A new iOS application called Kidizen is launching a mobile, peer-to-peer marketplace allowing parents to buy and sell their children’s clothing, toys, shoes and other easily shippable accessories. By offering parents the option to ship items directly to the buyers themselves, sellers can retain roughly 90 percent-plus of the selling price, the company promises. This undercuts competitor ThredUP, which currently offers up to 80 percent of the selling price for clothing it resells on behalf of its customers.
The idea for Kidizen emerged from co-founders Mary Fallon’s and Dori Graff’s earlier platform, Itizen, launched in 2010, which had been focused on tracking the story attached to objects as they moved from one person to the next. The company found some initial traction among those with a specific passion around art or collectibles or other items, but the team soon realized that what users really wanted was a marketplace for buying and selling, not just tracking, items.
As parents themselves, Fallon and Graff decided to shift Itizen’s focus to “kid’s stuff,” so to speak.
Parents churn through kids’ clothing fast, explains Graff. “Kids go through 7 sizes in the first two years, so we’re constantly needing to find and get rid of things as kids grow,” she says. While much of our kids’ used clothing today becomes hand-me-downs or is deposited at Goodwill, a subset of that clothing includes the higher-end items that parents want some sort of return on investment from.
On Kidizen, most of the items sold on the site tend to be these higher-end articles of clothing. For instance, its top brand is Matilda Jane, which has an average selling price of $36. And its second most popular brand is Janie and Jack, which sells for around $16. Lower-end clothing, meanwhile, tends to be sold in lots.
Using the app is not all that different from similar marketplaces targeting women’s clothing buyers and sellers, including also ThredUP, as well as Poshmark, Threadflip, or Twice, for example. You can find and follow users whose items you like, and these selections will then appear in your feed. If you choose to sell items on site, you’re responsible for packaging and shipping them yourself, while payment processing is currently handled by PayPal.
But the founders tell us that “solving the shipping barrier” is something they hope to better address as they scale.
What’s interesting about Kidizen is that they’re launching a service that’s much like the one ThredUP pivoted from back in 2012, in hopes of finding a model that could better scale (which, so far, it has).
Whether or not Kidizen will become similarly stuck remains to be seen. However, the timing is better for a service like this to exist — a number of women’s clothing startups and marketplaces have arrived and thrived on mobile, kid’s clothing flash sale site Zulily has IPO’d, and many of these companies cite growing, if not dominant, mobile user bases.
Going forward, Kidizen will tackle both web and Android, but for now it’s launching on iOS, where it had been beta testing with a few thousand users. During those tests, the metrics have proved solid, says CEO Dug Nichols, with 120 percent daily active user growth (observed month-over-month), 122 percent session growth month-over-month, and 130 percent revenue growth month-over-month.
The five-person, Minneapolis-based company has a small amount of angel funding from a variety of investors, including Emil Michael of Uber and others, but is looking to raise a larger seed round.
The mobile app is available here on iTunes.