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New clothing comes with a hefty carbon footprint. From producing and dyeing the fibers and shipping the fabric to factories to making the clothes and getting them to stores, clothes often travel all over the world before they make it into your closet. One of the easiest ways to skirt this issue is to buy used clothes whenever you can, but scouring thrift stores isn’t everyone’s favorite way to spend a Saturday.
Selbey is a new online service that’s trying to make is easier for folks to buy and sell used clothes, and their CEO, Nila Salinas, was kind enough to answer a few questions from us about Selbey and what they’re trying to do. It’s still in beta testing right now, but the awesome folks at Selbey are also offering up invites to Green Upgrader readers! We’ve got a link to the invite page at the end of the interview.
gUP: What inspired you to launch Selbey?
Salinas: Everyone on our team, grew up thirfting. In my poor college years, I traded clothes at stores like Crossroads Trading and Plato’s Closet to make a quick buck. I quickly become frustrated with the resale clothing model. I’d drag bags full of clothing to these stores and wait for a while as they pillaged through my apparel. I would be amazed to be handed back more than half of what I brought and offered a meager $ 50 for over $ 500 worth of apparel. I realized that re-sale stores weren’t the answer. As a physical store, they have to consider their overhead costs, if something wasn’t in season or was out of their target buyer’s sizes or taste (which varies by community/neighborhood), it didn’t sell. But that DIDN’T mean it wasn’t still a really awesome piece of clothing. So then I thought to spend a few more minutes of my day selling my clothing online.
Surprisingly, there is still not a large online marketplace just for buying and selling clothing that allows users to be paid the moment their item sells. Currently the main options are eBay and Etsy. When you really get down to it, neither site is really perfect for clothing. When you think of eBay, the last thing used clothing and their fees are astronomical compared to other sites. We love Etsy, but unfortunately they can’t really fill this need either. Etsy does allow its users to selling used clothing as long as its over 20 years old. Understandably, Etsy needs to protect the handmade clothing market it has fostered and can’t allow a 6-month old item from H&M to be sold in the same marketplace as a handmade T-shirt made by an artist. Even as someone who loves vintage, only about 30% of what I own is over 20 years old. We wanted one marketplace where we could sell our new, used, and vintage clothes.
gUP: What makes Selbey different?
Salinas: Just like a thriftstore, at Selbey, we don’t discriminate when it comes to your clothing. New and used vintage, modified, handmade and thrifted apparel are all welcome. As the seller, it’s up to you to deem what’s worthy to post on the site. And with fees lower than Etsy, it’s a better bargain. At the end of the day, we’re really focused on keeping the old, new. And encouraging people to resell rather than throw away. It’s a much greener model. And on top of that, we really want to open the site up for people of all shapes and sizes to be able to find something that fits them wonderfully, to build a community around the resale experience. They’re lofty goals, but we’re pretty sure with some hard work and knocking on enough people’s doors we’re bound to shake things up.
gUP: When are you officially launching?
Salinas: Selbey is in beta testing. We’re letting in small groups of people to take in their feedback. We will officially open to the public at large in early to mid fall. If you would like, you can use this link to allow your readers into the beta test. The beta testing version is fully functional and users are already buying/selling. Folks can sign up to receive an email letting them know when the site is officially open to everyone.
Image via Selbey, used with permission.
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