I buy almost all of my clothing second-hand—both because it is inexpensive and because it's more sustainable (but mostly because it's cheaper). There is so much great used clothing available, that I rarely need to seek out something new. However, while I love the thrill of the hunt, shopping in thrift and consignment stores can be time-consuming. So, I was excited when I started hearing about online used clothing retailers last year.
There are many online retailers who are buying and selling used clothing, but I was drawn to and tried out thredUP; here's what my experience was like and some advice for buying and selling through thredUP:
Pre-pregnancy I ordered a closet clean-out bag from thredUP and sent off a pile of clothes. I was disappointed when my entire bag of clothing resulted in a sale of less than $20. (I would have been much better off taking my clothes to a resale shop like Beacon's Closet or Buffalo Exchange here in New York City.) However, I would later realize that if I had known more about thredUP, I would have had a better experience selling.
This summer I decided to try shopping the site, and I bought some baby clothes from thredUP. When the thredUP package arrived, I was very impressed: The clothes were pristine (one of three items still had its original tags on it) and the wrapping/collateral materials were just as nice as any major retailer's (if not nicer). When I saw the quality of the clothing, I realized that many of the things I had sent in were too used to be accepted. Here's my takeaway from my two experiences:
And, if you've never shopped second-hand before, this is a great way to start!
Wait for a discount code! After signing up for thredUP, I received a discount code for my first order—I was glad I waited to make my purchase.
But be prepared to lose out. If you wait, someone else might buy the item you have your eye on.
Manage your expectations about selling. This site is a super-convenient way to sell used clothes, but it is not the most lucrative.
When selling, do your research. thredUP lists which brands it does and does not buy. Don't send things that aren't on the list. For example, I sent in a bunch of Anthropologie items that were in great condition, but thredUP doesn't buy Anthropologie, which I could have discovered beforehand (doh!).
Only send pristine clothing. thredUP does not sell clothing that looks used.
Curious to try it out? thredUP has a referral program for users. If you sign up using this link, you'll get a $20 credit and so will I—a win-win proposition if ever I heard of one.