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A Beginner’s Guide to Buying and Selling on Lace Market



Many of our readers will be familiar with Lace Market, undoubtedly the most important second-hand marketplace for Lolita fashion in the West. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out, it is a convenient place to purchase used dresses and other items as well as sell items that turned out to be not quite what you expected or don’t fit as well as you’d hoped.

How to get started

You don’t need to be logged in just to browse the auctions, but if you’re thinking of buying or selling on Lace Market, first of all you will need to create an account. In order to do so, find the “sign in” link in the upper right corner of the top page.

This will take you to the registration page.

Fill in the required information (make sure your email and PayPal email address are correct!) and click “sign up”.

That’s it!

How to buy on Lace Market

Now you’re ready to use the site! But with thousands of listings on the site, how are you going to find what you want?

Finding an item

You can either freely type your search terms into the search bar on the top page, or browse by brand, item type and so on.

There is also an advanced search option which lets you refine your search and also look at past listings.


Searching for “Angelic Pretty” turned up 1182 results. That’s a lot to browse! Try refining your search by adding search terms or choosing a category, limiting your price range and so on.

Once you see something that interests you, click on the listing to get to the item page.

Here you can place your bid or buy the item right away depending on what type of listing it is, or add the listing to your watchlist. “Watching” an item will allow you to easily keep track of different items you might be interested in, as well as get email notifications once an item gets resisted or the price drops.

You can also contact the seller either via private message or by leaving a comment on the listing itself in case you have any questions. Try not to leave just one word question like “size?” or “shipping?”, they can come off as quite rude. Using the words “hello, “please” and “thank you” goes a long way.

Read both the item description provided by the seller as well as their ToS carefully. All stains, defects and damages should be mentioned here. A lot of sellers will use official stock photos for their featured photo and provide additional photos of the actual item. Make sure to check the item condition via both photos and item description in order to know what you’re purchasing.

Some sellers only ship within their own country or continent, make sure to contact the seller before buying if you’re unsure whether they’ll ship to you.

Is the seller trustworthy?

Like on every other online marketplace, not all users on Lace Market are honest. Make sure to check the profile of the user you want to buy an item from before you bid or click buy-it-now.

Sellers with zero feedback are not automatically scammers or bad sellers (everybody was new at some point), but you may want to consider refraining from buying that rare $1000 dress from such a user just be safe.

General warning signs that this particular user may cause trouble include but are not limited to the following:
-Has negative feedback or the positive feedback turns out to be not quite so positive when reading the buyer’s comments
-Doesn’t provide proof photos (in this case you should ask the seller to provide some photos of the actual item they have in their hands, both to prove that they actually own the item and to see what condition it is in)
-Uses other people’s photos as proof photos
-Has a great number of rare/high-priced items for sale

What to do once you bought an item

Congratulations, you’ve won that auction or clicked that buy-it-now button. Once you bought an item on the site you are obligated to pay for it, so please make sure to ask any questions regarding item condition, size, shipping cost etc before buying. If you back out afterwards, the seller has the right to leave negative feedback for you. Do not try to haggle after you already bought the item. If you need a payment plan, discuss it with the seller before you purchase their listing as not every seller will be happy to offer one.

After you click buy-it-now or win an auction, either wait for the seller to contact you or contact them first. If necessary, negotiate shipping options and the final price. Make sure you understand what type of shipping you get – it is unwise to choose the most basic option without tracking and insurance.

Caution: Tracking means that you can track your package online and see where it currently is (be aware that depending on the shipping option tracking does not always update) and you can have the post office search for it if it should get lost on the way – you will not necessarily be able to claim a refund if the package does not arrive. Adding insurance means that you will be reimbursed for the lost item, but it usually costs extra. With some shipping methods tracking and/or insurance may already be included, so you should always confirm with the seller.

It is your responsibility as a buyer to understand and accept the risks involved with shipping an item uninsured or untracked – only choose basic shipping if you are prepared to accept the loss if the item does not make it to you.

Unless otherwise agreed the seller will usually send you an invoice for the total.
Note that sellers are not allowed to charge PayPal fees on top of the item cost and shipping as per the policies of both PayPal and Lace Market, and you should report sellers who do so to the Lace Market moderator team. It is not recommended to send your payment as a personal transaction as it does not give you the same protection as a business transaction.

Make sure to pay the invoice in a timely manner, preferably within 1~2 days if not agreed otherwise. Some sellers specify payment deadlines in their ToS, so make sure to check and adhere to their deadline.

You should keep in mind that most sellers on Lace Market are private individuals with jobs and other commitments who will usually need a few days to ship your parcel. Usually there is no need to worry if you don’t hear from them for 2~3 days after payment.
Once the seller has shipped your package, they will usually let you know that they did so and give you your tracking number if the shipping option you chose comes with one. Note that for some shipping methods the tracking does not update very often, so you may need to be patient and there is no need to panic right away. It is however a good idea to check the tracking periodically to make sure that the package doesn’t get sent back in case your post office messed up and did not leave you a redelivery notice.

You’ve got mail!

After your item has arrived, make sure to check it for major undisclosed damages. Keep the overall item condition in mind – an item sold as “minor damage” is more likely to have minor defects other than what is mentioned, and this should have been reflected in the price. On the other hand an item sold to you as “new with tag” should be exactly this (keep in mind that even some NWT items do come with minor factory defects). If anything is amiss, try contacting the seller to work it out. Depending on the situation, you may want to ask for a partial or even full refund if the item is in vastly different condition than expected.
However, do keep in mind that you’re buying second-hand items after all.

Don’t forget to leave feedback as well. If you’re not satisfied with the transaction contact the seller before you give them negative feedback so they have a chance to do something about it. If it was an ordinary transaction, a short “thanks!” or “Great seller, will buy from again” is sufficient, otherwise you can leave more detailed feedback.
If you had a bad experience and left negative feedback, sometimes sellers will retaliate and leave negative feedback as well. If you feel it’s undeserved, you can contact the Lace Market moderators and have it altered or removed (if they side with you).

And this concludes your transaction! On to the next!

How to sell on Lace Market

So you’ve been wearing Lolita fashion for a while now. Maybe some items you don’t like as much anymore, or a dress did not fit despite you checking the measurements.
Instead of having this stuff take up valuable wardrobe space, you might want to pass them on.

Listing your item

Click “Sell an item” on the top bar of the Lace Market top page.


This will take you to where you can create your listing.

Item title and primary category are mandatory. Add a subtitle and secondary category if necessary.
You should include the brand name and official item name (if you know it) in the item title and choose a fitting category (if you’re unsure just go with what you think fits best). If you’re listing a jacket and skirt set for example, you can set the primary category to “jacket” and the secondary category to “skirt”.

Tell your potential buyers about all known issues with the item in the main description field. Always be objective and check your item carefully! Especially items you don’t wear/use much may turn out to be in worse condition than you thought after you’ve thoroughly inspected them.

If you have specified your ToS, let users know to read them before buying as well. Include any other issues or things you’d like buyers to be aware of, for example shipping restrictions or any other information that may be relevant.

Add at least one photo. Always make sure to include photos you took yourself of the actual item that the buyer will receive (this is also specified in the official Lace market guidelines). Many users also add stock photos because their own photos may not look as appealing, this is completely acceptable if you also provide your own.

Now you’ll need to decide on the type of your listing.
Auction – set “accept bids” to “yes”, “Buy it now” to “no” and enter a starting bid
Buy-it-now – set “accept bids” to “no”, “Buy it now” to “yes” and enter a buy-it-now price
Auction with buy-it-now option – set both options to “yes” and enter both a starting bid and buy it now price (set your buy-it-now price higher than your starting bid, otherwise it makes no sense)

If you’re open to offers, you can set “Make an offer” to “yes”, otherwise leave it as it is. You may still get messages from users asking to buy your item at a lower price – just politely decline if you’re not up for it.

Decide on how long you’d like your listing to run – the most common is 7 days. Don’t choose the 14 or 30 days format for auctions, many users will most likely have lost interest by the time the auction runs out.

Now grade your item – there is an official Lace Market guideline regarding item condition. It is better to err on the side of caution, so if you’re unsure you should choose a lower rank to avoid hassle afterwards.

Choose the correct brand for your item. If the brand is not on the list, choose “handmade” for handmade items, “offbrand” for non-lolita brand items that are suitable for the style, or “Japanese/Korean/Chinese/Western/Other indie” if appropriate. If none of the categories fit your item, it may not actually be suitable to be sold on Lace Market.

You can check the boxes appropriate for your item in the following section if you like, but it is not a requirement.
If the item is on Lolibrary or still available online, include a link to the item page.

And then you’re done! Either save your listing as a draft or create your auction right away. If you get error messages, fix the errors and try again.
Note that you can’t edit anything on your listing once it has received a bid, so do make sure there are no major errors before your listing goes live. Don’t accidentally list your $200 item for $20.

What if your item just doesn’t sell

Now you’ll have to wait. Depending on what you’re selling you may have to be patient for quite a while before your item sells, or you may want to lower your price. Maybe have a look at past listings to see what your item sold for lately? Prices also change over time so it is likely that that popular print you bought three years ago for $400 is now only selling for half of that.

If you’re fine with lowering your item price at least 10%, you should use Lace Market’s “Drop price” feature located on the right side of your auction in the “selling” menu. If you use this feature, your listing will reappear on the top page where it will be seen by more people. Note that this won’t happen if you just lower the price via the edit function.

Finally! A Sale!

Once your item has sold, contact your buyer and discuss shipping options if shipping is not included in the price, as well as any other issues that may arise. It is strongly discouraged to send packages without tracking, especially for high-priced items, to protect both the buyer and the seller. Make sure your seller understands what kind of shipping they chose – you don’t want to be out both your item and your money in case anything happens to the package during shipping.

Once you’ve agreed on the total, invoice the buyer to their PayPal address. If the buyer has registered their Paypal address on their Lace Market account as required, it will automatically appear on your item’s page once it’s sold. Note that sellers are not allowed to charge PayPal fees on top of the item cost and shipping as per the policies of both PayPal and Lace Market. Buyers should report sellers who do so to the Lace Market moderator team.

In order to be covered by PayPal’s seller protection, make sure to only ship to the address attached to the buyer’s PayPal account. You can add the tracking number to the PayPal payment, but most buyers probably expect you to contact them directly once you’ve shipped your item.

After the item has arrived, you should leave each other feedback. You can leave as little as a simple “thanks!” as a comment or describe the transaction in detail if there was anything noteworthy. Always keep in mind that feedback also helps other potential buyers and sellers, so any information that may be helpful to others should be included.

And your transaction is finished!

Whether you’re a seller or a buyer, it’s helpful to always keep in mind that all kinds of people use Lace Market. Some may be very experienced sellers/buyers, some not so much, some are chatty, some are more business-like and prefer to communicate as much as necessary but as little as possible, some are not native English speakers. A certain degree of compromising is required (within reason!). You want that rare dream item of yours that only pops up once every five years? Well, you’ll have to adhere to the seller’s terms then. You want someone to take that dress off your hands that you haven’t worn in three years? So what if you have to exchange a couple more messages than you’d like. Just try to be nice and polite at all times.

Happy shopping!

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