Jennifer Zuklie was a working mom who found herself surrounded by a sea of kids clothes. Bins of her children’s clothes she was hoping to pass down or reuse.
“I tried to save them and put them in all the bins,” Zuklie said. “I really just wanted to wave that magic wand and turn it into that next season or that next size.”
But when the sizes and seasons just weren’t working out as hand-me-downs, she combined her corporate experience and her roots for a solution. Zuklie had worked as the head of a global e-commerce vacation exchange business.
“I grew up in the Midwest where, you know, we did church basement clothing swaps,” Zuklie said.
That’s when she had the idea for The Swoondle Society, an online platform for up-cycling children’s clothes where you swap your goods for credit to buy other items. Zuklie said it’s easy to use once or to become a monthly member.
“You sign up and you get a prepaid shipping bag. Once they fill up their bag, they give it to the post office. It comes to us. So we do all the work for you,” Zuklie said. “We catalog what it is, and then it gets valued in terms of a one, two, three, four or five based on the like the value of that good.”
Those values can then be used to buy other items and sizes that you may be in the market for. Once your items are sent in, they are prepped and ready to sell to someone else.
“As soon as we process your items, you then have items you have credit in your cart,” Zuklie said.
It started as a hobby and became a full-blown business in 2019. They are now swapping and selling used items in all 50 states. She said the mission is two fold – not only is it helping families save money, it has a big sustainability component.
Clothes aren’t tossed in the trash, instead, even small items like onesies get bundled in bulk for resale or donated to community organizations they partner with, including in Boston.
Zuklie said the feedback has been rewarding and so has heard that this is even changing how many of her users shop in general.
“That’s the behavioral change you hope people are getting from this,” Zuklie said, noting that it’s a mindset. “Let’s buy something that’s better quality. Let’s buy something that will have value for the world as well as me after I’m finished with it. ”
Zuklie said she hopes to see even more people join their “society,” where helping parents save and save the planet goes hand in hand.