Introducing: Baby Pre-Loved
As of late spring 2012, there is a new place to buy used children’s clothes and accessories in Toronto. Baby Pre-Loved is an online retailer based in East York, and not to be confused with PreLoved. Baby Pre-Love operates a website and a facebook page, each of which plays a certain role for the shopping parent. A VIP client service allows parents to receive updates about stock tailored to their individual needs, while photos of stock with prices can also be easily browsed through. Does second hand go with online in this way?
Baby Pre-Loved stocks clothes up to 6T, so it is a specialized baby, toddler, and pre-school store. Since these are also the ages at which children go through clothes the fastest, it is the most natural line for pre-loved clothes, but also the most competitive. Growth in this area of business makes sense, as parents looking to spend wisely can reduce their clothes budgets by trading in new-looking items, and maybe a little cash, for ones which are new to them. The price reduction tends to be about 75% from new, so the savings can be significant over several seasons of clothes worn a few times each. The prices at Baby Pre-Loved are comparable to East York’s Ages and Stages, and a little lower than Bumbleberry Kids.
Baby Pre-Loved operates in two ways. The ‘VIP client’ service is enrolled in from the home page, where the parent enters an email address and the size and gender of clothes they are looking for. Once that is done, Baby Pre-Loved emails the parent when new stock they might be interested arrives. This system seems convenient and efficient, so its effectiveness comes down largely to the turnover of stock. The available stock can also be ‘browsed’ through the Baby Pre-Loved facebook page, although the frequency and form of updates is unclear. The most concerning sign for the long term prospects of Baby Pre-Loved is that an attempt to get in touch through Twitter after failing to find an email address provoked no response a day and a half later, suggesting that this net business may require more constant attention or development.
The used children’s clothing business is a big market in Toronto, and will likely only grow as demographics and household economics combine with shifting cultural norms and attitudes about concepts like ‘efficiency’ and ‘recycling.’ The market will not, however, support internet businesses which are not convenient. If in the market, and especially if not close to a good retailer, parents may want to sign up and get on the mailing list. Only time will tell how useful such a step ultimately is.