Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Featured Green Business Owner - Beth Owner of Lovely Bump

Business Name & Location

Lovely Bump
509 San Mateo Avenue
San Bruno, Ca 94066

Tell us about who you are and what you do.
I own and operate a second hand maternity and kid clothing and gear shop.  i've been in business for 7 years this mother's day, 2012.  prior to opening this business (initially out of my garage!), i was an elementary school teacher for twelve years, just after college.  so nope, i never had any business experience.

Why do you think moms should buy used and consign their kids items that they no longer use?
To save resources:  labor and packaging, but mostly money!  i've been told the prices at my shop are much lower than many more un-clean and un-organized thrift stores (goodwill, salvation army, etc).  the average clothing piece at lovely bump is priced at $1.95 and looks like new--so why pay ten times that at a new store!?

Here are 3 ways that parents can work with businesses like Lovely Bump:

  • Consign your Stuff - Higher priced items can be sold on consignment (you receive a check for 40% of the selling price when the item sells)
  • Donate your stuff! - No waiting, no appointments needed. Just drop off your stuff (no more than 2 large garbage bags please) any time we're open, 7 days a week. Remember, drop-offs are for DONATIONS ONLY. If you would like to receive store credit for your items, you must MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. Thank you for your donation; all unused items will be donated to St Vincent de Paul!

Why do you think there is a bad stigma associated with used clothes/goods?
Because of the un-clean or un-sanitized factor, and the fact that some gear items may be broken, or not work. that's why we thoroughly inspect each and every item that comes in for cleanliness and functionality. if it doesn't work, we don't take it.  and we challenge you to find a piece of clothing that's not fresh from the washer here!

Do you see an increase of reusing, recycling and renewing with the down economy?
Definitely.  my sales have steadily increased since i've opened w word of mouth being my biggest source of marketing. many people come in, thinking it's a boutique from the outside,  and then utter "oh...this is used stuff" when they see that each piece is unique. many times, i talk these people into giving it a chance, and they do!

What would you say to people who are non-believers in the concept?
No one has to know it's second fact i've often been told my kids (7 and 10) are the best dressed children in town...and nearly 100% of their clothing comes from lovely bump!

Is your family supportive of your business?
yes, very.  they are proud of me also.

Me: Thank you very much, Beth! I know as a mom, wife and small business owner that you don't have time to do a lot of things. We really appreciate you taking the time to shed some light on consignment and saving money when it comes to kids.

How do you save money on your families clothing, toys and other goods? Share with us why you are a consignment believer or hater?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review of ThredUp

What is ThredUp? An online community where moms like you buy, sell & share children's clothes, toys and books online. Everyone knows that clothes don't grow, but kids definitely do. Especially when you can't scrimp on other costs like diapers, education or nutritious food...Clothing is definitely a discretionary expense where families can save money.

First of all, I think of myself as a green, tech savvy, budget minded, smart mom who only wants the best for my kid. Wonderful idea, I'm not so sure about the execution and platform. I'm also a firm believer and user of online communities. The internet is great for connecting with other people easily.

I don't like Thredup for a few reasons. I tried it once by posting a few boxes, and getting a few boxes, and was dissatisfied with the service and what I paid for and probably wouldn't use them again:

1. The box you get has a very broad description and no pictures. You take a risk in what you're getting and in my experience, I received clothes that I wouldn't have bought for my son. A lot of the clothes were from Walmart. Cheaply made, out-of-date styles, clothing that was 20 years old. There are very few users that put higher end brands, or better quality goods. I haven't tried others, but here's a competitor to ThredUp called Outgrowingin.

The brand name icons that are on each posting are a little misleading. If there is a "GAP" logo added, it just means that one of the items in the box is GAP..although it may be a flourescent green gap hat from the 1970's that no one in their right mind would wear!

3. I can get cheaper things when there is a sale at the numerous thrift stores around my house. I can only hand select what I need/want, and can see the quality/condition of what I'm buying. Even with a coupon at ThredUp, I can still get cheaper things elsewhere.

Not that I condone this, but I can get something pretty damn cheap and quickly from any big box store anytime I want with a million different choices. For example, I got 2 out of 12 items in my box that I was happy with. I paid maybe about $14 on ThredUp. I could have just went to Kohls or Target to get exactly what I wanted and needed. =P Go Figure!

4. I wasted my time posting. I filled out the categories, sizes and descriptions of what I was listing...which took (what little) time I had away from my son. No one picked up my boxes. Either because there were too many boxes listed, and not enough buyers or because people wanted quantity and I didn't have enough stuff in my box. I'm still not sure?

5. It's still too complicated, time-consuming and hard. I mean, from a tech standpoint it's pretty simple but I had to sit down for a good 3 hours and inventory what I had...actually ship the package...create the posting for each box and what was in it. It is ahem, not practical for busy moms.

6. They have very little supply of the good stuff that I actually need and would use seldomly. ie: shoes, halloween costumes, formal wear, jackets, seasonal wear like rain boots.

All in all, they do a great job marketing. They have instructional videos, creative newsletters, a growing community of moms that discuss various parenting topics...but I give them low ratings. I don't know, maybe this kind of interaction can't be improved with the advent of the internet? Maybe the moms that would really benefit the most don't have the time or wouldn't go online to get a mystery box of clothing for $13 plus shipping? What do you think? If you have any ideas, contact me.

I wanted to like them. I wanted to rave about them. I'm not really even boo'ing ThredUp, I actually applaud their effort. I think they should improve or change the experience? Maybe be a little more craigslist or ebay like in their interface? I'd rather start my own clothing swap!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We bring a community of like minded financially savvy and smart people together. We organize events to make raising your little one just a little bit easier and more fun. Why buy new when you can trade in items you no longer need for something that can be of use. We all know that babies and kids outgrow clothes faster than we even have time to utilize that cute hoodie that they look adorable in. We know first hand that a baby gets bored of toys and developmentally surpass a lot of the things they just started to use.

Why not make some money in the process? Why not swap with other moms that need exactly what you have to offer? Why not help out your fellow parents that are itching to get rid of stuff that you were just going to buy new from a big box store? With SWAPBOP, everyone wins. Everyone leaves a little bit happier, especially our landfills.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome to Swap Bop!


Our goal is to make it affordable for busy families to keep their growing families clothed. We specialize in womens maternity clothing, as well as boys and girls clothing from newborn to 5 year olds. We are looking for eco-minded mommies that would like to trade their kids outgrown gently used clothing and toys for new (to them!) items.

Our next location:
San Leandro Community Center
1234 Marina Drive
San Leandro, CA 98765

Saturday May 15, 2011
1pm - 5pm


What sorts of items can I swap?
We currently trade children's size clothing, ranging from the smallest preemie or newborn size all the way up to a kids size 20. We also accept womens maternity clothes from size 0 to 100!

What is an example of an unacceptable item?
Please make sure your item has no stains, tears, holes, or fading. To ensure we have the highest quality items to swap in our community, we can't items that don't fit this description.

How much does swapBop cost?
To attend one of our events is always completely free. You will only be allowed in if you have a bag of acceptable items to trade.