As a kid, my mom used every trick in the Motherhood Manual for making clothes fit as long as possible. "No honey, adding a ruffle on the hem of the jeans makes them look cool!" she'd insist. Or, "For heaven's sake, just roll up the cuffs," and of course the classic, "wear thick socks, you'll grow into them."
And as usual, she was right. Kids grow. Fast. ThreadUP, the online clothing swap shop WalletPop covered last year, is launching the "seeding phase" of its kid-sized style solution. No hemming or letting out seams required. Instead, ThredUP will enable parents to facilitate equitable clothing trades online. Members will list outgrown clothes (in good condition) in exchange for sizes and styles they need. Does junior need ski pants? Just ask. Do perfectly good clothes crowd closets and drawers? Box 'em up and ship 'em out. Starting now, beta users can earn a swap on the site for free.
The site just needs a little help getting started. James Reinhart, chief knitwit at ThredUP explains the dilemma this way, "Imagine if you went to eBay for the first time and there wasn't anything there. Or that you searched Craigslist for an apartment and there were none listed. That wouldn't be helpful. ThredUP Kids needs help "seeding" their marketplace, so that when members start swapping, there will be an ample selection of sizes and brands to browse and pick.
As a result, ThredUP is conducting a 1,000 box countdown. Once the site has logged at least 1.000 entries, they will officially launch. Each person who contributes one of the first 1,000 entries, or "boxes," will earn a credit on ThredUP.com equal to the price of one swap ($13). Free clothes! Motivated moms and dads who upload descriptions for five "boxes" worth of clothing will also earn a six-month ThredUP Pro membership valued at $20. Those participating in the beta launch will also have first dibs on getting started. WalletPop readers can use promo code WALLETPOP.
To begin, ThredUP requires users to order free Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box-O-FRB2 directly from the US Post Office Website, or pick them up at a local USPS location. Next, sort the clothes your child no longer wears by size and season and group them into packs of 10 to 18 items of like size and type (i.e. bottoms, tops). The point is to fill the box. A snow suit is going to take up more room in the box than six toddler t-shirts. As long as customers understand what they're swapping for, game on. Signing up to become a member is free, and once registration is complete, members can upload the description of their boxed items using an easy ThredUP format ("Mostly bottoms, boys 5/6, summer). Then you wait.
Once the site reaches it's 1,000 box starting point, swapping will commence. Beta users will be among the first to be able to shop the site and request a box of clothes. Similarly, once your box is chosen, you will be asked via email to confirm its availability. At that point, ThredUP will provide a link to print a shipping label for your box and schedule USPS pick up. The box will be picked up outside your door.
Quality control is based on the premise, "only send what you would be willing to receive." Similar to Ebay, ThredUP also asks users to review each box recieved in regard to quality, stylishness and timeliness. Each user's rating is displayed to other members when they are browsing boxes. The company says it will stand by its system, however, and if a customer complains about receiving a damaged or low-quality box of items, they will get a replacement box free of charge. ThredUP's website states that they have "low tolerance" for bad behavior and will ban abusers from the site if necessary.
Sandbox rules. Play nice and start swapping.
ThredUP offers free kids clothes and promo code for WalletPop