Buying baby clothes bad for the earth?
I wanted to write a blog post about just how wasteful buying baby clothes is so naturally I started my research with a google search for “baby clothes waste.” The very first link that popped up was a blog post called “‘Netflix for Baby Clothes’ to Help Parents Waste Less.” At first glance I was thinking somehow the SEO gods had pushed my recent blog post boasting how perfect the “Netflix” style subscription is for baby clothes to the top of a Google search. Alas, it was not my handy work but a post in the business section of a popular blog called “Good.”
Although seeing this post did nothing to boost my ego as far as online presence, it did help to validate my main idea: buying baby clothes is wasteful and a “Netflix” style subscription is the solution. But, before I get into the hows and whys and how nots and why nots of baby clothes waste, I want to address one concern that may have come up if you jumped to that post I generously hyperlinked for you. That beautifully titled post outlined some of the same concerns about waste as I will here but was written to promote a business called Plum Baby Gear, that has since closed its ecommerce doors. That being said, don’t assume it closed down because the “Netflix style” subscription was a bad idea. It closed down because, to be quite frank, the owners didn’t know what they were doing. A year later that same blog posted an article titled: “Can anyone make a ‘Netflix for Baby Clothes’ work?” This post highlighted a similar business called Good Karma. They have since closed down as well.
Now obviously I didn’t bring up these failed businesses to make you weary of a “Netflix style” subscription. I could go on and on about the mistakes they made and how Fitted Tot is different but you didn’t “Stumble Upon” this post to read my business babble. I bring those other guys up to show you that people are recognizing the need to change the way we shop for baby clothes in order to eliminate waste. I know the word “waste” isn’t the most pleasant word ever to be associated with “baby clothes,” but the reality is that it’s a pretty icky situation.
Approximately 12 million tons of textile waste is generated each year in North America amounting to approximately 68 lbs of waste per household per year! An astounding 5% of all landfill production is textile waste.
Of course baby and toddler clothes are only a small part of that waste but if you want to help alleviate this burden on the environment, reusing baby clothes is an obvious place to start. Babies and toddlers grow so quick that they are only in a certain size for a couple months, tops. This requires you to continuously purchase new clothes to fit them. The “Netflix style” subscription eliminates that need by sending you properly fitting clothes that someone else has already grown out of. Not only does it help alleviate waste by reusing, it also keeps you from wasting your time trying to figure out what to do with all your outgrown clothes!
I will say one thing about similar “Netflix style” subscription businesses that have come and gone before Fitted Tot: They opened before the market was ready for them. Those blog posts I mentioned were posted in 2011 and 2012 when the ecommerce subscription model hadn’t quite gained that much traction yet. Couple that hurdle with the challenge of getting people on board with the idea of putting their baby in used clothes and it’s no shock they weren’t an instant success.
Today there’s huge companies that use the “Netflix style” subscription model for adult clothes and online resale shops maximizing on outgrown baby clothes. These are all products of the sharing economy we have grown to love and rely on in our continuing quest for sustainability. Wearing used clothes doesn’t carry the stigma it once did and we’re no longer grossed out by it. Embracing it is just one necessary step closer to making our planet a greener more sustainable place.