No Longer Just For Kids, Online Consignment Shop ThredUP Expands Into Women’s Apparel

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ThredUP, the online children’s clothes consignment shop, is today launching into a new vertical with the debut of a store for women’s secondhand clothing. The move, which puts the service up against competitors like Poshmark and Threadflip, follows its expansion into junior clothing announced at the beginning of the year. The women’s site had previously launched into beta in February, allowing customers to send in their clothes to resell, but had not yet opened its doors to shoppers.

At the time, ThredUP said that the decision to launch into beta had to do with the complexities of women’s clothing sizes and other inventory management hurdles, but of course, the store also needed the time to solicit merchandise from customers. As with its efforts in the children’s clothing space, the new women’s store works the same: users request a “clean out” bag, which is shipped for free and can be filled with the unwanted, but good quality, clothing, then returned (postage paid) back to ThredUP. The clothes are checked to see if they meet the company’s standards, photographed, and placed online for sale. Sellers receive somewhere between 10-40 percent of the resell price, depending on the clothing’s quality.

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Though now ThredUP is moving into the women’s vertical, its business model makes it different from the peer-to-peer secondhand marketplaces, like Poshmark, Threadflip, Twice, and others, since users aren’t selling their closet contents directly to each other. This makes it less profitable for sellers, but it also eliminates the hassles involved with selling on your own. In the kids’ clothes space, where parents are often quickly overwhelmed with outgrown clothing and are grateful for anyone to take these items off their hands, ThredUP makes a lot of sense. With women’s clothing, it may be more tricky as those who think their gently used clothes are worth selling, as opposed to donating, are generally hoping to make a little money. And for that reason, they might choose to remain on those peer-to-peer sites, where commissions paid are generally only around 20 percent, allowing them to keep the 80 percent.

As you can see in the chart below, these companies are already solid competitors for ThredUP:

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ThredUP has been growing since it refocused its efforts on consigning over clothing swap over a year ago, and now reports 500,000 registered users, 970 percent growth in item sales from February 2012 to March 2013, and 28% month-over-month growth in order sales. Revenue details are not available. However, the company has raised $23 million from investors, most recently via a $14.5 million Series C round last fall, led by new investor Highland Capital Partners, alongside existing investors Trinity Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

The company is now receiving and processing between 8,000 and 10,000 items daily, up from 5,000 in February. Its kids’ clothing store has 150,000 items for sale from around 9,000 brands, and, at launch, the new women’s vertical will feature 30,000 items from some 4,000 brands.

In addition, ThredUP has made a move to address some users’ concerns with sending off clothes for resell, then finding that they’ve nothing to show for it when ThredUP deems the items not meeting its standards for quality. In the past, these were simply donated to charity. But for those interested, a “Return Assurance” option is now available, which allows users to opt in to having clothing returned. This service is available for $9.99, so you would have to have a significant sized clean out bag to make it worth paying the shipping fees.

The new women’s shop is now open at www.thredup.com/women.