Clothing rental is the latest craze in retail clothing. People sign up for a subscription service that sends them new clothes every month. They wear the clothes then send them back to get a new batch. Clothing rental is so hot that it is now available for children. But is renting clothes for your kids a good idea?
Kid’s rental clothing is based on the same premise. Parents rent clothing for 30 days at a time. Every month, something new arrives in the mail. However, there is an added twist that makes it a bit more attractive for kids: the speed at which they grow.
What parent has not been frustrated by putting endless hours into shopping only to have the kids outgrow what was purchased in just a few months? That’s why hand-me-downs are such an institution. Clothes purchased brand-new and barely used are passed on to siblings or nieces, nephews, and friends. There is no point in throwing away clothing that can still be worn.
Different Subscription Models
Renting clothing is nothing like going to a boutique like Salt Lake City’s The Stockist and shopping for hours on end. Rather, most subscription services operate entirely online. You sit at home with your computer or mobile device scrolling through product descriptions and pics. As for the subscriptions themselves, they can differ quite a bit.
Some subscription models allow parents to choose each and every item to be shipped. Others ask parents to fill out a profile for each of their kids, then send what they think are the best choices based on that profile. There is an obvious pitfall to the second subscription model: ending up with clothing your kids refuse to wear.
And what about getting clothes that are damaged or stained? Most companies offering clothing rental promise no worries in this regard. They promise to mend any damage clothing before sending it back out. And if articles are too damaged, they take them out of circulation. But the most sincere promises are not ironclad guarantees.
Buy What You like
Just about every clothing subscription model out there allows customers to buy what they like. So maybe your son is particularly fond of a couple of shirts that came in his most recent pack. Don’t send them back. Buy them instead. Just make sure you are getting a discount price; do not ever pay full retail for used clothing.
If you are a savvy shopper, renting is one way to get your hands on high-end brands you want to dress your kids in but can’t justify paying retail price for. Get clothing from top brands every single month. Send back what your kids don’t want and buy what they do. It is pretty simple.
Consider Your Total Spend
On its face, clothing rental for kids seems like a very good idea. A rental subscription keeps the kids clothed in good quality clothing at a price that should be less than paying retail. However, how much will you actually spend over the long run? If you rent clothing from infancy through the teen years, is it possible that your total subscription cost would outpace what you would have spent to buy clothing instead?
It is not necessarily an easy question to answer, but it’s worth running the numbers. And while you are doing so, consider thrift store shopping as well. That may be the cheapest option of all. A good thrift store find can serve a child well. And when an item is outgrown, it can be passed on to other kids or sent back to the thrift store as a donation.