Here’s What Happened when I used ThredUp
Since ThredUp popped up on my radar last year, I have been talking about them and enthusiastically sharing the company with my community of readers – more from a Buyer’s perspective rather than a Seller. The prices are good and a great option for back to school bargain shopping. I realized I needed to try all of their services so I could give a full scope honest review. So I went for it!
This past spring, it was time to do the annual Spring cleaning of my closet. Discard the old and bring in the new! So being a fan of second hand clothing, I decided to try a new direction and go with selling some of my items using ThredUp.
What is ThredUp?
ThredUp is a fashion resale website for consumers to buy and sell secondhand clothing online. For Sellers, ThredUP claims to pay out 20-40% for their Sellers clothes. ThredUP is part of a larger “Collaborative Consumption movement”, which encourages consumers to live in a more collective, sharing economy. Not sure what we’re sharing here, but OK! Founded in 2009 in Cambridge, Mass., company founder, James Reinhart, was rejected over 27 times by investors until it was finally backed by Goldman-Sachs for $81 Million. The company now has over $131 Million in funding.
How ThredUp works
I had been looking for my chance to clear out the old and hopefully, make some cash while I was at it. The process is pretty simple. You create an account with them online, request a clean out bag to be sent to you and Voila! it arrives in about 5 days for you to fill with your gently used clothes. You want to make sure you send in clothes that are CLEAN, on trend, good brands, etc. No junk, and they do specify which brands they don’t want on their website. You then seal the pre-paid bag and the postman will pick it up for you.
What Happens Next
I ordered my clean out bag on May 19, 2017, it arrived 4 days later. I promptly filled it with my carefully selected clothes and shoes, and sent it on it’s way on May 26th. And then waited. And waited. FINALLY, on July 19th, they processed my clothes and offered me a payment.
This is the payout I received after sending ThredUp over $3200 worth of clothes.
I logged into my account to find this: $42.05. I realize it’s $42 I didn’t have before, and I was rid a lot of clothes in my closet, but dummy me assumed this process was more like Buffalo Exchange. Nope. All in all, I am happy that my closet is lighter. But as a Seller, you don’t make out like a bandit. As a Buyer, on the other hand, well, there’s some serious deals to be had!
Is ThredUp Giving Back, or just a Scam?
I realized when sending this bag in, that I ran the risk of some items not being accepted, as it states on their website and policies, “unaccepted items are donated responsibly”. “Ok”, I thought, “I can be on board with that”. I see a photo of children, so I assume they are assisting a children’s charity? Wrong. The website continues: “We have high quality standards and typically accept less than 40% of the clothing we receive. Here is what happens to the unaccepted items:
Basically, the items you send in to ThredUp which aren’t sold through their online store are SOLD (elsewhere?) to recoup their “cost of labor” and any “shipping financial losses”, which I find odd because I and all of the other customers who use ThredUp PAY for the cost of shipping the bag out of their final payment. They also state that any items which aren’t accepted are “passed” onto 3rd party sellers for recycling. Which to me, means textile recyclers who buy used clothes. I am totally OK with that. I agree with this and support this wholeheartedly. This is my gripe, however: Nothing I sent was textile recycling worthy. Nothing. I know how secondhand and consignment works and I know what they accept. I would have never sent anything that was “recycle-worthy”. In fact, I sent a lot of clothes with tags still attached.
Here is a partial list of the clothes I sent to ThredUp:
- Prada shoes, worn 3 times = Unaccounted for, Recycled? (Ouch) = $350 est. retail
- Halston Heritage 100% silk cocktail dress, tags still attached = Recycled (OUCH!??) $579
- Billy Reid wedge shoes, in the box with shoe covers, worn 4 x = Recycled (Yowzers) $395
- Ralph Lauren Collection (Purple Label) Moto Zipper Jeans, worn 3 x = $690 (They called these ‘Jeggings’, and priced them at $22, which I promptly changed to the max amount I could.) Guys, these are $690 jeans, NOT jeggings. I was able to “reclaim” these back since they didn’t sell on consignment, which made me super happy! 🙂
- Herve Leger Cardigan, Recycled?? Est. $450
- Betsey Johnson silk dress = Recycled 🙁 $50
- Free People knit dress = Recycled 🙁 $29
In total, there were two dozen items sent, totaling an estimate of $3200 retail value and items which were unaccounted for or “recycled”. The payout I received, besides the other items which they marked as received and “acceptable” was not 20-40%, but rather more like 10%. They seemed to have no issue taking the cheap clothes, and the designer items were kind of POOF! lost.
So, a pair of Billy Reid Shoes, Prada pumps, a brand new Halston silk dress is unacceptable but a cheap (although cute) H&M dress is OK??
In short, use your own discretion when sending in clothes to sell to ThredUp.
As a comparison, I have made over $523 from selling 21 items on Poshmark.
I sent the customer service (email@example.com) an email to request my unaccounted items to be returned. They were happy to respond, but getting anything back was of course, a no-go.
Here are the companies I recommend for selling your clothes for more cash, trade or consignment (Instead of ThredUp):
- Poshmark – Poshmark has been the best experience I have had selling clothes online so far. In fact, I have sold $375 for 14 items on Poshmark. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort, but if you’re looking to make some extra cash for your clothes, this is the BEST method I have found so far. You don’t have to pay for shipping, and you set your own prices and negotiate.
- Buffalo Exchange – Go in person if you can, I don’t recommend sending in clothes
- Crossroads Trading Company – again, find one nearby (stores are very limited) and go in person if you can
- Plato’s Closet – Same as above. Mostly for Juniors clothing. GREAT option for clothing exchange! Making any kind of money on selling to Plato’s Closet is pretty much zero, though.
Again, if you’re looking for a pretty good deal on kids or women’s clothes, ThredUp can be good. I have purchased a few items from them that have been good.
If you’re looking to dump clothes, and don’t care to make much $$, ThredUp can be an easy way to get rid of them. If you don’t have the time to sell, I recommend donating your clothing to a local shelter or charity.