Buying preloved

Most of my friends know that the cost of my obsession with childrens clothes is at least limited by my discovery of buying preloved.

I personally don’t buy High Street clothing preloved, for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s rare to find anything for a lot cheaper than you can buy it in the shop. In my opinion, I’d rather pay an extra £4 or whatever and buy it brand new. However it is a good way to try to get something that you were desperate for but you can no longer get. It’s not that common to find old season preloved stuff from High Street stores that is still in good nick though. It doesn’t all last very well.

All that being said, if you do want a bargain, buying these kinds of clothes in a bundle on eBay is by far the cheapest way to do it. You might spy an item or two you really wanted in the bundle, and if you don’t pay over the odds, it’s great value for money. Especially when you go through and find something that you love and you didn’t expect or hadn’t noticed in the description. Even if the rest goes to a charity shop, you’ve got what you wanted and more besides. Sometimes you can even sell them on to max up the size of your own bundles.

eBay is also a good way of tracking down specific old season items – the two Little Bird playsuits that my children are wearing in the cover picture were sourced on eBay.

eBay can also offer great value on expensive boutique brands, such as I Love Gorgeous (yellow dress in photo below – £10 instead of £60), Billie Blush and Angel’s Face. Often, as in the case of the dress below, they’ve only been worn once. Some scandi brands get sold on cheaply through eBay too – I got the Me Too romper Rory is wearing below for about £6 – and occasionally rare prints pop up, such as Kaitlin’s Molo safari dress that she loves (far right).

Now and then I take a rummage through charity shops. The kids rail is often small and it’s only a short diversion from my chores on town. Most of it is faded and well worn, but there are some things which seems hardly touched and almost new, on sale for hardly any money at all. I’ve found all sorts – Blue Zoo, Little Bird, Gap and more. But what I love is finding something unusual that I’ve never seen anywhere else. Something handmade, or European, something like that. And they usually cost pennies. I like to think that I donate enough back to make up for the fact that I am buying nice things for so little money, but sometimes I do feel the need to top up my donation! I don’t think charity shops have any idea how much some brands are worth and what they could really make.

The majority of my second hand buys though are done through Facebook groups. There are plenty. I’m a member of a few scandi groups, including one that is just for Molo. I’m part of a group that sells specific brands including Albababy, Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, Beau Loves, Nununu and Indikidual which is one of my favourites. There is also a group for organic childrenswear. I bought Rory’s Molo seaplanes (left), Kaitlin’s Mini Rodini pink T Rex shorts (centre), and Rory’s Beaubelle romper (right) on Facebook groups, all for less than half RRP and they are in great condition. In fact, the vendor of the romper kindly sent the scarf seen here for free. Her clothes are always in great condition, so I look out for her name. I bought Kaitlin’s much loved pink Emel boots from the same lady, in as new condition, for less than half RRP too. Kitty has worn them so much, they are definitely in very well used condition now!!!

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To be honest, if you search for any brand, or category (eg scandi, European, newborn) the likelihood is that you’ll find a group selling their clothes preloved. You just need to ask to join and you’ll be approved. You are expected to follow the rules of the page which is usually a pinned notice. Not all pages have the same rules about who is first in line (some it’s first to express interest, others you have to actually say yes please) and some allow the buyer longer to respond to the seller before forfeiting their interest, than others. It can get a bit confusing if you are a member of a few, like I am!

But the beauty of the pages, particularly, in my experience, those selling designer or scandi clothing, is that you can find a great bargain or two. And perhaps brands or items you’ve never seen before. Most Mini Rodini, for example, will sell on at about 60% of the price, and most of the time it’s in great condition. Oilily tends to be a bit more expensive unless it is from older seasons – the Oilily zip up hoody below cost me £11 because it’s well used and old season. But its clean, undamaged and perfect for casual and play wear. It would have been about £40 new. It’s fun, different and Kaitlin loves it, and it’s not in a bad state given that it is second hand and has been loved before. Parents who buy designer clothes for their kids do seem to look after them well.

There are a couple of Little Bird by Jools at Mothercare groups on Facebook. _20160521_003431One of them sells retro and vintage clothing too, where I bought Rory’s 1950s romper (left) for £10 a few months ago. Be warned though, there are people who adore Little Bird and will pay almost full price for second hand things so check you can’t get what you want in the shop for the same money first. It can get a bit crazy in there sometimes! But you can get the odd bargain. Also, these groups are a hive mind if knowledge on Little Bird sizing for different garments, which is haphazard at the best of times. I’m going to do a post on Little Bird next week where I’ll give you a better heads up about this and what to watch out for. Both of the outfits below were from the Little Bird group – not especially cheap, but I got what I wanted for around RRP when it was sold out in Mothercare.

There are a couple of groups for Next, and Zara – but I find these enormously over priced. Especially Zara, which often sells for more than the current range in shops! People seem collect the boys joggers, for example, and certain hard to get patterns command a high price. I mainly use this site for selling old Zara clothes on. Like I said at the start, I’ve learned that buying High Street brands preloved is often not worth the small saving unless it’s a specific item you want and can no longer get hold of new.

And lastly, very occasionally, you will find that branded or popular clothes come up on local children’s selling groups – groups just for selling children’s “stuff” eg toys, furniture, clothes… And an unwitting parent, who has not realised that the specific items of clothes they are selling are so popular, has put them on in a big bundle for £8 or something similar. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens! Gap t shirt below for £1…

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Buying preloved opens up a whole new world of shopping opportunities… So if you want to explore some new brands, or you are wishing you could buy some of the more expensive brands (from scandi to American, and expensive designers like Burberry or Ralph Lauren) then try looking for a preloved selling site. You might find a bargain to give them a trial run before deciding to splash out! Happy shopping! 💜

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