Alex Lunt tests the secondhand market
Children grow so quickly that almost every season of every year could call for a new wardrobe. As new clothes come in, outgrown clothes end up in bags, wardrobes or attics far longer than they should (or worse, piling up in landfill). The pop up of kidswear resale sites has made being sustainable in how we shop much easier, actually quite addictive (!) and all whilst saving money. Win win.
In my journey to clear out my children’s wardrobes in the most sustainable way possible, I’ve discovered some new, and acquainted myself with some already well known, resale sites. Here is a round up of my top 5…
Who they are: A family to family second hand marketplace and community for kidswear. You list your items yourself, and send them directly to the buyer when they sell. You can also donate and recycle via their platform too. Simple process and hassle free.
What they charge: No fees for listing or for buyers, and a 15% commission of any sales made. It’s worth noting that you don’t get paid until the end of the month if you sell with Dotte.
What sets them apart: Well known for some of the most desirable brands like Bobo Choses and Mini Rodini popping up regularly (at a fraction of the price), but they also stock some high street heroes like M&S and Clarks. In addition, they have a great “resale collective” initiative where you can be rewarded directly from their (well known) partner brands if you resell any of their items via Dotte.
Who they are: A shop based in North London with handpicked pieces by the owner who sources the majority of stock from local parents herself. A real life shop you can actually walk into and browse (as well as shop online, of course), with the added bonus of being able to swap your tots’ clothes there and then for either store credit or cash. This does mean that you have to be London-based to get the full shopping experience though.
What they charge: They offer either 40% of the overall resale value in shop credit or 30% in cash.
What sets them apart: Unlike some of the other resellers out there, Tot Swap Shop buy stock upfront so there is no waiting around for items to sell before you get the cash for them. The ability to instantly swap outgrown items for clothes in a larger size is a very appealing concept and they also operate a buy-back scheme where, if you bring back items in the same condition as you bought them in, you will get 40% of their resale value in shop credit.
Our tip: follow Emma @totswapshop on Instagram to see the latest listings!
Who they are: The Octopus Club is a UK marketplace for not only clothing but all things maternity, baby & kids.
What they charge: It’s free to join and to list, and there are no added fees for buyers. 10% of each sale goes to The Octopus Club and there is a payment processing fee. It takes up to 10 working days for sellers to receive their money.
What sets them apart: You can find anything you need for your parenting journey here – clothes, reusable nappies, breast pumps, cots, toys, books, bouncers, bikes, baby carriers – you name it. Apart from being a second hand marketplace, they also support their community with parenting content on social media, collaborating with industry professionals on a range of subjects like breastfeeding, birth preparation, going back to work post maternity leave, and more. And finally, they have their own benefits programme “Octoplus”, where members get access to favourite brands with exclusive discounts, as well as services such as babysitting and homemade frozen meals to your door.
Who they are: An online shopping site where you can browse and buy a carefully curated edit of pre-loved clothing and sell all of your unwanted kidswear. The Kids O’Clock App makes the whole process super easy, with real time alerts sent to your phone and the ability to sell your kids items on the go.
What sets them apart: The founder is an ex-fashion buyer so consider this your Vestiaire for kids clothes! You can list, sell and send the items yourself or if, like many, you are short on time, you can join Kidso’s “Golden Service”, where their dedicated team will do all the hard work for you. They will photograph, upload and respond to buyers’ questions on your behalf and you will receive 60% of the sale straight into your bank account. They also have a drop off service where you can donate and recycle clothing by dropping them off at selected stores.
Who they are: Something a little different, not for selling clothes but for renting (especailly if you’re after a more sustainable option) – The Little Loop is a rental marketplace for kids’ clothing which houses a large range of ethical and sustainable brands. Choose a membership plan which best meets your needs; whether that’s supplying you with a few pieces here and there, or sending you a full wardrobe at a time. Each plan gives you shopping credits to spend – you then receive those clothes and eventually swap them.
What they charge: Each plan has a different price tag which you can pay for monthly or quarterly, and this is all fully flexible where you can cancel or pause at any time. The plans range from £18 to £36 a month depending on how much you want.
What sets them apart: Unlike other hire services, you can send clothes back one at a time (although you pay postage). You can swap clothes for the next size up, new season or a completely new item “just because”. With the launch of seasonal pieces (like swimwear and skiwear), expensive necessary items each year are available at your fingertips for a fraction of the price.
Best of the rest
There are so many ways to shop smart for your children whilst still being able to find those brands and pieces that you really want. eBay, thrift +, Vinted, the NCT nearly new sales are all a big part of this second hand revolution. Bundlee are another great kids rental subscription fashion platform.
Selling in bundles. If you have a lot of one thing in the same age (like babygros, vests or T-shirts), Vinted is the place to sell. “Bundle” them together in category and age bracket and sell in bulk.
Save your searches = save time. Places like eBay allow you to save your searches and set alerts for your favourite brands so if you’re only after something specific you can shop second hand without trawling through pages and pages of pieces.
Buy back services. Some good quality kids brands like Toastie offer a pre-loved service where you can sell your used items back and they sell them on in ther Preloved section.
Renting. Some High Street brands, like ARKET for example, have partnered with Circos to provide a rental service of a selection of children’s products from current and previous collections. For a monthly rental fee, you can get access to an edited range of high quality clothing delivered directly to your door.