NYC mom starts online swap service for children’s clothes
“The golden rule is only list what you want to receive,” said founder Gemma James.
1 of 5
2 of 5
Gemma James with her 1-year-old son.|Gemma James
3 of 5
4 of 5
5 of 5
Children grow every day but unfortunately their clothes never seem to catch up, so one New York City mom believes she has the answer to help out parents who are always on the move.
Gemma James is the mind behind Momshood, an online children’s clothes swap service, which started out of James’ own frustration of not knowing what to do with her son’s old clothes and also not wanting to throw them out.
Working as a consultant in the real estate industry, the Bronx resident said that once she had her son — who is now a little over 1 years old — she realized how hard it was being a mom while working full time.
Her time to do tasks was greatly reduced and she wanted to find an easier way to get things done —and also without having to spend too much.
When it came to her son’s clothes, she tried to look for stores where she could swap or donate the old clothes, but she said she was always met with more questions than solutions.
“I was continuously frustrated that there wasn’t an easier way to do things,” James said. “Everything was complicated. I want to give a whole bag and get a whole bag.”
Out of the frustration, Momshood was initially created as a new moms parenting blog where James could communicate with other parents.
However, after speaking with other moms, the idea came to create a service that would allow parents to swap clothes that their children have either outgrown or never used and moms could also swap out their maternity clothes.
The original concept of the service was meant to reach mothers in New York City, because as a city mom James felt it was a service many could find helpful. However, with the service all being done online and via mail, moms from all over are welcomed to join.
“I think it resonates for New York moms because we are busy, and we don’t have a lot of space,” James said. “It resonates with city living but it’s applicable to other places.”
Along with helping the parents out, James added that through the swapping service they will also be able to help out the environment by preventing the unused clothes from ending up in landfills.
According to James, in the United States 85 percent of clothes end up in landfills — with about 10.5 million tons of clothes a year.
“The idea of reusing and recycling is on the forefront of a lot of people’s minds and I think this is an easy way of facilitating it,” she said.
To use the service, parents simply have to sign up at momshood.com and they will receive free shipping boxes. Once the boxes are received, parents gather the clothes and sort them out by size, gender and season.
When looking to claim a box, parents search by size, gender and season, and moms can also search for maternity wear. Users just then pay a shipping fee and admin fee as well, and wait for their box to arrive.
“You have to offer one up to get one,” James said.
All clothes that are given must be of good quality — with no stains, holes or tears — and James said that there is a review system that will allow parents to give reviews on others who they have swapped boxes with — preventing any negative experiences.
“The golden rule is only list what you want to receive,” James said. “We are a community of parents and there is a degree of trust here.”
To get more parents to join — and also to bring more boxes to offer users online — James has turned to Kickstarter to spread the word.
James — who herself will use the service now that she is expecting a daughter, and none of her son's clothes can be used again — said she encourages parents to try it out.
“It’s free to join, it’s free to list a box. It’s a low risk,” she said. “See how it goes.”