New Moms Cash In on Old Clothes
An online destination helps new moms make money off their pre-mom wardrobe.
As many a mom can tell you, even when you lose the pregnancy weight, you might not fit into to your old wardrobe.
“Things have shifted,” said Jessica Grant of her post-pregnancy body.
But Grant, 35, a mother of three from Plainview, NY, and other moms have found a silver lining to this postpartum reality: They’re making easy money on their old clothes.
For the last six months, Grant has been selling clothes on Tradesy.com: a peer-to-peer online marketplace for new or lightly-used clothing, shoes and accessories. Grant was one of Tradesy’s early Beta users—the site officially launched in late 2012—and she estimates that she’s raked in just under $2,000 on sales of jeans, black pants and other wardrobe staples. She’s also sold a few high-end designer handbags for another $2,000.
But for Grant, it’s not just about making extra dough—it’s about freeing up closet space.
“I don’t have that large of a closet to begin with—the more I can clear out, the more space it allows me to buy new things,” she said.
Here’s how it works: Users take photos of their clothing, shoes and accessories and submit them to Tradesy, which polishes the photos by erasing their backgrounds. When an item sells, Tradesy sends sellers a prepaid shipping kit. After the item ships, sellers receive payments in special Tradesy accounts. Sellers can then transfer the money to Paypal accounts or use it to buy items on Tradesy.
Items are often priced up to 90 percent off their original retail prices. Tradesy takes a 9 percent cut of each sale. You’ll see a number of marquis brands featured on the site, but Tradesy is open to items of all brands.
Tracy DiNunzio, the CEO of the Santa Monica, CA, based company, says that many of the site’s 250,000 users are new moms. In addition to selling clothes that no longer fit their postpartum bodies, moms are selling maternity attire and professional outfits that—if they’ve left their office jobs—don’t see the light of day much anymore.
“Especially post-baby, when money can be tight, it makes a lot of sense for new moms,” DiNunzio said. “What we hear from our customers is it’s very cleansing for them to purge their closets.”
Of course, not every mom is inclined to part with all of her ill-fitting or impractical clothing—even Grant, who said she’s generally not sentimental about her wardrobe.
She has a pink and white poncho that worked well for her former urban lifestyle—think lots of walking—but isn’t so comfortable to wear under a seatbelt while driving around the New York suburbs.
“I love the colors of it and the memory that’s attached to it,” Grant said. “I don’t really wear it. I just have it.”
If you have clothes you are willing to part with, here are DiNunzio’s tips for getting the best bang for you buck:
Buy your wardrobe with resales in mind and invest in sturdier fabric. Once you own it, take good care of your garments so it’s in great condition by the time you’re ready to sell. “Look at your retail spend as a true investment that you know you can make money back on later.”
Current styles sell more easily, so sell your clothes as soon as you’re able; consider selling your pre-baby clothes while you’re still pregnant.
Take photos of your clothing at many different angles; on Tradesy, the clothing that is advertised with the best photos is more visible to buyers.
And DiNunzio has advice, too, for sentimental moms who just can’t let go of certain treasured items now collecting dust in their closets.
“It’s very hard to let go of pre-pregnancy clothes. It’s almost like admitting things will never be the same,” she said, “(But) it’s more symbolic than anything… It’s not a reality that you won’t be able to wear the same kind of clothes. You can always buy more.”
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