ThredUp: A Site to Lose Your Shirt Over

Ever have one of those times when you opened your closet and couldn’t find anything to wear? Last fall, this is just what inspired Harvard Business School alum, James Reinhart, to start a company based on helping others with this predicament.

ThredUp, based in Cambridge, MA, is a peer-to-peer online clothing exchange. It’s not like eBay or Craigslist where things are bid on or sold based on looks. On ThredUp, users cannot see pictures of inventory, but only enter specific information into the database about what type of item they’re looking for.

It’s like getting Christmas presents, co-founder Chris Homer says. People generally know what you like, but don’t have a specific list.

At the moment, the site boasts a variety of high-end brand men’s and women’s shirts ready for purchase. Why no other clothing items yet? The focus right now is getting the whole method working to perfection, Homer says, though the next step is to expand the site to kids’ shirts (hopefully during Spring 2010).

For $25, you get three envelopes in which to place the shirts you’re ready to exchange. Have a shirt you hate to iron or a tee you’re just plain tired of? Exchange it for something better. But remember, you get what you give. The FAQ section of the site clearly says to only trade items that are in style, specifying “No MC Hammer pants please.”

If you gets a bad item, or “dead thread”, make sure to fill out a review on the item. If it’s bad quality, or a “dead thread”, the sender gets a mark against them and the receiver is put back into the queue (at or near the beginning) for a chance at another item.

We want people to do “the least amount possible to make the most successful trade”, Homer says.

With more than 4,000 people signed up from across the country- access for people in the states of Alaska and Hawaii are being worked on- ThredUp is quickly growing in popularity, and therefore in inventory.

To start, register on the site , add each item you want to get rid of to your “closet”, set a minimum number of preferences and purchase your first package of envelopes. And then start “ThreddingUp”.

I can’t wait to see what these self-proclaimed knitwits do next.

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