In a few short weeks I’ll be starting a new job that will require me to be in more formal attire. My work in a start-up was much more lax. So after clearing out my closet this past summer it was time to invest in more pieces to complete my work wardrobe.
Before my start-up CMO job I was working in consulting and traveling constantly. This meant a small carry on suitcase and packing light and versatile items that I would use over and over again for three weeks until I made it home to switch them out. It helped me learn to be an excellent packer and live with a minimal wardrobe. So I didn’t acquire many new items over the last 4 years.
Now that we have converted to a zero waste lifestyle I did not want to run out to the store and pick up new sustainable clothing to fill the gaps in my wardrobe. It’s expensive and in the end I think the most sustainable option is to use clothes already in rotation and give them a second life.
There is so much waste in the fashion industry. But countries like France are cutting down on it by prohibiting stores from destroying unsold clothing (check out this article to learn more).
So how can we as individuals do our part? By shopping thrift and consignment shops.
I’m short on time and looking for high quality items from brand that I know that I know will last me awhile. I wanted to try either Poshmark or Thredup, two online services that help making the process easier. But because they are only available to US customers I needed to wait until I was back in New York visiting family.
Postmark vs Thredup
I quite enjoyed the experience of making my account with ThredUp and ultimately decide to purchase from them instead of perusing the pages of the more well-know Poshmark.
There are a few reasons:
- User friendliness
- Higher quality goods
Poshmark feels more like the Craigslist or eBay of second hand fashion, where at ThredUp you feel like you are shopping at a retail location. At Postmark you buy directly from the seller, but at ThredUp you have more flexibility because you are buying through an intermediary. This makes it easier to get multiple items and have a different shopping experience.
If you are looking for one or two items Poshmark would be a great choice. It will take you longer to find what you are looking for, but I am sure there are some great items out there. I’ll have to explore them in more detail at a later date.
Setting up your profile with ThredUp
It was extremely easy to set-up my account with ThredUp. You answer questions about your size in different clothing items so that they can show you only products that are relevant to you. If you wish to browse outside of your size profile that is also available to you.
The website is extremely user friendly and offers great items. You can see if they still have the tag on and if the item has dropped in price with the graphics show above the images.
It’s quite intuitive to use.
Purchasing with ThredUp
You can save items with a heart while you are browsing and them reviews them to decide what you would like to purchase.
Once the items are placed in your cart you have 12 hours to make your purchase. The items are held for you until that time has past. When you are looking for items you can also check what someone else has in their cart in case you would like to wait and see if they decide to not make the purchase.
They also offer a service like Lookiero and Stitchfix called Goody Boxes. If you are tired of reviewing the pages of items they have listed you can order a Goody Box and send back anything that you don’t like. I haven’t tried it, but I quite like the idea.
Check out is a breeze, you have three payment options: credit card, PayPal, and Pay with Amazon.
What I got from ThredUp
I decided to take advantage of the 20% discount for first time buyers and free shipping if you spend over $75. (In the end I paid for shipping just to ensure I get the products faster as I will leave the country in a week’s time.)
|Unbranded braided leather belt
|Banana Republic leather belt
|Free People Jeans
|Brooklyn Industries Skirt
|Band of Gypsies Dress
|Banana Republic top
|Design History top
|Old Navy blouse
|Old Navy dress
I spent $158.93 (or 136€) for my total order, including the expedited shipping and taxes. Combining these 4 tops, 2 pants, 1 skirt, and 2 dress with the rest of my wardrobe will make for unlimited new outfit combinations.
Shipping with ThredUp
The standard free shipping didn’t meet my needs because the items would arrive in 3-8 business days. After the 1-2 days for processing the order. This is much slower than we are used when making purchases online. So be aware before you complete your order.
I opted for the 1-3 business day expedited shipping. In reality it arrived in X business days. Just in time for me to try them and head back to Spain.
I wish I had placed the order when I first arrived to give myself more time to make any returns necessary.
Delivery with ThredUp
The delivery was rather quick because I paid extra to have it arrive before I left the country. I would have preferred if it all came in one shipment in order to reduce packing materials.
Two pieces can first un paper bag wrapping and the rest of my order can in cardboard boxes. Everything can be recycled.
They send you a note in hopes of getting you to do marketing for them for free. I liked the experience so I don’t mind. But I think it could have been stated in a different way. It was a bit of a turn off.
Returns with ThredUp
Returns are EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE!! You have to pay almost $9.00 to them for any return you make that make this systems also a bit ugly.
I understand that it is a business cost for them, but it really lacks thought about the consumer. You are buying second hand and have really no idea what you are going to get and anything you send back is going to cost you more?
For me this was extremely inflexible and shows a lack of customer service. Especially in the same package they are trying to get me to recommend their service to others.
It reminds me of a client of mine who used their delivery prices as a revenue center instead of a cost center. I think to do business correctly, they should really be assuming these costs. And I’m sure it would increase their customer loyalty and retention.
Not being able to return your items without cost is also going to make unwanted items end up in your home cluttering your closet, while ThredUp benefits from your purchase. I’ll be keeping one dress that I would have liked to return. Let’s see if I can find it a new home.
My overall thoughts on ThredUp
I like the ability to make my purchases easily online, but like any online shopping there is a risk you might not like the items and they might not fit. The over inflated costs to return items make it an irrational purchase.
I think I’ll stick to shopping at slow fashion boutiques and in thrift stores.
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