Tags: Featured Story, Toddler, Tweens & Teens
Simplify your clothes closet sort-out routine with The Swoondle Society. “Swoondle” what you can’t use with a simple mail-in option and shop online with our exclusive reader discount code!
Sorting out children’s clothes from closets, dressers, and bins is often a surprisingly constant and frequently tedious task. It’s a chore parents, especially moms, tend to find themselves saddled with, especially as seasons change and little ones grow. Going through every item and then figuring out what to do with it - consignment, donation, repurposing for a younger sibling or cousin, takes time and effort, two items in short supply in the lives of parents everywhere.
Not sure where to go with too-small-but-really-cute clothes or items barely used like Halloween costumes or holiday dresses? There’s a mail-it-off option that takes the item off your hands but fills them with something in return - something of your choosing that fits and fills a need for the next occasion or item needed in your child’s wardrobe.
Find it at https://www.swoondlesociety.com.
The Swoondle Society offers a membership system that helps automate that process as much as possible. It’s a trade-in/trade-up type service made with families in mind, with ease and convenience as key factors. And it was created by a mom who knew the challenge of wrangling it all first-hand.
Jen Zuklie created the brand as a solution that elevates the shared closet, hand-me-down concept. A mother of two, her business is an example of female entrepreneurship.
“We wanted the service to feel very community-oriented. All the items within Swoondle Society are sourced from other members. We want you to swoon over what you see online,” said Zuklie.
Using “swoondle” as a verb as in “I swoondled that tuxedo Isaac wore to the wedding and traded it in for a coat he can use all winter” describes the brand’s appeal, especially for parents who have little time to worry over what they’re accumulating. Placing items into a designated bag that resembles a cloth dry cleaning pouch and then shipping it with a pre-paid mailer makes the service simple.
“Some families do have a network of cousins and friends and a cycle that works for them and that’s great. Other families simply don’t. This is a new and different way to make the most of those clothes that your child just won’t use for whatever reason,” said Zuklie. “What we see is that kids tend to ignore about half the clothes in their closet while they totally wear out the other half. Kids will sometimes stop liking a color or a style or they’re just not into dinosaurs or whatever anymore. They’re over it but the clothes are still there. Oftentimes, perfectly good items are just sitting there unused.”
Members can trade in those items and look online for how their credits and/or cash can be used to buy something else that’s a better fit, whether that’s in size or personal interests. Choosing items online submitted by fellow Swoondle Society members and having that clothing shipped to you helps replace what’s needed plus find brand-name items for special occasions and be intentional about what you’re receiving.
Being part of a community is an important part of the concept that’s more of a connection and a choice experience than participating in consignment store arrangements where parents often don’t get as much back in exchange for something of value than they anticipated. Standard consignment store agreements make it where the retailer keeps 90 to 95% of the profit from an item sold, with just 5 or 10% returned to the seller.
Standard shipping options also reduce person-to-person contact in the era of COVID-19.
Zuklie sees the service as an alternative to the storing, sorting, and management aspect of kids’ closets. It is a more sustainable way to maximize the life cycle of clothing. Items that cannot be resold are donated to select non-profit organizations that directly benefit mothers and children.
The issue of used clothing that’s donated and being shipped overseas through nebulous organizations turns murky. While some organizations do help those in need, many simply don’t, according to world reporting agencies. Instead, it often changes hands multiple times as bulk merchandise and ends up eventually being sold to different organizations. Less desirable items often end up in landfills. Through an extensive research process, Zuklie settled on a clothing recycler she could feel good about: Green Tree. (Find more information at www.greentreetextiles.org.)
“People can feel very comfortable knowing that their clothing gets 100% reused, which benefits the customer but also society as a whole,” said Zukle.
She also recognizes the emotional component items can hold, especially for parents.
“Some items you want to keep as a family heirloom and that’s perfect,” said Zuklie. “But there’s so much your grandkids won’t be able to wear. The act of getting items out of your space in exchange for a cute item, something you really want rather than a lot of what you mostly don’t, can be really freeing.”
The better the item you send, the better credit you get. Staff inspect every single piece received.
“It can be a great arrangement, especially when, say, you’re not paying more for a Burberry coat than an Old Navy dress,” said Zuklie. “We receive some amazing items, especially right after the holidays.”
Streamline your sort-out process with The Swoondle Society. Use a discount code exclusively for our Kern County Family Magazine readers: KERN5 gets you a standard membership for one month for just $5 and the first five trades for $5.