Executive Briefings

How thredUP Upends the Thrift-Shop Concept

It's a sign of the times that an online secondhand apparel store is running a national TV advertising campaign - and that there is a large online secondhand apparel store to begin with.

How thredUP Upends the Thrift-Shop Concept

Back in the day, shopping at a secondhand store either meant you were watching your pennies - due to need or thrift - or that you were seeking a "vintage" look with clothes from somebody's grandmother's closet.

And while it's surely no coincidence that the idea for thredUP came to co-founder James Reinhart in 2008 - smack in the middle of the Great Recession - its arrival as a big player in the apparel space signals the growing prominence of a number of other cultural trends, namely, sustainability, sharing and simplicity.

Yes, thredUP is about convenient and affordable access to top brands and styles — on thredUP, shoppers can snag current styles for as much as 90 percent off first-run prices. But it's also about reducing occupied space in landfills, easing overfull closets, saving water, reducing the use of pesticides and dyes, and recycling.

And while there are many apparel companies now that are striving to recycle garments by turning them into something new, thredUP offers the opportunity to recycle without changing the garment, just the person who's wearing it.

To empty their bulging closets, sellers simply request a "Clean Out" bag from thredUP that arrives with a free shipping label and that they can fill and leave on their doorstep for pick up. Sellers have the option to select "donate," and turn their closets into cash for organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Feeding America, or they can receive site credit or a cash payout for a small fee that covers shipping and processing costs. Once the bag is received, the company takes it from there, photographing and pricing items using a proprietary algorithm and posting them online.

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Back in the day, shopping at a secondhand store either meant you were watching your pennies - due to need or thrift - or that you were seeking a "vintage" look with clothes from somebody's grandmother's closet.

And while it's surely no coincidence that the idea for thredUP came to co-founder James Reinhart in 2008 - smack in the middle of the Great Recession - its arrival as a big player in the apparel space signals the growing prominence of a number of other cultural trends, namely, sustainability, sharing and simplicity.

Yes, thredUP is about convenient and affordable access to top brands and styles — on thredUP, shoppers can snag current styles for as much as 90 percent off first-run prices. But it's also about reducing occupied space in landfills, easing overfull closets, saving water, reducing the use of pesticides and dyes, and recycling.

And while there are many apparel companies now that are striving to recycle garments by turning them into something new, thredUP offers the opportunity to recycle without changing the garment, just the person who's wearing it.

To empty their bulging closets, sellers simply request a "Clean Out" bag from thredUP that arrives with a free shipping label and that they can fill and leave on their doorstep for pick up. Sellers have the option to select "donate," and turn their closets into cash for organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Feeding America, or they can receive site credit or a cash payout for a small fee that covers shipping and processing costs. Once the bag is received, the company takes it from there, photographing and pricing items using a proprietary algorithm and posting them online.

Read Full Article

How thredUP Upends the Thrift-Shop Concept