side hustle

VICE Side Hustle: I Tried To Sell My Underwear Online To Pay My Rent

(Spoiler: I Failed).
Getty/ edwardmallia and Tom Kelley Archive

Everyone knows it: we’re in a cost of living crisis. Turns out a pandemic, an older generation obsessed with owning everything, and multiple catastrophic recessions don’t do great things to the economy.

So VICE is trying to figure out what our options are.

We’ve been hearing it over and over for the last year: The cost of living is going up while wages are stagnating. The news cycle loves to cater to our anxiety-inducing, never-ending journey to demise: Fuel is more expensive. Food is more expensive. Rent is more expensive.


Goddammit, we know.

For the last 6 months to a year – after paying for rent and bills, and buying groceries (I honestly wish I didn’t have to eat to survive at this point) – not much is left in my bank account for anything other than pity-drinking and the odd party to forget about it all. 

So I started thinking: How do I make more money? Or more accurately, how do I make more money without having to leave my room, physically talk to or interact with people (years of hospitality has made small talk enemy number one) or add dozens of extra hours onto my already 38-hour work week.

The first thing that came to mind was selling my underwear online. It’s something I had been thinking about for awhile.

I finally took the leap due to an inconspicuous TikTok. Actually, a couple of viral videos on TikTok by this guy named Pilipili, who’s made a habit of interviewing beautiful girls and asking them how much is in their bank accounts.

It always goes something like this:

“How much is in your bank account?”


“$300,000?! How do you have that much money?”

“I sell my underwear on Sofia Gray.”

Being that I am impulsive and (slightly) stupid, I didn’t realise it was probably a covert ad for Sofia Gray – “the world’s number #1 marketplace for buying and selling used panties”. I should have read the comments: “This is obviously an ad”. I didn’t do any research on how hard it would actually be or what to do. I had a $40 subscription (which paid for three months) within 5 minutes. 



So this is when I actually started doing research, beginning at the logical place and googling, “How to sell underwear online.”

The first thing I found was that my dreams of making $300,000 were slim. Most first-time sellers were likely to make maybe $200 per month (if that), and it would be a slow start. In fact, sellers already with a loyal and avid following on sites like OnlyFans or Instagram were more likely to be successful. I had neither of those. 

I also found that Sofia Gray was neither listed in the top underwear selling sites nor did it have good reviews. 

“70% of the SG "buyers" were spammers & scammers, 20% of them are timewasters, and the rest are nice buyers I loved chatting with... but it's not worth having to deal with all of the bs,” read one review.

“This is not the site to go to if you actually want to sell your used clothing,” read another. 

Damn. But I had already paid for a subscription, so I pushed ahead.

To set-up an account on Sofia Gray, you first have to set a name for your shop, answer a Q&A (which involves a few “naughty or nice” questions), verify your identity (this is optional), and start uploading either free or premium content. 

We Asked a Man Who Pays Women For Used Underwear: Why?

Buyers are able to access your premium content for a price – which you set. They’re also able to unlock messages with you for 7 days, also at a price which you set. 

My marketing sell (and the name of my shop) was – and thinking back to it I’m shaking my head in disgust – “Golden skin island girl”. Fucking hell, Ugh. Yes, I fetishized myself, and no, I didn’t feel good about it. That is the idea though. To work with your strengths and separate yourself from the already over-saturated market.


I put up a pic with my ass in red, lacy lingerie. If you try and find it now, you won’t, because (spoiler) I’ve deleted it after selling nothing. I set the price to $30 (which seemed to be about the average according to other sellers' shops) and wrote an extremely forward description. 

Throughout this process, anonymity was extremely important to me. One problem, though, was that I had tattoos all over my chest. It really limited the poses I could do. Nevertheless, I uploaded my first pair of underwear.


And then I waited. Waited for the people to come. After a few days of this and receiving no messages (and feeling deflated), I went back online to do a bit more research. 

After reading various articles, one thing became clear: selling underwear is not a waiting game. You need to be proactive. It does, actually, take WORK. Oh God.

There’s a feature where you can search buyers, message them and bring them to you. On Sofia Gray, there’s a 10-message limit per day. I found the most active buyers and sent a copy and paste message. 

“How are you? I’m new on this app and looking for new friends. Would you like to talk, have a look at my profile and see what you think :)” I wrote. If you can’t tell, I was going for innocent and naive.

I also read that Reddit has an extensive community of people looking to buy, so I made an account with the a name along the same lines as my shop, “Golden Skin Island Girl” (ugh) and posted a link to my profile in a few of the subreddits. This included: r/usedpanties/ and  r/panties, both of which have hundreds of thousands of members.


At this point I was beginning to wonder whether this was going to be more work than I had originally thought. I was putting in hours after my 9-5, combing forums, messaging people, taking photos.

Was it really worth it? Was it as easy as I thought it would be? I was having doubts. Despite this, I continued, loyally sending messages, combing the internet, working on my marketing. Again, I waited. 


After another week or so I received my first message from a user named “carlos”: “Hey, do you sell panties+masturbation vials or socks?”

In my innocence I asked what a “masturbation vial” was.

“A vial that you piss or spit in.”

I will not go into the ins and outs of this conversation but, basically, we agreed on a few items, I set the price and then…he ghosted me. 

This seemed to be a shared experience across Sofia Gray. In fact, there are whispers that most buyers on the app are not there to actually buy. When combing through buyers profiles it’s not uncommon to see bios that aim to redirect sellers to third-party apps – like Kik, or Whatsapp, or Signal – in order to avoid the messaging fee that you can set on your profile. 

Mine was set to a measly $1 for 7 days. It seemed many buyers were looking for free sexting sessions rather than underwear. This happened a few times to me and was an incredible waste of time.

At this point it had been about a month and a half. I was bored, fazed and disillusioned. I decided to give-up. I didn’t have time to waste on something that wasn’t fruitful. I stopped putting in the hours. I was losing interest.



I learned many things on my journey to a profitable side-hustle (which this wasn’t). 

Firstly, selling underwear online (in my experience) is not as easy as people – or the internet – makes it seem, especially when you’re a newbie like me. It takes a lot of work and ultimately ends up being an extra job outside of your job. You have to put in just as many hours contacting, promoting, and messaging as you would working a 9-5. I would say, however, that if you already have a successful OnlyFans or large following on Instagram, it would be a lot easier. So go for it.

Secondly, I learned that researching before you buy any type of subscription is key. Sofia Gray, though it markets itself as one of the largest used underwear marketplaces on the internet, would not be the first place I would go. Sniffrs, I’ve read, provide a bit more success for buyers, as did Etsy (which I’ve actually seen referenced as the best place to sell). 

The $40 membership for 3 months is also a hefty price to pay, considering that most people won’t make that back. The site also charges for further promotion (which is almost necessary considering the over-saturation of sellers). It’s unlikely that buyers will find you without it. They certainly didn’t find me. The site also doesn’t let you remove money until you reach $50 USD, which I came nowhere close to. 

Lastly, and this is something I could have been better at: it takes consistency, patience, avid relationship building and, yes, more time. I lose interest in things quickly if they’re not working out in my favour. This was one of those times. It’s likely that a month and a half was not long enough to build a loyal fan base or a diverse shop. 

In the end, my goal was to make money quickly, but that was a pipe dream, an endeavour that became a mirage of hope. I’ve come to know that now. If you’re in the same mindset as me, selling your underwear is not some quick-money-easy endeavour. It takes work. Work that I’m not prepared to do.

If you are though. Good luck. I hope you do better than me.

Follow Julie Fenwick on Twitter and Instagram.

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