The case for secondhand

The problem with ethical & sustainable kids' clothes

It didn't take me long in my parenting journey to realise that purchasing things for my kids, especially clothes, in an ethical and sustainable way, is REALLY hard. It's hard enough for adults, but kids add a whole extra layer of complexity:

  • ¬†They need soooo many clothes, as they're constantly getting dirty, having accidents, etc.;
  • They move up a size so quickly that you have to refresh their ENTIRE wardrobe every few months;
  • Because of how many clothes they need and how little time they spend in each one, it's extremely hard for an average parent to afford to buy kids clothes at the usual 'ethical clothes' pricepoint (which usually starts at around $50-100 PER item)
  • Because this market doesn't really make sense for parents financially, not many stores exist - so the number of options available even if you do want to buy ethical clothes is very slim. (And with the amount of greenwashing in the clothing industry, finding which brands are actually ethical can be a time consuming process in itself)

The solution: buy secondhand!

In my opinion the best solution to this problem is to buy secondhand.

  • It means you are not adding extra demand to our flawed clothing system, instead you're buying things that someone else would have otherwise thrown away.
  • At the same time you're saving those clothes from ending up in landfill, so it's a win for waste management too.
  • It's also incredibly affordable. If you're willing to spend the time op shopping, you can sometimes find cute baby clothes as cheap as 50 cents each!

The problem with the secondhand solution: it's very time consuming.

However, the problem with buying secondhand as a parent is: it can take HOURS, and those are hours that you may not really want to give up at this stage of your life. You need to travel to an op shop, sift through the selection, look for the particular size or style that you need, and often there will be only a few options, especially for larger kids sizes. If you need to buy an entire wardrobe worth of clothes, you will likely need to visit many stores on many occasions to get everything you need.

The moment that convinced me that more stores like Lil Thrifters should exist was when I needed to buy a couple of pairs of size 3 pants for my son. I searched in 3 or 4 different op shops and found nothing appropriate, and so, frustrated and out of time, I headed to a department store and bought a cheap pair there. I thought,
if only I could find secondhand clothes online instead I wouldn't have to waste hours searching only to end up having to buy something that made me feel uncomfortable ethically.

That's why I created Lil Thrifters. I hope we can help you find what you need without sacrificing your ethics.