Ah, the ruffles and bows, the pleats and plaids, silks and woolens, fancy buttons and precious appliqués, vibrant colors in garments and inviting websites offering products donned in dynamic packaging that just makes a mom want to treat her kids to the best stuff out there! And why not? We indulge where we can and take a taste of the good life in honor of our beloveds. We feel happy and proud.
I recently set myself to the mission of searching for marvelous kid finds on the web, looking for both apparel and gifts. And I found wonderful and creative merchandise. I spent my time looking at children’s boutiques, knowing the items would be more pricey, but that they should also offer the unique and particularly well constructed. I made my way through the return pages of various google searches toward this goal, and began to notice that what is “unique” is everywhere, and that just about everything is “upscale”. Items and stores are described with words like trendy and posh, high-end, exclusive, and are almost always boutique and designer. Animal prints are all the rage, (particularly zebra, in case you’re wondering), along with rocker wear and deep, rich color (preferably with layers and ruffles and a splash of tulle). Storefronts are gorgeous, with trendy color combinations of pinks and browns, pinks and greens, and turquoise with just about anything. Motifs are retro, vintage, or ultra modern fashionista, many making me crave a double scoop cone.
I reflected back to my little web shop, Happy Penguin Kidswear, and for a second, wondered how we could compete. But just for a second. The truth is, we are not competing. Gone are the days where moms glance aside sheepishly when another pre-school mom compliments dear child’s sweater and asks where it was purchased. Today, we say with pride that it came from a resale shop! It is not a matter of a faltering economy, or of ‘going Green’, but of sound economic sense. A quality garment lasts longer than it will fit a growing child. A classic design is as fashionable today as yesterday, particularly if accented with a few choice accessories. I confess to you that I have skimmed, on an occasion or two, our inventory for my daughter’s closet, and have received the warmest compliments for these choices. And though I avoid the sales pitch to friendly women at the park, their happy comments make me glow, and I can then let them know about Happy Penguin Kidswear.
A few additional reasons resale has become popular extend beyond exceptional pricing. Resale is where moms find out of season items. One will not find that neutral, cream-colored, go-with-everything sweater in July by shopping retail.
Resale is where moms find that enviable discontinued line from her favorite designer that has long since left the retail shelves. Going vintage means, by definition, going resale.
Resale means taking home designer goods for the cost of a box-mart outfit; it means five pairs of pants instead of one; it means having your Little Ones looking like a million bucks, while you savor the satisfaction of the bargain.
Baby girl has just turned four. We live at the park, the library, the zoo, pre-school. We venture out to amusement parks and museums. We go out to eat and take local train rides for fun. We have yet to see a child in animal print or rocker wear, though those clothes are so very enticing. A pretty, everyday ruffle, or a couple of bows at her shoulders, and she is picture perfect, ready to go. And if I have ever doubted her style before locking the door behind me, I am certain of it by the time we arrive.
We love children’s boutiques. We love the colors and the packaging. We love browsing the vibrant fields. We love how special we would feel on hitting the ‘add to cart’ button. There’s not a thing wrong with ‘upscale’, afterall, and we do our best to bring upscale down home to all. We all want our kids to be and look their best. Because we are moms and dads, and our kids certainly are the best. And I have not a thing bad to say about upscale children’s boutiques offering unique and beautiful items. We aim to emulate on some scale, and bring you the best for less.
Buying Resale: Tips
–There are many resale sources for clothing, both for children and adults. These include on-line resale shops, thrift stores, eBay, and flea markets, among others. On-line shops and ebay share the unfortunate reality of not having the ablity to touch and inspect garments prior to purchase. For both, verify an accommodating return policy in the event you are not happy with your purchase. For ebay, seek sellers with high positive feedback and generous terms.
Both of these sources will generally require that you pony up for return shipping; often this means that if you spent $10 for item and shipping, you will have to pay $3-5.00 for a return, and you will then be out that amount for the privilege of being disappointed in your purchase. Many people will not go to the trouble, thereby “rewarding” the seller for oversight should your item(s) be flawed without advance disclosure.
Ebay purchases can add the further disadvantage of having to pay shipping costs for separate items, even though a flat rate could cover, and could have covered, all items purchased. If you have purchased a “lot”, sellers will typically demand a return of all items within the lot, including those you would like to keep. This cost of return can easily exceed the cost of the items you hoped to add to your wardrobe.
There are many wonderful resale stores online. A similar dilemma is faced, however. With both resale shops and ebay purchases, it is wise to start out with a low cost purchase, allowing you as the buyer to assess the value of the goods and trustworthiness of the seller. Are the items in the condition you expected? Are there any undisclosed flaws? Is the garment clean and fresh? If you’ve had contact with anyone at the store, how did customer service stack up?
Thrift stores and flea markets offer the advantage of prior inspection, but have their own drawbacks. Be mindful not to shop when hungry or tired, as you may miss fatal flaws in the garments selected. Many items are stained, have hidden holes or other defects that take a careful eye to witness. Take your items to a bright light, such as a large window on a sunny day to ferret out subtle stains. Ask about the return policy at thrifts lest you get home and find that a stray moth loved your new woolen as much as you did. Do not expect a bonanza, as these outlets take patience- 99% of the items will be ordinary, available new on sale for less, counterfeited (brand name; usually purses and specialty items), faded, or just plain the wrong size. One to three special items an afternoon is about what you can typically expect; though one really good deal may be worth your efforts!
Yes, we love boutiques. But we love Resale more! We wish you happy hunting, happy shopping, and the best for your Little Ones!