Thursday, December 26, 2013

thredUP Review (from a selling and buying point of view)

If you go here, you can sign up for thredUP. By visiting from this link, when you first buy something, you get $10 off for using that link. Apparently, so do I. Of course, I'd still buy stuff without the $10 referral fee. (Use the link because it gives you $10 off, which I don't think can be beat because the prices are already pretty good!)

Okay, so, how does thredUP work? Allow me to give you a little big run down.

Selling Clothes

What is it, basically?
Essentially, it's an online consignment shop of sorts. You sign up. You "order" a free bag. thredUP sends you a pre-paid bag (again, no fee to you). When I received the first bag, I thought, "you've got to be kidding me? This thing is puny." Well, you can stuff a lot more into this bag than you might think. Pro packers unite. More information here. (But be sure to sign up through the first link so that you can get $10 off. Hey, I'm a woman who loves her coupons.)
P.S. You can send women's, juniors', and kids' clothes. They do not take dude clothing.

How Long Does it Take?
Since so many more people know about the site now, they've received a lot of traffic, which obviously means it takes longer. Dudettes, patience is a virtue. I think. So they say. Anyway, it takes around a month-month and a half for your bag to process. I don't mind waiting. Heck, it takes less time than eBates and that "let me give you money every quarter thing" does! Plus, it's like Christmas when I finally do hear about how much I get.

How Do I Get Paid?
Once you find out how much you earned, you can use it one of two ways. You can either cash out (takes approximately two weeks on top of how long it took your bag to process) or use it toward a purchase (which you can use almost immediately.) If you choose to cash out, know that you need a Pay Pal account and Pay Pal takes a fraction of the money (like 2% or less...not a big deal, if you ask me.) You can have Pay Pal send you a check or just keep the money in your Pay Pal account. I've done both. I actually found a beloved pair of Steve Madden boots on eBay, so I used my second pay out toward those boots. Thanks to my $75 from thredUP, I ended up spending about $27 bucks out of pocket on boots that retail for $170 (in a color I couldn't find anywhere else.)

How Much Have I Made?
So far, I've made $112 (after pay out fees from Pay Pal) from two bags and another $10 from a friend who signed up and bought something through my link. I have zero patience for a yard sale, and I'm too lazy to go into an actual consignment shop, which means my standards aren't ridiculously high. I'm happy to get something for clothes I think are lovely. I don't know if I can get an actual check for the $10 referral or if I can use it only toward a future purchase. I'll let you know how that works out.

Can You Buy My Clothes on thredUP and see how much I made for each item?
Absolutely. I've already made my money, so you'd be paying thredUP. Say you put something in your cart and you just love it. Well, you can check out the other items from that same seller's bag.
**You can check out my first bag here.
**You can check out my second bag here.

What Do I Send?
I send those items in my closet with which I wouldn't be able to part for one of the following reasons:
1. I haven't worn it in a year or more, but maybe I'll wear it one day. (I know I won't wear it.)
2. I know I won't wear it, but I feel guilty parting with something I spent money on but never wore.
3. It's too pretty to donate. I want to make some money on it!
4. I don't just send LOFT and The Limited and the like. I do send some stuff I get at Kohl's or Target. (They don't take from Wal Mart brands.)

What is the Fine Print?
They don't take everything. It has to be in really good, like-new condition. Since I do not wear a lot of my clothes over and over and over again, I don't have a problem with sending clothes in good condition. (The clothes I wear non-stop are clothes I wouldn't want to send anyway. Duh.) You get more for dresses and coats, which makes sense. Whatever they don't take, they donate. You receive no money for those items. If you want them to send back those clothes so that you can sell them elsewhere, you have to pay a fee upfront. I'm of the "out of sight out of mind" school, so I didn't care enough to pay that fee.

The Aftermath?
They take pictures of all of the clothes they accept from your bag. You can see them all lined up and looking cute. (The links to my bags show you what it would look like when you receive a link to your own bag.) They also tell you when your items sell, a feature I love because it lets me know what kind of items to continue sending.
Tip: If you want to know everything that they keep and reject, take pictures of everything before you stuff it into the bag. That way, you can measure up your pictures against theirs and see what items you should no longer send.

What Do I Do With What I Don't Send?
If I have clothes that are in good condition but not good enough for thredUP, I donate them. When I donate, I keep an itemized list of everything that we donate. Husband transfers all of it into an Excel document. I then ask for a receipt at Good Will (or wherever) so that I can use all of that information for taxes (not ashamed of this fact...full transparency here, folks.) Last year, we got back $2800 for all that we donated. It made a huge difference on taxes. The taxes we'll incur by living in an apartment instead of a house this year will probably need those receipts and itemized lists. My husband used Turbo Tax, which includes a handy pull down menu for entering all of the items we donated.

Overall, do I recommend selling to thredUP?
For my purposes, yes, I do. I don't mind waiting almost two months to see my money. I don't mind if they do not accept everything (partially because I never pay full price for anything I buy anyway.) I don't mind that Pay Pal takes a fraction of my pay out because I think it's a very small fraction. I'm just happy to earn some money for items I love but no longer suit my style or fit my body. At the end of January, I'll hear about my third bag.

Buying Clothes

How Do I Feel about My Purchase?
I have bought two sweaters from thredUP so far, and I think they're really nice items. (I'm including a picture in this post because what is a post without at least one picture?) I bought from brands I was already familiar with because I know I'd have to pay for return shipping if I didn't like them/they didn't fit. I don't feel like messing with the post office, so I avoid that option like the plague.

Shipping is very, very reasonable. For two items, I paid $3.98. I can't complain about that. I don't know what the shipping is like for more items.

The site has helpful ratings: new with tags, new without tags, and tiny flaw (which they share in the blurb about the item.)

The Pictures on the Site?
I really wish some of the pictures were of better quality. I avoid items I'm not entirely sure about based on the picture or the item description. Sometimes, it's difficult to see the print unless you zoom in pretty closely. Some pictures are of clothes on a mannequin; most pictures are of clothes lying flat on a white surface.

Finding items?
You can search for specific brands, sizes, or items of clothing (skirt/pants/tops/casual dresses). However, trying to search for something more specific like "navy blazer" won't work so well for you. I think searching is often cumbersome, but they're still making improvements. I can respect that fact.

For my sizes (small/extra small/0 or 2/25 or 26), I am overwhelmed by how many options there are. I think "hey, if I narrow this search a bit more, maybe I won't still generate a list of 1,000 things. That's just too many to browse through."

Like I said, I choose brands with whom I'm already familiar just because I air on the side of caution. You can choose the sizes, and they automatically check the "include equivalent sizes" box. I don't like it because I know exactly what size I want, so I uncheck it.

You can set your price limits, so there are reasonable prices based on whatever your budget happens to be.

I tend to shop at LOFT, The Limited, Target, Gap, Express, and the like. The "typical" (and designer brands) abound. I'm quite impressed by the selection. I like that you can search for clothes by a specific brand.

Overall, would I recommend buying from thredUP?
I have purchased only two things, so my level of knowledge about buying is more limited than my selling knowledge is. However, I think it was an easy experience and the clothes arrived within a week and a half. I have my shopping cart full with items right now, so I'd obviously buy from there again. If you're concerned about paying return shipping (which many companies require now anyway), then stick to brands and sizes you know.

Here is one of the sweaters I purchased. It's from NY&Co., a brand I already know and love. I bought a small because I wanted a bit looser of a fit for a sweater. I'm a pretty huge fan of that neck. 
(The skirt is from my Mom for Christmas. It's going to be a favorite. I just know it.)

Any other questions? I might have an answer. Was this post useful at all? I'm curious if it was worth your time!

P.S. There are other online sites like thredUP, but I've already had good experiences, which is why I stick with them. I cannot guarantee the awesomeness of your own experience; I can speak only about mine. Finally, this post is in no way sponsored by thredUP. I just believe in full transparency...except when it comes to clothes. No bueno.


  1. Wow this is a super comprehensive review! I've bought and sold through ThredUp also and have had only good experiences. I basically agree with everything you have here! (e.g. search is not super easy, selection is huge, bag takes a while to process but if I would have just donated I wouldn't have received anything). The only other thing I have to say is that I NEED to keep better track of what I donate, I can't believe what a difference it made with your taxes!!

  2. This is a fantastic review, Danielle! I have been on the thredUP site before but haven't bought or sold anything. I'd like to try selling, for sure - once I build up my "get rid of" pile again. I CANNOT believe how much you got back from donating. I am never good at keeping track of these kinds of things, and now I feel like I'm missing out - I literally just donated the equivalent of 3-4 gigantic Ikea bags FULL of clothing and didn't get a receipt. Damn. Next time!!! :)