When 7-months-pregnant Caroline O’Conner was bombarded with gifts of baby clothes, she figured there must be some green-friendly way to deal with the multitude of garments that her child would wear for maybe a month or two. She quickly realized there wasn’t. So O’Conner, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, founded a site to prevent baby clothing pile-up.
Inspired by Netflix, Plum allows parents to sign up for a monthly delivery service: 2 outfits for $16/month, 4 outfits for $29/month, and 7 outfits for $49/month. Sizes range from 0-3 to 2T, and you can request specific, season-appropriates clothes based on where you live. Clothes are all from boutique brands like Egg Baby, Tea Collection, and Kate Quinn Organics. And like many successful online shops, the package comes with an envelope for free returns (and even an organic muslin laundry bag).
In addition, all clothes are washed with organic Seventh Generation Baby Free & Clear detergent in Plum-only washing machines. The best part is you don’t have to worry about permanent stains: anything returned in less-than-perfect condition will simply be donated to foster care. (Clothes not returned at all will be charged a fee of $10 per outfit).
We’re not the only ones impressed with this brilliant start-up: only months after launching, there’s already a waiting list.
That said, what’s missing from the site is an option to either trade in old clothes for new ones or to donate them through the site to charity, in exchange for a tax credit. We’re sure there are many parents out there eager to unload used baby clothes in good condition: this would allow them to do so without a hassle (and with the benefit of scoring new items). Another problem, as some Facebook fans pointed out, is that moms want to see the clothing options first before they sign up.
But even without those improvements, Plum has an edge in the growing list of sites that help shoppers avoid piling up limited-use clothing, as it joins the successful Rent the Runway and the recently-launched NewlyMaid (which allows customers to unload bridesmaid dresses).
As a sustainable, green alternative to the waste of baby clothes, Plum has our vote. Now we look forward to seeing how they expand their venture to handle that waitlist.