Libby is a jack of all trades, master of… well, you know how the saying goes. Media consultant by day, mommy by night, you can usually find her with a glass of wine in hand, provided the kids are in bed!
When I lived in the Dirty South, consignment shopping was a way of life. There were consignment stores for kids, for housewares, for high-end labels, for sporting goods – you name it, there was a shop in town that sold it. It made it easy not only to get great clothes at a great price, but to clean out my closet at the same time.
So when I heard about ThredUp*, I was intrigued – both as a potential buyer and seller. Since moving back to my hometown, I’d struggled to find a dependable place to sell my gently used clothing, plus who doesn’t like to save money when filling out their wardrobe? After all – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and that’s exactly what ThredUp is all about.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for an account. I’ve included my personal referral link in this post; if you use it, you’ll get $10 off your first order
- Start shopping! You can set a variety of filters to browse, including tops, dresses, bottoms, formal, high-end labels (ThredUp’s “X Collection”), children’s clothing, by size, by price… you name it, you can set search criteria to search for (or particularly exclude) something!
- Create your own “personal shop.” You do this by saving your search filters. This makes it easy to return to a particular size, style, or type of clothing with a single click – a huge time saver
- Add items to your shopping cart. You can only “reserve” items for 24 hours at a time – after that, you can either covertly remove and re-add every item from your cart, or simply allow your cart to empty automatically
- Once you’ve decided on your items, you can checkout just like you would on any other online store
After playing around with the website for several weeks, I decided to dive in, and have since experienced the shop as both a buyer and a seller, with mixed results.
My first purchase from ThredUp was a pretty hefty one – I bought 8 tops for a total of $114 and change. Because I bought more than $70 worth of items, shipping to me was free (more on return shipping later). Some of the tops were “Final Sale” – something that is clearly marked on the site – which meant I wouldn’t be able to return them whether they worked or not; everything else was returnable.
Of the 8 tops, only 3 worked. My grand total for those came to $35. ThredUp doesn’t cover return shipping, which means it’s up to you to pay. Ultimately, it cost me another $14 to send the 5 tops that didn’t work – some because the size was wonky, others because I just didn’t like them on me. So my total “out of pocket” cost for the 3 tops I bought was $49 – $35 for the actual purchase price, and $14 for the cost of returning the items I didn’t want to keep. I probably could have saved some money on the return shipping if I hadn’t added package tracking and insurance, but I didn’t want to be out for the entire balance.
ThredUp maintains that it meticulously inspects each item it receives in order to ensure it only resells items of the highest quality. However, after washing my new tops, I noticed a teeny, tiny hole in the armpit of one – an issue that was not disclosed at the time of purchase (ThredUp will let you know if an item has a minor defect; usually, prices on these items are further discounted than those that are in mint condition). I wasn’t 100% sure whether the item had a hole when it arrived at my house, or whether the tear occurred during the trying on/washing process, so I didn’t contact the company to complain – in hindsight, I probably should have.
ThredUp Buyer Grade: B-
After receiving my purchase in the mail, I decided I had several items in my closet that would fit the bill of what ThredUp is looking to sell. So I went through my wardrobe and cleared out items that I hadn’t worn in a while. I was careful to inspect each item for any snags, tears, or holes, and paid attention to the site’s consigning guidelines to ensure I was only sending them items that they would accept.
ThredUp sent me a “clean out” bag – along with free shipping – to send all my items in to them. They don’t use any type of expedited shipping for this, so it took a long time for the bag to not only get to me, but for ThredUp to receive it once I’d sent it back to them. Add on the 2 weeks it took for ThredUp to process the contents of my bag once they received it, and the whole process from beginning to end lasted close to 5 weeks.
If I wasn’t impressed with the timeline of the whole process, I was definitely left wanting once I saw the results. Of the 15 items – just about all of which were brands like Gap, Banana Republic, and J Crew – ThredUp only accepted 4 of them (including a high-label dress), and paid me just shy of $19. I could have tried to get the other 11 items back, but I would have had to pay $12… again, it just didn’t seem worth my money.
ThredUp Seller Grade: D
My Overall Experience
After all was said and done, I would definitely shop from them again – my first experience gave me a clear idea of how to use this site to maximize my wardrobe. As for the selling experience, NEVER AGAIN. The timeline, combined with having to pay to get my clothes back (while, I can only assume, ThredUp got a tax write-off for donating my unwanted items?), really left a sour taste in my mouth.
I’ve heard there are other sites out there like ThredUp, but I’ve yet to try them. Are you familiar with any of these online consignment stores? If so, which ones, and what do you think of them?
*Note* – This is not a paid review for ThredUp. I was not compensated by the company in any way for this post. I am simply sharing my opinions and experiences on the service and its products. I’ve used my personal referral link in this post.