From Pre-Loved to Re-loved
An Interview with the Founder of Little Threads
Little Threads is a brand new children’s clothing website – but with a bit of a difference. It gives you the option to buy, sell or donate your outgrown or unwanted children’s clothing. This means that clothes that are still in excellent condition can be loved once more – rather than ending up in landfill. Or if you want to declutter your child’s wardrobe, you can earn some extra cash without the hassle of trying to sell using the usual selling sites.
Founder of Little Threads and mum of three, Jill Tracey came up with this sustainable concept when she decided she didn’t just want to give away her children’s beautiful outgrown clothes. But when she found it difficult to try to sell them, she came up with the idea of Little Threads.
How Does it Work?
By going onto the Little Threads website, you can buy hand-picked selections of beautiful pre-loved children’s clothes – from birth to six years. Simply shop the collections and choose a selection box. These will have clothes that you are specifically looking for, such as summer clothes, winter clothes, occasion clothes etc.
If you have a preferred colour, theme (such a cars, dinosaurs or unicorns) then you can provide all of that information, so you are happy with your order. If you are not happy, then you can return your items.
All clothes are premium or good quality high street – and will be the fraction of the cost of buying brand new. You can purchase a starter, capsule or top up option.
Sell your unwanted children’s clothes
If you have unwanted or outgrown children’s clothes aged newborn to six years, simply complete an online mailing form providing information about your items. You’ll then be sent a postage paid appropriately sized bag for you to fill and drop off at your local post office.
Clothes need to be washed and in good condition – and you will be offered payment, which you can either accept – or decline, and ask for then to be returned back to you.
Alternatively, your unwanted items can be donated to local charities.
Working with local charities
If you are having a clear out and would like to donate good quality clothes to Little Threads, simply complete the stock mailbag form for your pre-paid bag to fill and return. Half of the profits will be donated to causes helping families and children across the UK.
Meet the face behind the business
Jill has a corporate background with three young children based in Taplow. She spoke about starting up her first business, wanting to find new solutions for parents and carers, and why she has a passion to extend the life of children’s clothing.
Have you always wanted to set up your own business?
My career to-date has been wonderfully varied and given me amazing opportunities across both large international companies to smaller entrepreneurial ones which I have learned so much from. When I had my children, particularly by my third, my priorities shifted and gradually autonomy and flexibility became hugely important and the idea of starting something for myself really excited me. When I was growing up my parents ran their own self-catering cottage business and I used to love understanding how the business ran, helping them with the admin and assisting guests, so I’m sure that influenced me and was a positive example that showed me it was possible.
Where did the idea for Little Threads come from?
The idea came to me whilst we were on our family summer holiday last year. In the weeks before I’d been trying to sort out my loft and had boxes of beautiful clothes my children had barely worn, was keen to earn a bit for them but just hadn’t had the time to list them all. I then thought back to when I was a first-time mum and didn’t have a large network of friends and family to borrow clothes from, nor the time to scroll for hours to find high quality, good value items that I needed to top-up the wardrobes. That’s when the idea of Little Threads was born – I wanted to address both these challenges that I’d imagine a lot of busy parents can relate to.
What are the benefits of using your service?
The primary benefits I’d like parents to feel when buying – or indeed selling – with us are convenience, quality, personalisation, and money-saving.
There are some great channels out there for sourcing and selling pre-loved clothes but in my experience, they have often been time-consuming; whether it’s photographing and listing items, negotiating prices or arranging collection. At Little Threads we take the hard work out of sourcing and selecting the best quality pre-loved items for your child. Selling to us is incredibly simple via a pre-paid mailing to fill and return. If you’re buying one of our boxes, they’ll be delivered straight to your door. What’s more, we want to take the hassle out of searching for high quality items in the right size/style by tailoring the selection boxes of items we have meticulously checked to what parents tell us they need and their children like – a bit like a trusted personal shopper. All whilst saving (or earning) some extra money in the process.
Then there’s the added joy of receiving a surprise box in the post, hand-picked just for you – I love hearing clients stories of their child’s reaction to opening it!
If it helps our environment, our pockets, amazing charities and our sanity, then it has to be worth a try.
Have you always had a passion for sustainability?
The statistics on the impact of sustainable shopping on the environment are compelling. It’s estimated that £30 billion worth of clothes that have never been worn are hanging in wardrobes across the UK, and by wearing something for an extra nine months we can reduce its carbon footprint by 20-30%. I hadn’t fully appreciated that impact until I started to build out my business concept.
Buying pre-loved is such a positive change to make – particularly when you consider that children move through, on average, 6 dress sizes in the first two years alone, resulting in quick turnover of beautiful outfits with very short lifespans. If we can lengthen that lifespan, we can make a big impact on the world we live in. My belief is that one of the most effective ways to encourage that change is in making the process as easy as possible for customers.
Which charities will you be supporting?
I feel very passionate that there is a charitable aspect to the Little Threads business, whether that be donating clothes items or funds. Upon starting the business, I made a pledge that 50% of profits made from items donated to us by families will be passed to good causes and I’ve already had exciting conversations with a few charities about how we could support them in different ways, from donating items to families that need them, to supporting fundraising events. I’m proud to be supporting Thames Hospice and Women’s Aid so far, with more hopefully to be announced in the future.
Could your business eventually expand to adult clothing or other pre-loved items?
I would of course love Little Threads to expand in the future and there are so many potential areas we could go into, but the priority will always be to offer the very best service in what we do. The next natural expansion would be to increase the clothes sizes we buy and sell (currently we focus on the early years, newborn – 5/6 years) as this would mean families could continue to use our service for longer as their children grow and could even brief us themselves on what they’d like to wear! I’m excited to create a community of parents around the business and will listen to their ideas and suggestions to inform those decisions.