As I've gotten older, I've learned one key fact about shopping.
New is nice but “gently used” + saving money is waaaaay nicer.
Back in the day, consignment stores developed a bad reputation of taking practically anything saleable, marking it down, and selling it. Given enough time, you can find a home for anything. While I appreciate things not going straight into a landfill, it was hard to find quality if you needed it.
Another knock against consignment stores is that you were limited to what was available in your nearby area. So if you really wanted deals, you might as well skip the consignment store and head over to eBay.
thredUp calls itself an online consignment store with “thousands of new arrivals” every single day and aims to only sell “like-new” quality and confirmed authentic. (and they deal in just women and kids clothing though, so men are out of luck)
Is it worth it though?
Buying on thredUp: The Pros
Buying clothes on thredUP has a lot of positives going for it. Here are the ones I think make it worth visiting to see if there are any gems in the mix.
Decent quality clothes
My beef with thrift stores is that no one is really vetting the quality of the clothes. Once upon a time, I used to buy yoga pants from the thrift store for $0.50 apiece. They easily tore after one month of light use.
thredUp vets the quality of the clothing before they sell it to you. I haven't received anything that's been damaged, ripped, or stained. That's more than I can say about the thrift store.
No leaving the house!
The huge upside to online shopping is that you don't have to leave the house. I can shop on the thredUp app or online while I watch Netflix. Ahhh, convenience.
Find flattering styles quickly
I have a very specific body type. It's challenging to find flattering clothes that fit me. I used to spend an hour digging through thrift store racks, only to find maybe five pieces that would even fit.
thredUp has filters to help you quickly look for styles and colors. It's much faster and more convenient than sifting through racks at the store to find something that might work.
thredUp's clothes are cute, fashionable, and I know they're going to fit me well, thanks to measurements included on every piece.
Adorable and reusable packaging
I'm a total cheapskate. I love saving packing materials and using them to wrap presents. thredUp goes the extra mile with their presentation: they always wrap the clothes in adorable green polka dot paper. This is a small thing, but if you're out to save money, know that the packaging is super cute when repurposed.
If you're using the Honey Chrome extension (and you should be!), you can easily find a coupon code for thredUp. They're always running some kind of sale. In fact, I've never paid the full price at thredUp. Know that you can get their already-discounted prices even lower with coupon codes.
Buying on thredUp: The Cons
Like anything else, not everything with thredUp is perfect. The secondhand clothing retailer can improve in a few areas but these aren't dealbreakers for me.
Everything is slow
I admit Amazon has me spoiled with their two-day shipping. It's taken me up to two weeks to receive an item from thredUp. While the rational side of my brain is saying that's not a big deal, it still ticked me off. Buyers are eager to receive their items as quickly as possible. It just seems to me that thredUp isn't able to keep up with the demand.
Also, if you choose to sell to thredUp, it takes forever to hear back about your consignment pieces. I want to say it took nearly a month to hear back. I had actually forgotten I sent them anything.
Low payout for sellers
I know reselling used clothes isn't a great way to get rich. But I expected a little somethin' for my hassle, y'know? I'm glad thredUp at least offers free shipping for consignment, but I only got a $6 payout at the end of it all. And that was after sending in a huge pile of clothing.
I did use the credit to buy items I would actually wear, so that was a win. But if you want a decent payout and you want it quickly, it may be best to check out local consignments like Plato's Closet or Clothes Mentor.
Too much immediacy while shopping
Maybe I'm just being nitpicky, but thredUp only lets you keep items in your cart for 30 minutes. This makes sense since they sell consignment pieces with only one of each piece in their inventory. You can't stick something in your cart and come back to it later.
However, as a buyer, it's super frustrating! I like mulling over my purchases for a day or two. With thredUp, I only have 30 minutes before the item will be opened up to other buyers. They're definitely playing into impulse buying. If you can't control yourself, this could be an issue.
The dangers of buying online
As careful as I've been while buying through thredUp, I've had a few snafus.
Namely, it can be hard to see when a fabric is sheer with their photos. I absolutely hate wearing camis and undershirts, so this has been a problem.
Fortunately, I haven't had issues with sizing, since measurements are always included in each piece. Make sure you know your measurements before shopping on thredUp!
Selling on thredUp
I don't have any personal experience with selling anything (yet) on thredUp but when I read about the process, it seemed like they have gotten it down to a science.
If you're looking to simplify Marie Kondo-style and have a lot of clothes to sell, selling them one by one via Facebook groups or eBay can take a long time. And a lot of time. You might get more money for it but it's a very manual process.
With thredUp, you order a “Clean Out Kit.” You then fill out the bag and send it away via FedEx or the United States Postal Service. They are always looking for a variety of different products and take over 35,000 brands, so chances are they will be able to sell many of the clothes you send as long as they are in good condition. If you'd give it to your best friend, chances are it meets their condition standards.
Once they accept your item, you can edit the price you want to sell your items. They may offer you a lower price immediately, at which point you can accept it and get paid immediately. You don't have to wait for someone to buy it.
There is special treatment for “Luxe items,” or luxury designer brands where the item is listed over $100. Those are always sold on consignment and you get an extra 10% bonus.
When it comes time to get paid, you can get thredUp credit, a VISA prepaid card, or cash out on PayPal.
Seems pretty simple to me – you can sign up for yourself and get $10 off your first purchase.