Founder's journal: Rewriting the story of our children's wardrobes
For about a year me and my business partner Ines have passionately championed the benefits of renting children's clothes. To back up our words I decided to share my personal journey of renting kidswear. It’s also been a year since I started renting clothes for my 3 daughters and there’s absolutely no turning back. For my third daughter, Aurelia, I have managed to rent pretty much the whole wardrobe already, with some exceptions. She just turned 6 months old and switched to the fourth size already.
By renting the first three sizes, I saved 77.4% compared to buying new. It cost me €289.17 — and that includes transportation, insurance, and professional cleaning of returns. If I had bought those clothes new, it would have cost me a staggering €1210. I would have contributed to overconsumption and ended up sitting on piles of outgrown clothes, cluttering up my space and my mind. But I didn’t. Instead I got to pop all outgrown clothes into a bag and send them away, saving me a lot of space. Swapping is such a life-saver, especially for a busy mom.
So not only renting saves me from the agony of sorting, storing, donating, reselling, photographing, listing, posting etc of outgrown clothes but also saves me a tremendous amount of time by allowing to source all the needed clothes from one platform and get delivered them to my door. As of today, I have rented in total 98 different clothing pieces (26 different brands) for my 3 daughters (total saving 69%). If I imagine chasing those clothes from all the different stores and shopping centres or hunting online from different brands, online stores or marketplaces, I get shivers down my spine.
My personal favourite perk is the possibility to provide a wider range of clothing options for my daughters, experiment with different brands and styles without the burden of ownership. If certain clothes dont’ spark the joy I anticipated, then I can easily send them back next month, ending up only paying a fraction for them. What truly warms my heart is that clothes are pre-loved, and my choices haven’t added to excessive consumption. For instance, when 5 kids share one garment instead of each having their own, it means we prevent the production of 4 new garments and save a whopping 80% of CO2 emissions.
We are not just dressing up, we’re reducing waste and championing conscious choices.
Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Stains
We know first hand that life with kids can be messy and accidents are bound to happen. Fear of staining or ruining clothes is often the main reason parents hesitate to try clothing rental. However, rest assured that stains are a totally natural occurrence and we have taken that into consideration. We have included insurance into your subscription, so that kids can be kids and you wouldn’t need to worry. To be honest, it took me a few months to adapt to this and stop worrying. Nevertheless, you do tend to treat rented clothes with a bit more care and with a slightly different approach. But, perhaps this is exactly the shift we need?
Kidswear — the ultimate fast fashion
Kids grow through a whopping 8 sizes during their first 2 years of life, on top of that seasons change every 3 months. It’s like a never ending cycle of wardrobe updates. And it’s quite expensive too. Have you ever wondered that when buying new clothes for your kids you pay the full price but get to use only a fraction of their potential lifespan? Think of it as buying the whole pizza but eating just one slice of it and then discarding the rest of it. Well, the same goes for our kids’ wardrobe as well. What a waste of money and resources and what a way to fuel carbon emissions. Every year there are around €375 billion worth of new kidswear produced — around 30% never gets sold and goes directly to landfills and incinerators and 70% is massively underutilised. It’s sheer madness!
Rewriting the story of our children’s wardrobes
Honestly, it terrifies me to see what world we are leaving for our children. This perspective, however, has been a driving force for me. This is the very reason I decided to take a stand and not contribute to overconsumption and the transformation of our planet into a giant landfill. Shifting to a circular economy is a necessity, not an option and we should use and maximize the value of what already exists.
If we didn’t buy any new clothes but used what already exists in our environment, we could probably dress the entire generation!
Photos location: Maarjamäe Palace, Estonia
It’s time to think outside the closet and explore innovative solutions, like lending and renting, to create a more sustainable and budget friendly approach to children’s fashion and products. It’s a massive €600 billion industry, the impact and opportunity are immense. Me and Ines are committed to changing the way we consume and we are proud to lead the change.
Read full blog post on Medium.
Written by Kristiina Koort
Co-founder & Co-CEO of The Rewear Company