30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription


Photo by brooklyn

Today’s idea is about shopping for clothes at thrift stores or charity shops. There’s some great stuff out there, if you know where to look and how to look – and as long as they’ve got something in your size, you can grab a real bargain, construct a unique look that suits you, and help a good cause all at the same time.

But the problem with charity shops is that the ones with the best stuff seem to always be somewhere else – either in another city or, more usually, in a small town that you’re almost never likely to visit.

So today’s idea is about an online service that solves that problem. It’s a subscription service that sends you a parcel of great clothes in your size every month.

Charity clothing club
Okay, so I’m yet to think of a good name for this – but here’s how it would work.

You’d sign up to an online service with your name, address and so on. You’d indicate your chest size, waist size, shoe size, hat size – and some preferences (no Hawaiian shirts, for instance). You’d pay a monthly subscription fee, and you would be guaranteed a certain number of garments a month.

Young, clothing-conscious people (think art and fashion-design students, for instance) raid every charity shop in the land each month for the best pieces and these are collected at central depots to create the subscriber packs.

You could elect to get (for instance) at least two shirts and a pair of trousers every month, but you might also get a hat, or a cool belt with a giant eagle buckle every now and then. It’s pretty much a lucky dip.

But they’d turn up neatly packaged, nicely cleaned, pressed and folded – each package a surprise and delight.

You’d get some great clothes selected by people who know what they’re doing and love to rummage, you’d save a lot of money – and you’d be helping out too.

And if there’s anything that turns up that you don’t like – you could always just take it down to your nearest charity shop.

Table of contents for 30 Days of Ideas

  1. The other way of following first
  2. Now we’re up and dancing
  3. 30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash
  4. 30 days of ideas – 02: Radio Alerts
  5. 30 days of ideas – 03: Only Famous (a romantic comedy)
  6. 30 days of ideas – 04: Modcasts
  7. 30 days of ideas – 05: Numberless Calendar
  8. 30 days of ideas – 06: SpringCleanr
  9. 30 days of ideas – 07: Street Gallery
  10. 30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards
  11. 30 days of ideas – 09: Recordings in Concert
  12. 30 days of ideas – 10: Vinyl scanner
  13. 30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan
  14. 30 days of ideas – 12: A Box of Cool
  15. 30 days of ideas – 13: Karaoke-Tube Celebstar Idol
  16. 30 days of ideas – 14: I Made You A Tape
  17. 30 days of ideas – 15: Newspaper download codes
  18. 30 days of ideas – 16: Pebble Splash
  19. 30 days of ideas – 17: Digital radio, somewhere useful
  20. 30 days of ideas – 18: Public domain music collection
  21. 30 days of ideas – 19: Blog cast-list automator
  22. 30 days of ideas – 20: The Retirement Pile
  23. 30 days of ideas – 21: Nationalise EMI
  24. 30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)
  25. 30 days of ideas – 23: WordPress Bandcampify template
  26. 30 days of ideas – 24: Rollercoasters as public transport
  27. 30 days of ideas – 25: Next-gen personalised music radio
  28. 30 days of ideas – 26: New Music Trust
  29. 30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening
  30. 30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription
  31. 30 days of ideas – 29: ‘Now Playing’ social music app
  32. 30 days of ideas – 30: House of Spare Ideas
  33. Mixtape for You by Ray Kuyvenhoven
  34. What can you do in 30 days?
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4 Responses to “30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription”

  1. Andrew Cowie says:

    Hmm… not sure about having someone else choose my clothes for me but you can already buy Oxfam clothes online: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/second-hand-store?ito=3393

  2. Dubber says:

    I’d have people choose clothes for me in a second. I always default to black long-sleeved t-shirts and jeans – so getting a bit of variety in there would be no bad thing, but I get choice paralysis. Great to have an extensive menu out there, but there are some times you just want someone to put a plate of food in front of you and tell you to eat it.

    That Oxfam online shopping thing seems kind of overpriced. I’m no expert, but those seem like High Street prices (or very nearly) and when I’ve seen clothes in charity shops, it’s always been in the £2-5 bracket – not the £15-25.

    While I’m delighted for my money to go to a good cause, it’s not the reason I’d buy at Oxfam, rather than wear new clothes. Don’t think I’d buy a single thing off that website as it is, but if they were sufficiently cheap, I’d probably buy quite a bit. And let’s not forget the clothes were donated…

    Call me a cheapskate.

    But yeah – for me, having clothes just turn up in the mail (given that they’d fit me, and they’re not appalling) – would be an absolute joy.

  3. Business ideas for cheapskates can be a bit tricky to get off the ground, sadly!

    I think I’d personally prefer to have some say in which clothes I received, but having some suggested would be great. This could probably be achieved quite well using a collaborative-filtering recommendation engine, though.

    Here’s the seed of a radically different idea: my sister is incredibly lucky – there’s somebody who regularly donates to a charity shop near her who is her size (even shoe size) and shares her taste in clothes.

    Instead of just taking the clothes, muddling them up and leaving the buyer to sift through them all, how about a system that helps anonymously pair up donors with buyers?

  4. luciyahelan says:

    Realy, Hat’s off. Well done, as we know that “hard work always pays off”, after a long struggle with sincere effort it’s done. This action proof to be a win, win situation. This is a true art work, which will be a success story.There’s usually a good bunch of talent nominated- they just don’t usually win.While I’m delighted for my money to go to a good cause, it’s not the reason I’d buy at Oxfam, rather than wear new clothes. Don’t think I’d buy a single thing off that website as it is, but if they were sufficiently cheap, I’d probably buy quite a bit. And let’s not forget the clothes were donated…
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