By Tammie Schaffer
A trend has emerged in the last few months. People are using Instagram not only as a place to share snapshots of daily life but as a place to shop for their stash.
Just search Instagram for the hashtag #thegreatfabricdestash, and you’ll find more than 23,000 posts of fabrics looking for a new owner. It’s become a daily addiction for some, me included. The photos in this post are of fabric that I’ve bought in the last few weeks from several Instagram sellers.
It’s fun to browse the Instagram posts, looking for that perfect fabric or a super steal. Hard-to-find out-of-print designer lines also are offered up daily, sometimes for a pretty penny.
Instagram is a free app that allows you to take a photo and then share it on multiple platforms instantly. You can post a picture to your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr feeds all at one time. If you’re not on Instagram but don’t want to miss out on the fun, use a site such as Followgram to view the posts.
Erin Singleton, co-founder of Sewing Summit and creator of this successful Instagram event, is amazed at how her idea has grown.
“I got the idea for the Great Fabric Destash after seeing others destash their fabrics and wanting to do a little destash of my own,” Erin said.
In January, she made an image for the event and shared it on her Instagram and her blog, Two More Seconds. Erin hoped that if everyone held a destash at the same time, it could create some buzz. It worked, and with 23,245 posts and growing, the Great Fabric Destash shows no signs of stopping.
“I think I’m going to pick another date in the next few months to do another group destash one night, since the first one went so well,” Erin said. “But in the meantime, people are more than welcome to keep posting and selling their fabrics.”
When you’ve found a fabric you’d like to purchase, claim it by leaving your PayPal address, as well as any other information the seller requests, such as your ZIP code. If you are the first one to post, you have bought the fabric. The seller will send you an invoice, usually through PayPal. It’s polite to pay within 24 hours of receiving the bill.
If you’ve been searching for a certain designer or print, you might find it there. Try posting an ISO (in search of) photo of what you are looking for, and someone out there might have some they’d part with.
Have some fabric you’d like to sell? While there are no hard rules about using the hashtag, there are some common guidelines:
• Take a clear photo of what you want to sell. Explain precisely what you’re offering and the price. Be sure to state whether the fabric has been prewashed. And don’t forget to tag it with #thegreatfabricdestash.
• Offer exact measurements, unless you’re selling scraps. Then it’s acceptable to sell it by weight (say, $1 an ounce).
• Include where you are willing to ship to and how much you charge for shipping. A popular method is mailing U.S. Postal Service flat rate, which includes a tracking number and insurance. Because so many sellers offered only U.S. shipping, new hashtags popped up – such as #thegreatcanadiandestash and #greatukdestash.
• Consider using PayPal to send invoices and receive payments, which is what most sellers do.
• Delete the photo to remove it from the feed once the item has sold.
Pricing can be tricky. Are you just trying to make some room in your studio? You might price your destash lower to help it sell. Or if you have some really special pieces, hold a mini-auction, allowing people to bid top dollar for those rare gems. Just don’t forget to cover your shipping and packaging costs.
Some Instagrammers have even set up a second account strictly for destash fabrics – sparing your other followers a flood of fabric photos. Etsy shops and other sellers are using this platform more and more to drive traffic to their shops and give folks a little taste of what’s new that day. While this is not what the hashtag was initially intended for, it’s becoming a popular idea.
Whether you’re browsing, buying or selling, Instagram is another option to get your fabric fix.
Tammie Schaffer is a freelance writer who lives in Richmond, Kan. She writes every Friday. Visit her at Crafty Tammie.