What if the number of people you could invite to a clothing swap party wasn’t limited by the size of your living room or event space? You’d probably invite a lot more people and swap a lot more clothes, right? That’s the idea behind thredUp, an online clothing exchange that lets users trade clothes with people from all over the country. Instead of wasting time hauling your used clothing to a vintage shop or selling it on eBay, offer it up for free on thredUp. When a member requests an item that you’ve got, you’ll ship it to her through the mail. In return, you’ll get an item in your size mailed directly to your doorstep.
Before you can get started playing around with thredUp, you need to buy some envelopes. For a $5 fee you can get a “quick-thred” pack, which includes an envelope that should be filled with an item of your choosing and mailed to the thredUp warehouse. Based on what it is in the envelope, ThredUp will do its best to look for a similar style it thinks you’ll like and mail it to you. You can also go to the Closet page and describe an article of clothing you’re willing to send out, and select preferences as to the type of items you’d like to receive in return. Each time thredUp finds a “match,” you will be given the address of a fellow user who has been selected to receive something from your online closet. At the same time, you will become eligible to receive another clothing item from the same “Brand Tier” as the item you sent out.
Users don’t need to take photos of the clothes they are agreeing to swap, and they aren’t given images of the items they are set to receive, either. Instead, they are submitting themselves to the accuracy of thredUp’s own matching system, which does its best to match users to the clothes they predict they’ll like. While it’s far from perfect, thredUp is a fun system that lets you get and receive slightly worn items just for the cost of a shipping envelope. You can’t get much cheaper or better than that.
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