In the early days of building the digital resale market Child, co-founder and CEO Dori Graff noted how brand loyalty influences consumer purchases, especially for children’s clothing. “Strong brands have very active buying, selling, and exchanging communities,” says Graff. “As soon as we saw the way mums talk about the brands they love, we thought brands were missing out by not being part of this.”
They start to cling. Last week, tea collection—a children’s brand so beloved that moms have created a fan group on Facebook—launched its own resale site called Tea Rewear, and it is powered by Kidizen. The Minneapolis-based resale platform (featured on TCA‘s Tech 20 in 2020) hopes to have 15 such partnerships established by the end of 2022.
“It will be a challenge for brands and retailers to have some sort of resale component in their offering,” Graff said. “We first try to capture all the children’s brands. We already have relationships and a community.
Established in 2014, Kidizen’s buyer and seller market is approaching 800,000. The pandemic has proven to be a powerful accelerator, with more people shopping online and turning to the second-hand market due to supply chain shortages and growing sustainability concerns. The second-hand clothing market is growing 11 times faster than traditional retail, according to market research firm Global Data, which estimates it will reach $84 billion by 2030, more than double the projections for fast fashion.
Patagonia may be the original among brands with their own apparel resale business, but others are starting to jump in. Womenswear brand Madewell has partnered with ThredUp on “Madewell Forever”, an online store offering its pre-worn denim, which customers can return. at a Madewell store or online for credit towards future purchases. Levi’s has launched its own Levi’s Secondhand e-commerce site.
“One of our jobs as a business is to know what matters to customers and to meet their expectations,” said Leigh Rawdon, CEO of Tea Collection, which founded the brand 20 years ago. Today, her $50 soft cotton hoodies and $40 dresses are sold in about 250 baby boutiques across the country. Rawdon said she had a long history of visiting consignment stores to ask about their best-selling brands. “I’m so proud if they say ‘Tea’ – it means the clothes retain their value.”
As the consignment moved online to sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, Rawdon said she was concerned that “the brand experience is not up to the standards that we would like.” The company thought about launching its own marketplace, but given the time and expense it would take to build and maintain it, Rawdon said it just didn’t make sense. “Kidizen solves this problem and allows us to create a brand experience where we can communicate quality and tell the story.”
Tea Collection doesn’t expect its resale site to move the needle significantly on sales, but “we won’t lose any money,” Rawdon said. “Tea Rewear is designed to climb the ladder.”
For Kidizen, the partnership creates a large following of brand-loyal shoppers. “It’s huge for us,” Graff said. Every day, more than 20,000 tea collection items are for sale on Kidizen, which makes its money by taking a percentage of each sale from sellers, who list their items for free. “We benefit from visibility, user acquisition and an additional sales channel.”
Children’s clothing is the fastest growing resale clothing category, according to GlobalData’s 2021 report.
As Kidizen’s base of individual buyers and sellers continues to grow, so do the company’s brand partnerships. Some brands are now using Kidizen to sell their returns and excess inventory, employing Kidizen’s “style scouts”, a team of 135 powerhouse salespeople across the country who scavenge stock from boutiques like Tea’s, list and sell items, taking a percentage of the sale as their fee. Graff believes the peer-to-peer strategy gives Kidizen an edge over bigger resale competitors like ThredUp and Trove.
Additionally, she said, “They all go for womenswear first. We say take it and leave the children to us.