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ThredUp Inks First Resale Partnership Outside of Fashion

ThredUp is extending its resale-as-a-service offering with its first non-fashion partnership in a signal that more organizations across industries are participating in the apparel resale economy.

LG Electronics USA, which manufactures a wide range of electronics including home appliances, home entertainment products, mobile phones, commercial displays, air conditioning systems and laundry systems, is partnering with ThredUp to power an apparel clean out program.

Part of LG’s “Second Life” campaign, which aims to inspire people to care for what they wear and reduce their fashion footprint, the new initiative is designed to enable consumers to responsibly clean out unwanted items from their closets and give them a “second life.”

“At ThredUp, we believe that to take fashion from linear to circular, we need to rethink every aspect of the clothing life cycle,” said Pooja Sethi, senior vice president and general manager of resale-as-a-service at ThredUp, in a statement. “We are thrilled to work with an innovative company like LG to power apparel clean out for their customers and believe this deal shows that any company—not just fashion retailers—can participate in apparel resale through RaaS, reaching new audiences and paving the way for a more sustainable future for fashion.”

U.S. shoppers can order a ThredUp x LG donation “clean out kit” or print a donation label online. Customers can fill their clean out kit or any shippable box with women’s and kids’ apparel, shoes, and accessories and ship them to ThredUp. Approximately 40 percent of items are accepted from each kit, and standard processing times for clean out kits take up to eight weeks.

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For each donation ThredUp receives, LG and ThredUp will donate $5 to a select charity of the seller’s choice. The resale platform then gives re-sellable items a “second life” by making them available in its marketplace.

While one might not associate LG with apparel, the electronics company’s presence in laundry gives it a unique insight into the category, particularly when it comes to treating softgoods with care. LG launched a “Second Life” road tour in April, committing to collect up to 10,000 pounds of clothing to be donated to local organizations to help support families in need of clean clothes.

And in response to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on clothing donations, LG even created a wash center in Los Angeles equipped with its ultra-capacity LG washers and dryers and LG Styler steam closet. This way, the electronics company could assure donors that their contributions are clean and sanitized ahead of their delivery to local organizations.

“While LG’s top-rated washers and dryers help millions of Americans take the very best care of their fabrics, we know that styles change, tastes change, even sizes change,” said Peggy Ang, head of marketing at LG Electronics USA, in a statement. “As a leader in fabric care, LG is invested in how to care for your clothes throughout their lifecycle—from how you wash them to how you ultimately pass them on. Working with ThredUp on this nationwide initiative enables us to scale these efforts in a unique way, while shining a light on the important issue of textile waste and inspiring consumers to take responsible action for the planet.”

ThredUp continues to bring more brands to its platform, recently teaming with Farfetch to expand its clothing donation program into the U.S., as well as partnering with Vera Bradley. This adds to a robust network for ThredUp, which also works with Gap, Madewell, Reformation and Abercrombie & Fitch among many other apparel sellers.

To manage its growth, ThredUp is planning to build a new distribution center that will be active in mid-2022, CEO James Reinhart revealed in the company’s May earnings call.

The resale-as-a-service platform is bullish on the growth of resale across the board. In its recent annual report, ThredUp estimated that resale’s market share could double over the next five years to hit $77 billion. By 2025, resale might grow 11 times faster than the broader retail sector.

The 2021 Resale Report estimated that 36 billion clothing items are thrown away in the U.S. each year, with 95 percent potentially being recycled or reused. ThredUp contends that retailers are still only scratching the surface of what they can accomplish. “Pre-loved” apparel currently comprises less than 1 percent of the total apparel volume sold by retailers with a resale component, the company said.