Anyone who’s been around babies knows that they quickly outgrow every item of clothing. One cost-effective strategy for keeping a kid well-dressed is recycling, either by accepting hand-me-downs from family and friends or by shopping for bargains at thrift stores and other resale outlets.
Sharon Schneider and Sandra Pinter wanted to offer a third option. Their Good Karma Clothing for Kids provided a central repository from which families could
rent slightly used, high-quality garments in the proper sizes, as needed. It was the Netflix of baby clothes: The company owned the clothes; families merely borrowed them for a fee. But the idea didn’t fly. Parents liked the core concept, but they stressed out over caring for clothes they didn’t own. So Schneider and Pinter switched to buying and selling used clothes instead — and that made all the difference.
In July 2012, they relaunched the business as Moxie Jean, an online reseller of “upscale” kids’ clothes. Parents nationwide can now buy brand-name clothing online and send in gently used items in exchange for cash or credit. Under the new format, Schneider says, “business is going like gangbusters,” with sales increasing at a rate of 50 percent per month.
The co-founders describe Moxie Jean as “a place for clothes with an exit strategy”: great clothes from favorite brands and designers, in the sizes needed (from newborn to size 8). When a kid outgrows an item of clothing, the site will often buy it back so another one can wear it.
Schneider and Pinter want Moxie Jean to make buying used clothing as chic as shopping at a boutique instead of as dreadful as digging through piles of old and worn items at a thrift store in the hopes of finding a few gems. By helping people get extra mileage from baby and kids’ clothes, Moxie Jean also has a green angle, aiming to reduce the total number of new garments manufactured and consumed.
Of course, some retail stores offer similar services in various communities. But Schneider and Pinter believe their type of business needs to be online to achieve the necessary scale for continued growth. Their rationale: Local shops for used baby clothes are geographically limited in foot traffic and supply. Moxie Jean is not. It can meet the needs of buyers and sellers all over the country, potentially achieving enough scale to survive — and create meaningful change in the way kids’ clothes are purchased.