. It's a really cool boutique and claims to be the 'biggest and craziest' vintage store in Naples. Impressive, right? Another cool suggestion is the super sleek Retrophilia which offers a curated shopping style that still has all the character you'd expect from a second hand store - think Urban Outfitters but with more personality. Like in the UK where you can come across some really nice pieces in a charity shop, don't be scared to get stuck in over in Italy. As mentioned before, Naples has a long thrifting history and you never know what you might find. It's a must visit hotspot for thrifters and money makers alike, get yourselves there and experience it for yourselves.

      FROM SACK TO STORE

      FROM SACK TO STORE

      So, your sack or bale arrives and you're unsure about how to market what's in it to your customers. When authentic vintage clothing has travelled across the world it can look a bit worse for wear. It could have been in transit or storage for years and unfortunately that can make items creased and dusty. The sheer amount of vintage clothing that comes through our doors means we can't prepare garments ready for sale, so it's up to you give them some love, care and attention. A massive part of selling pre-loved garments is to make sure you prep them properly. It goes without saying that a customer will be willing to pay more for a well presented garment, meaning more money in your pocket.

      KEEP IT FRESH
      You don't need us to tell you that vintage clothing sells best when it's fresh. It's always best to clean and steam your vintage finds; firstly to get rid of any marks or dust and secondly to make sure 'that' vintage smell doesn't linger. It will always work in your favour to provide your customers with freshly laundered clothing.

      IRONING THINGS OUT
      After laundering your vintage garms there's a chance you'll have to tackle those pesky creases. We totally understand that ironing is a chore we'd all rather avoid but trust us when we tell you how satisfying it is to transform the look of a sweater simply by ironing it. It's totally worth spending some time fixing up your stock so it speaks for itself when you come to photograph it. We find that steaming or ironing is essential and can easily add value and make you more profit. If someone sees an item that is shown as instantly wearable your shop immediately becomes more marketable and professional. 

      PICTURE PERFECT
      One of the most important aspects of selling is presentation and marketability. You've already jumped through one hoop by making a garment look it's best, now to make sure that translates through your photographs. Following a few simple steps can give you consistency which is vital to building your brand image.

      To create a consistant theme throughout your shop we recommend a solid white background. This makes it super easy to lay out clothing and makes a perfectly clean backdrop for your photographs. We'd recommend using a Foamex board which you should be able to pick up from your local sign fitting company cut to size for next to nothing. We get great results from using an iPhone camera which also makes it really easy using the 'square' size setting to create images that are Instagram or Depop ready. A 'vivid' filter gives your photos a great finish and keeps them looking vibrant without taking away from those details you want to show off. Using these techniques on every post keeps things consistent and gives your business that put together vibe.

      You've gone to the effort of making sure your stock is looking fire so it's worth taking the time to get some photos that do it justice. The white board helps massively with this but being meticulous with the positioning of the items and the camera angles gives it that edge. Avoid creating shadows by holding the camera high and highlight any details that will draw attention. If something is branded make sure the customer can see it, if there is a statement detail make sure it's in eye shot. 

                                    Take a dull image and make it pop with the 'vivid' filter.                                  

       

      Lots of sellers use models to show off items which is a great way to show how things look being worn. Do consider though, that this could limit your market audience. If your feed is filled with clothes being worn by male models, you could inadvertently deter female customers. This is another reason why a neutral background is a great way to display your stock as it can widen your customer base and help make you more sales. 

       

      GET SELLING GUYS!! 

       

       

       

      WANT SOME HELP CHOOSING THE RIGHT SACK FOR YOU.....HERE'S A QUICK GUIDE ON ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUYING CORRECTLY TO SELL CORRECTLY

      WANT SOME HELP CHOOSING THE RIGHT SACK FOR YOU.....HERE'S A QUICK GUIDE ON ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUYING CORRECTLY TO SELL CORRECTLY

      NEW TO SELLING SECOND HAND CLOTHES? LET'S HELP YOU OUT...

      Want to start selling second hand clothing? Seen Depop sellers smashing sales online from their bedrooms & want a piece of the pie? It cannot be simpler than right now, with as little as £100 you can easily flip that cash into £300 in less than a week if you're clever & keen enough you can be making £500+ a week by selling second hand clothing from your spare room.

      "BUT HOW DO I GET STARTED?"

      It's simple, all the hard work & market research has already been done for you! All you have to do is arm yourself with your iPhone & hit your local charity shops & car boot sales. Once there get stuck in, find yourself some bargains & cross reference them on Depop. You can pick up spellout sweaters for as little as £5 and sell them for over £60 each making you a tidy profit on very little layout.

      Now, charity shops & car boot sales are great but this will only get you a small extra income as there are a limited amount of shops/markets & believe us there is a lot of competition for those garms! This is where your first up scale step is. Your next step is making bigger money and creating a living from this, that is where we, the Vintage Wholesaler, come in!

      WHY BUY FROM A WHOLESALER?

      This is simple, we know what we are doing, we have been there & are ready to help you boost your sales. If you're reading this you're already talking to the largest wholesaler of second hand clothing in Europe with a past record of extremely successful stores both on the high street and online.

      As we have been in the industry selling second hand clothing since 1997, we have access to the biggest charity sorting factories across the world from the likes of USA, Pakistan, Italy and Germany. We already know what sells and where to sell it - from market stalls to different online platforms. What might sell on Depop for £50 will not sell on eBay for half as much & vice versa, so buying correctly is very important if you want to sell correctly.

      One of the main reasons we are putting this guide together is to help you guys buy the right product and reduce your disappointment in us if you get this wrong. Our monthly return rate is very low at around 3% which means if we sell 100 sacks a day we get around 3 sacks returned. These are mainly because of customers buying incorrectly or misunderstanding that in our low cost sacks & bales you may find a few damaged items or items that need to be laundered, as of course these are all pre-loved items. For these customers, coming to visit us in the worlds' largest handpick warehouse to pick your own stock, either in person or via WhatsApp video handpick, is a much better option.

      Another reason to use a wholesaler is that we have tapped into clothing markets abroad and import the finest Italian stock in huge quantities of USA college sweaters & workwear, fine Italian brands like Versace & Armani or street brands like Stone Island. We have them all under one roof in our massive Hull-based warehouses.

      SO...SACKS, BALES OR HANDPICK?

      SACKS & BALES

      Our biggest profits are to be made from our sacks & bales. These are roughly half the price of all handpick prices. Why is that? It's simple, you're buying a raw mix of a certain category at a very low cost per piece. In our 25kg Tommy Hilfiger & Ralph Lauren Brand Mix for example, you will find a great mix of polo tees, shirts of all kinds, fleeces, sweatshirts, knitwear, shorts & heavy jackets during all seasons. It's a great mix that delivers in value. With the chance of receiving up to 70 items in this sack, these garments work out as little as £7 per piece, enabling you to maximise your profits. Items found in this sack are best to be split over eBay & Depop for sales. Items like fleeces, jackets, spellout sweaters & some knitwear, when found, are sought-after Depop items. Pieces like Polo Sport jackets and Harringtons are perfect Depop money makers. In contrast, polo tees, shorts and Ralph puffer jackets are better placed on eBay as they are non-sellers on Depop due the age demographic. If marketed correctly, you are guaranteed to see the profits come rolling in!

      A sack like Tommy & Ralph should create you a min £10 per piece profit (after fees & postage) and should take around 2 weeks to sell, netting you a return of around £1200 with £700 clear profit! Please remember, some items will sell for much more & some for less & some may not sell at all due to the season or damage.

      You also have to take into consideration that these are raw sacks. These are all second hand clothes and will show some signs of wear; this may be bobbling, surface marks that will wash out or there's a very small chance you may find some damaged items.

      Sacks & bales are an amazing way of upscaling your business & fast! Buying a mixture of 3 different bales and splitting them on eBay & Depop at £10 per piece, will easily create you £700 profit a week (sounds impossible? nah!) All this is is 10 pieces a day sold - that doesn't sound too hard now once you break it down!

      SACKS & BALES - BUY THEM CHEAP, FLIP THEM FAST & CHEAP, MAKE BIGGER WEEKLY PROFITS - IT'S A SIMPLE NUMBERS GAME!

      Now if you cannot see past the small amount of damaged & dirty items or just want to buy on season or just one type of garment like just Spellout Sweaters, sacks are not for you. You're much better off coming in to handpick & as your luck should have it, we have the biggest handpick warehouse in the world!

      HANDPICK WAREHOUSE

      This place is designed mainly for the Depop & eBay market & it's huge. We open around 100 sacks & bales a day to keep this area topped up! You will find every item from branded fleeces, quarter zip Ralph Lauren jumpers, Tommy Hilfiger jackets right the way through to 90s spellout tees & sweaters, it's all hung or laid out in cages categorised for your ease. Don't get us wrong, the prices per piece are slightly higher but the process allows you to pick specific items depending on the direction of your business.

      Our handpick warehouse is vast, and will take at least all day to rummage through. We have on average 6 handpickers in per day and there is always enough for everyone. Every 2 weeks we remove the over picked stock and send it to a huge National Kilo Sale Company & never put this into sack or bales!

      We provide free food and drinks onsite for all handpickers in our brand-spanking new canteen. If traveling in via train, we can collect you & drop you back at the station ensuring you're looked after throughout your day with us.

      SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK...SACKS, BALES OR HANDPICK?

      As we've already mentioned, our sack & bale return rate is around 3 a day & this is mainly due customers having purchased incorrectly or have not read our terms and conditions which state that they may find a small amount damaged/dirty items in them. If you're purchasing this way with the expectation that every item will be perfect to sell solely on Depop, you must realise that this may not always be the case with all of the pre-loved garments you receive in our sacks & bales. We have a huge team of expert graders who take care to make sure you receive great sacks & bales, and want to come back for more! If you're wanting the freedom of choosing your own stock, we recommend you book in for a handpick appointment, either in person or via video call.

      When buying, you must be aware we are here to make you guys money & we only make money from our vast amount of long-term returning customers.

      We don't offer refunds on returned sacks or bales. Instead, we are more than happy to offer an exchange for a product more suited to your needs or a handpick appointment either in person or video link.

      If you have any sales enquires please send them to us via our Instagram @bulkvintagewholese

      HAPPY BUYING & SELLING GUYS!

      From rags to riches? Second hand clothing restrictions in East Africa

      From rags to riches? Second hand clothing restrictions in East Africa

      On a recent trip to Kenya, my interest was caught by the ‘mitumba’ (Swahili for ‘second-hand clothing’) stalls. You find them clustered in the vivid, bustling and dust-filled markets at the centre of each town, and even dotted along residential streets. There was a strange dissonance between the unfamiliar surroundings and the rows of  branded t-shirts and shoes, just like you might find in any clothing store in Bristol, festooning the stalls.

      Indeed, some of items I saw hanging there could very easily have previously been worn by people in the UK, and I found myself thinking of the journey these clothes had taken to become mitumba. The markets seemed very popular, an integral part of everyday life – but I had also read that there was growing interest on the part of African governments to ban imports of second-hand clothing and shoes.

      Clothes hamper?

      On the face of it, mitumba is a win-win. It provides an outlet for discarded clothing from the West, enabling it to be reused rather than recycled or downcycled; and it offers access to cheap clothing for people who need it. However, there is an apparent tension here between environmental good (clothing reuse) and an economic harm, with cheap second-hand imports accused of hampering the growth of domestic clothing manufacturing – hence governmental interest in a ban.

      Each player in this global supply chain stands to be affected in a different way by a potential ban: western clothing donors, western recycling businesses, second-hand clothing retailers, and would-be clothing manufacturers in Africa, not to mention the local clothes-buying. What would a ban mean for all of these competing interests, and is it a sensible approach?

      Breakdown of communiques

      The possibility of a ban on second-hand clothing was first raised by the East Africa Community (EAC), comprising Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, in February 2015. A joint communique from the Heads of State requested the council of ministers to study the possibilities for the promotion of domestic textile industries and the prevention of imports of used clothes. The response from the Council of Ministers came in a policy report with a number of recommendations, including a proposal for a 3-year plan to phase out of used clothing imports. Then in March 2016, the EAC Heads of State issued a subsequent Joint Communique from the 17th Ordinary Summit, expressing their intent to eliminate importation of used clothing as a means to support the region’s textile industry.

      What has been implemented since has not (yet) amounted to a ban but there has been an increase in the Common External Tariff (CET) rate for worn clothing. It has risen from USD 0.20/kg to either USD 0.40/kg or 35% of the declared value of the goods, whichever is higher, with Rwanda applying an even higher tariff rate of USD 2.50/kg. Kenya has since declined to implement the higher tariffs for fear of losing the benefits of duty-free trade with the US under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).

      Though some imports continue, it is now more difficult for ‘western’ countries, including the UK, to access what has been a key outlet for used clothing since the 1980s. From an environmentally and socially conscious UK consumer’s perspective, the thought of serviceable clothes getting a second life in Africa certainly seems preferable to them ending up in the residual stream, or being downcycled into rags. Recycling businesses have also been keen to highlight the environmental benefits of sending items for re-use. The American Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) successfully lobbied the US government to take action over the potential ban. This response from SMART is unsurprising as the EAC forms a key market for their product, accounting for 12.5% of global imports of used clothing.

      Restrictive clothing

      In reality, in the short-term clothes recycling businesses may respond to the tariffs by flexing their prices downward, although this can only go so far before it becomes economically unviable. There is little indication that this has been necessary to date: Let’s Recycle reports that “Despite currency and demand fluctuations in overseas markets, demand for used clothing from the UK has remained generally good”. Perhaps, mirroring the reaction of the secondary materials markets to China’s recent recycling restrictions, textile exporters have reduced their reliance on the EAC and expanded into other second-hand clothing markets, such as India and Malaysia. However, just as China’s recycling restrictions have led some to question the reliance on export markets for reprocessing, disruption to the global used clothing market might provoke debate over whether second-hand clothes can be managed closer to home. Better still, could it incentivise a move away from disposable clothing, thereby reducing the need to find second-hand markets at all.

      Having considered the impact of bans from the producers’ end, what does it mean for the people and markets in the EAC? It is estimated that two-thirds of the population buy used clothing, as a means for low-income households to accessing good quality clothes at a cheap price. If the removal of the second-hand clothing supply led to an increase in prices, it would impact a large proportion of consumers. Furthermore, the complex redistribution supply chains within the EAC, whereby used clothes trickle down from importers to local markets and consumers, sustains a great many jobs. Estimates for Kenya alone suggest that used clothing sustains 121,000 direct and 27,000 indirect jobs within a working age population of some 27 million.

      The EAC’s goal in looking to phase out second-hand clothing is clearly to promote the development of domestic textile industry, and thus stimulate the domestic economy and drive job growth. Given that the EAC countries rank amongst the lowest GDP per capita in the world, these are reasonable goals; developing countries have generally struggled to move beyond primary industries and establish their own much-needed manufacturing base to extract more of the value of their resources. Two of the standard reasons for protectionism are to nurture industries that a country is seeking to establish, and to restrict “dumping” of under-priced imports onto the market, and the argument that the saturation of the market with low cost alternatives undermines domestic industry seems plausible.

      Dressed for success?

      But will the phasing out of second-hand clothing imports be effective in delivering development? The situation is complex, affecting numerous players across the supply chain in ways that are difficult to predict: possible losses in the used clothing sector must be weighed against the potential gains elsewhere. Of course, even if the mitumba trade is greatly diminished by bans or tariffs not all of the mitumba jobs will disappear. The majority of employment is in the sale of used clothes at local markets, and similar roles are likely to exist, whether people are buying used or new clothing.

      The big question is whether the EAC measures will in fact stimulate the domestic textiles industry. Even if you believe tariffs can help provide space for an industry to develop, the EAC’s approach has a critical flaw: tariffs apply only to second-hand clothing. China has increasing influence in the region, and is a potential source of cheap, brand new clothing. There is a real risk that Chinese exports, rather than nascent local manufacturers, could be the beneficiaries of the EAC’s actions.

      Of course, this could be addressed by expanding the restrictions to apply to new and used clothing equally – but that might carry greater risks of trade retaliation. Another consideration is whether a gradual imposition of restrictions, rather than a step change, might allow time for the development of domestic production infrastructure and capacity, and to provide all those who currently rely on EAC’s second hand clothes system with more opportunity to adapt.

      The EAC’s actions to date, however, should be a reminder to westerners of the need to consider the implications of our ‘throw-away’ culture. Our attempts to be socially and environmentally responsible within that culture can backfire. Giving away our unwanted clothes to support good causes and providing people with a cheap alternative to buying new may place us on the upper rungs of Lansink’s Ladder; but we need to ensure that our efforts don’t amount to dumping our problems on the developing world. There’s more that can and should be done – not least, focusing on reducing the amount of waste clothing we produce – to make our practices truly sustainable.

      Article by Hattie Park

      How Champion Became One of the Coolest Brands Around—Again

      How Champion Became One of the Coolest Brands Around—Again

      The century-old sportswear company was perfectly poised for a comeback.

      It would be hard to overstate how popular Champion sweats were back in the '90s. Even at the time when there was only a fraction of the number of clothing brands that there are now, there weren't many labels that had Champion's insane demographic reach. It was the uniform for jocks and preps, but also for skaters and hip-hop heads. Champion was all over the hardcore punk scene, but it was just as popular among jam band fans.

      "You didn't even have to put it on racks back then," says Manny Martinez, Champion's global brand ambassador and one of its biggest superfans. According to old letters from the company archive, he says, "stores would crack open a box and just put the box out and the people would buy it out of the box."

      After the brand's peak around the turn of the millennium, people weren't exactly mobbing stores for Champion sweats anymore. The market had fragmented into a thousand pieces, each of which was tended to by a host of new athletic companies catering to niche clientele.

      Anyone who watched '90s nostalgia swallow the fashion world whole could have guessed years ago that Champion was due for a revival, so it was no surprise to see its iconic logo start popping up recently on fashion-forward media stars and trendsetting Instagrammers. What is surprising is how well the brand has been able to leverage this new surge of interest into one of the most impressive comebacks of any label in recent memory. In certain corners of the style world, Champion seems almost as ubiquitous as it was during its heyday. According to Martinez, that's no accident.

      "It was a plan that started almost 12 years ago," he says. "I came in to Champion 12 years ago as an intern. My whole thing was to take it from an urban phenomenon to pop culture. Because that's what I always believed the brand was. That's what it meant to me as a kid. And that was my mission."

      One key element in the brand's comeback has been a barrage of headline-grabbing capsule collections with a broad range of collaborators, from streetwear legends (Supreme, Undefeated) to fashion troublemakers (Vetements), and from Japan (A Bathing Ape, Monkey Time) to Scandinavia (Wood Wood, Beams). The collabs not only kept Champion's name in everyone's mouth, but also highlighted the brand's versatility. Weekday cropped the iconic Champion sweatshirt, Supreme covered it in allover print, and Vetements added tears and its signature droopy sleeves. But they all still read loud and clear as Champion sweatshirts.

      Now, Martinez says, "I think we're in a golden hour. The brand doesn't actually need collabs right now. Not that we don't appreciate them, but now is when the brand can live on its own. When you see Kylie Jenner wearing the brand on her own, it's not because it's a collab. You see people wearing it because it's Champion. That's the beauty of it."

      In 2019 Champion turns 100, and its creative team is making full use of the brand's deep history. They're also doubling down on the brand's core design principles and egalitarian vibe. While fashion geeks and hardcore Champion heads climb all over each other to cop limited edition upmarket collabs, the brand's main collection continues to serve up classic silhouettes drenched in the label's history,

      with a few tweaks here and there—like polka-dotted hockey jerseys—to keep things modern. And it all comes at easily attainable price points. "It's like having a new brand with a hundred-year history," says Martinez.

      The apparel game has changed substantially since Champion was founded. These days, Martinez says, "designers are making stuff that hits, then they gotta go onto the next platform." In this environment, one of greatest the luxuries the Champion team has is the ability to stay put. "We're known as the kings of fleece," Martinez says. "We want to stay within that realm, and we'll take it from there."

      Article by Miles Raymer for Esquire.

      Link for our 25kg Champion Mix - ON SALE at just £400!