last-minute sustainable gift ideas

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If you celebrate Christmas and are like me, this last week before the holiday is a bit of a scramble to finish up all the preparations, including finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones. I do some of my gift selections earlier, but I also wait to make my final purchases to make sure I’m really choosing the right thing for each person. Ok, some of it is procrastination, but since many of my choices are sustainable, I don’t have to worry about the hot new thing being sold out.

Choosing gifts that are sustainable is easier on the environment, and can be easier on the budget as well. I don’t subscribe to the idea that something must be new to be a gift nor that it must be something that can be unwrapped. There are so many ways to show your love for someone while showing love for the earth at the same time.

Below are some sustainable gift ideas for you to explore for the important people in your life.

homemade

baked goods

ndwc_homemade gift_baking

Who doesn’t love something scrumptious?

crafty fun

Instead of fighting crowds at the mall, get your maker hat on to create something big or small! Some of my most precious gifts are things made by my family members. Ornaments for the tree, coasters, book marks, knitted and crocheted hats, decorative pillows – the options are endless!

new-to-you

Consignment shops have so many amazing items that make wonderful gifts. Elite Repeat Consignment and Boutique (women’s clothing and accessories and giftables), Fashion Avenue (designer women and men’s clothing, accessories and jewelry), and Nu Look Consignment (women and men’s clothing and accessories) are all independent consignment shops that carry very high quality pieces. Look for:

cashmere

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At a fraction of the cost of retail, you can wrap your loved one in coziness without breaking the bank.

high-end jewelry and accessories

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Find luxury brand jewelry, scarves, ties, and more – again at 1/3 retail pricing.

items with tags still on

I frequently find gorgeous clothing with the retail tags still on them – meaning they are brand new! A client recently purchased something with the tags on it as a Christmas gift for her partner during a personal shopping session at a consignment store.

gift card for a new-to-you shop

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Not sure exactly what your loved one will like? Consignment shops sell gift cards, just like retail shops!

experiences

Experiences are one of the most sustainable gifts ever – less stuff AND creating time for your loved one to take a break to do something fun!

spa services – massage, facial, manicure, etc.

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I’ve mentioned how much I love my hair stylist Bee at Urban Village SalonSpa in previous blog posts. This fall my mother-in-law gave me a gift card (sustainable birthday gift!) to enjoy some of the other services there. LOVED. IT. I chose a massage with Sarah and a session with esthetician Whitney. Both were simply amazing. I would happily receive a gift card to Urban Village at every gift-giving opportunity! HINT.

plans for a date night with a gift card to a favorite or new restaurant

Simply making time to do something together can be the greatest gift. And the Twin Cities have so many fabulous restaurants!

cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a fancy hotel or bar

The craft cocktail scene has exploded in the past few years. Two of my favorites are The Commodore in St. Paul, a gorgeously restored Art Deco venue, and Marvel Bar under The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, which feels like a speakeasy.

wacky fun

Mini-golf and arcade games accompanied by adult milkshakes? Axe-throwing? Yep. Check out Can Can Wonderland for fun for all ages and FlannelJax’s for your favorite lumberjack wannabe.

gift card to a movie theater with enough for two tickets and treats

Classic fun!

tickets to the theater

We have such great theater in the Twin Cities! Get tickets to a play at The Guthrie or a touring Broadway show at one of the Hennepin Theater Trust venues.

gift certificate to NDWC – pair it with a consignment shop gift card!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I offer gift certificates for any service or dollar amount. Give the gift of living your life without your wardrobe bringing you down and feeling great about how you look. So. much. fun.

I hope you enjoy the holiday season with the people who are important to you. The gift of time to reflect and share gratitude is the greatest gift of all.

happy holidays!

[VIDEO] a spring in your step for mother’s day

Nancy Dilts Wardrobe Consulting_A Spring in Your Step[VIDEO] A Spring in Your Step for Mother’s Day

happy mother’s day

Celebrate the mother or important woman in your life! Watch my latest video for 1 outfit 3 ways by using shoes to change the level of dress for however you mark the day this weekend.

celebrate your loved one with a ndwc gift certificate

Give the gift of feeling great about how you look to your loved one with a gift certificate for any service, service package, or dollar amount. It’s a gift of confidence in what you are wearing, less stress around getting dressed, and precious time saved to live your life! Contact me today.

enjoy the spring weather!

 

i ♥ resale: twin cities new-to-you shopping guide – updated

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Source: NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals

happy earth day!

Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day 2018. A couple of years ago, I marked the day with a resource guide for resale shops – mostly consignment – in the Twin Cities. We are fortunate to have so many choices of resale shops with high quality clothing being kept in the use stream!

“But the true gold mine is the constant savings resale shoppers realize every day, both in their personal budgets and in the reduction of waste by the recycling of gently-used good possessions.
~ NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals

I’ve updated the guide this year to include more shops and provide current information about all of them. I’m so happy to add two consignment shops that carry plus-size clothing exclusively – Cake Plus-Size Resale in Minneapolis and Stacked Curvy Girl Consignment Boutique in Shakopee! Plus-size clothing has been under-represented in the consignment world, so it’s good to see that changing.

Elite Repeat is holding their annual fundraiser for Friends of the Parks and Trails this Sunday, where a portion of Earth Day sales goes towards planting trees in the community. Other shops are having sales to mark the day as well.

Enjoy!
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shopping new-to-you in the twin cities

women and men

Cake Plus-Size Resale (Minneapolis and online)  website

Clothing for all genders, sizes XL – 4XL+ | $ – $$ | Mall and online brands | Resale Process: cash outright | Independent shop

Cherie Consignment Boutique (Excelsior)  facebook page

Women’s sizes 0-14 | $$ – $$$ | High-level brands – Designer | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Clothes Mentor (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $ – $$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Elite Repeat (St. Paul)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore (St. Paul)   website

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore Designer Consignment Boutique (Eden Prairie)   website

Women’s sizes 0-3X | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s, Children’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Second Début (St. Louis Park)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

Stacked Curvy Girl Consignment Boutique (new location in Shakopee opening April 28, 2018)  website

Women’s sizes 14 – 4X+ | $ -$$ | Mall and online brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Style Encore (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-4X | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s, Children’s | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

high-end/designer/couture

Fashion Avenue & Fashion Avenue 2 (Edina, Wayzata)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – Couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

June (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes XS – L | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer and couture | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

Mona Williams (Mall of America)   website

Women’s sizes 0-14 | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer vintage and couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Rodeo Drive (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-18 | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

eclectic/vintage

b.  (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Streetwear and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Independent shop

Buffalo Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Mall brands and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store trade| National franchise

Everyday People (St. Paul)   website

Women’s 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Funky and vintage | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

My Sister’s Closet (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ – $$$ | High-level brands, designer, vintage | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Rewind (Minneapolis)  website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Funky and vintage | Resale process: no walk-ins, appointments for large quantities or estates | Independent shop

teen/young adult

Gina+Will (Minneapolis)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-3X, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

NTY Clothing Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 1-19, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Plato’s Closet (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-20, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store trade | Minnesota-based national franchise

children

(Children’s sizes only)
Children’s Orchard (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Once Upon a Child (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

(Children’s sections)
Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ – $$ | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Kid’s sizes 2T – 16 | $ | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

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i ♥ resale: 5 items for spring

resale reboot

Shopping resale is a great way to add a few key on-trend pieces to your wardrobe to keep things fresh without breaking the bank (and it’s easier on the environment). I always say only embrace a trend if it resonates with you – these trends are all classic and enduring, which I love.

You never know what you will find at a resale shop – and remember, consignment is much more reliable than thrifting. Both are great, but are very different experiences. Consignment shops have already applied the quality control and current style filters for you.

When I shop resale (90% of my wardrobe), I shop with an item or style in mind, and I’m open regarding brand and variation. I may find the exact item I want, or come across something that is only within the category, but is perfect for me. I reliably find what I want. Sometimes, if I’m looking for something very specific, it may take more than one shopping time – to me it’s worth the wait, unless I need something for a particular event.

Here’s what I’ll be looking for this Spring.

Find all of these images and more inspiration for Spring on my Spring 2018 Pinterest board

1. military green utility jacket

Utility jackets have been in for a couple of years and show no signs of going out, because they are so functional and so fun. I recommend them constantly to clients, but have never gotten one for me – that will change this season! You can almost always find them in the consignment shops.

2. oversized plaid blazer or top

This trend started last Spring, and I love it. I love classic prints, and plaid is the ultimate. This one may take a little looking and patience to find the perfect one for me – I don’t mind though – more reason to scope the consignment shops! 🙂

3. sheer embroidered floral dress or duster

I LOVE the feminine combination of sheer fabric and a small print floral, especially embroidered. This is a style where I will use the chic runway look as inspiration, but am open to variation. It could be a dress, skirt, or duster, and I’ll know the right one for me when I see it.

4. bold print blouse

Bold geometric and graphic floral prints as well as mixed-print blouses are a beautiful way to add a little edge and interest to business wear or to dress up a jeans outfit. This category of blouse is reliably in stock at consignment shops. Choose a print that speaks to you.

5. oxfords/brogues

Lucky me – during the preparation of this blog post, I found the bottom-left oxford (unworn!) in black and white at Fashion Avenue in Edina. Love them, love them, love them! Now the rest of the snow just needs to melt…

and one for summer – comfort sandals

I typically wear more refined shoes – clunky footwear can throw off the balance of lines of an outfit. The comfort sandal is very on trend now though with stylish Birkenstocks and big, cushy-soled variations. And, they’re comfy! I’ll be looking for something comfortable for a lot of walking to wear with casual outfits this summer, and I like the idea of a bright color or something with a little edge to it. We’ll see what I find!

Think Spring!

 

 

#secondhandfirst

The new normal for weather patterns everywhere is volatility. Here we swing from 90s to 50s and back and have dramatic thunderstorms and droughts thrown in. My previous career included work dedicated to improving water quality: 1-inch rainfall events used to be the standard used for managing stormwater – now the standard is 4-inch rainfall events.

This is climate change in action.

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What does this have to do with the clothing we wear? A lot. The growth and manufacture of the textile fibers used, how garments are created, the transport of them around the globe, and their disposal all have environmental impact and contribute to climate change in varying degrees. And the fashion industry only continues to expand, with American spending on clothing and footwear up 14% in 2016, according to a recent article in the New York Times that grapples with this issue.

It’s grim to think about the long-term impact our consumer actions have. But there is a way to lessen our impact, and boy is it sweet.

#secondhandfirst

This hashtag has been cropping up here and there with more frequency on social media, and I. LOVE. IT. It’s been around for bit – check out #secondhandfirst on Instagram and on Twitter – and lately thredUP has been using it specifically in their marketing.

I love it, because it is the perfect way to remember how to practice sustainable consumerism – my ndwc mission. Buy second-hand (what I like to call new-to-you) clothing first. You can also call it resale. Whatever phrase works for you, just do it!

There are so many fabulous clothing resale options in the Twin Cities as well as online. It makes so much sense to shop new-to-you – both environmentally and economically. And now is the perfect time to check it out; summer sales at consignment shops begin in July – items that are typically priced 1/3 of retail cost are 50-75% off those prices.

“The environmental problems from textiles will continue to compound if we can’t get rid of that mind-set that clothing is disposable.”  ~ Frances Kozen

Clothing is not disposable. #Secondhandfirst means keeping high quality clothing that will last in the use stream – reducing demand for the manufacture of new clothing and lessening solid-waste issues around the world. It means each of us taking a simple action to reduce our impact on the environment. (Added bonus: it reduces impact on our pocketbooks too!)

If enough of us practice sustainable consumerism, together we can make positive change. Let’s do it!

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i ♥ resale: Elite Repeat

In honor of Earth Day last year, I posted a roundup of consignment and resale clothing shops in the Twin Cities. We are fortunate to have a broad selection of choices – each having its own niche in the market.

As we mark Earth Day tomorrow, I’m celebrating practicing sustainable consumerism with the first in a periodic series, I ♥ Resale, featuring local consignment shops.

ndwc_ER_storefront

elite repeat

Elite Repeat is a gem. Located on Randolph Avenue at Hamline in St. Paul, the shop celebrated its 40th Anniversary last fall. After 18 years as an employee, Melissa “Missy” Auran took ownership of Elite Repeat in 2014, and she has brought a fresh eye, tone, and energy in her new role.

Elite Repeat features “designer and on-trend clothing and accessories.” The consignment portion of the shop has recently been augmented with an increased selection of new jewelry, scarves, and “giftables,” many of which are Minnesota-made.

Elite Repeat’s selection is appealing to women of all ages and styles – classic, contemporary, trendy, and couture. You will find higher-end mall brands like JCrew, Talbots, and Banana Republic, all the way up to Burberry, Prada, Chanel, and St. John. They also have a nice selection of outerwear, athletic wear (think Athleta, Lululemon, and more), accessories and handbags, and shoes.

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Melissa Auran

“Customer service is really important to us – it’s how we distinguish ourselves. We want Elite Repeat to feel like a boutique – and we want people to feel good when they are here, whether they buy something or not.”  ~Missy Auran

Elite Repeat is very selective in what it accepts for consignment: “Items need to be in excellent condition and current [3 or less years old, unless a timeless designer piece],” according to Missy. “We have a very large and loyal consigner base, and we are always looking for new consigners – from teens to grandparents.”

This makes shopping easier – I know when I do a personal shopping session with a client at Elite Repeat that the clothing will be like brand new. And the staff is careful about not overcrowding the racks, which can get overwhelming and frustrating. If you are looking for a particular item, they will bring out any extra stock for you.

The staff regularly refreshes displays and creates an appealing, relaxing environment to shop in while featuring their offerings.

Once a customer told Missy, “This is the one store where I can shop together with my mom. At the mall we have to shop in separate stores to find what each of us likes.”

Elite Repeat has a fabulous selection of dresses, workwear, and casual pieces.

Elite Repeat reliably has gorgeous shoes – from casual, like these on trend for summer espadrilles, to drool-worthy high end designer brands.

Handbags range from good quality mall brands to designer, like the Kate Spade one on the left. They are always in excellent condition and reflect contemporary styles.

A portion of the shop features “giftables,” many Minnesota-made. You will find lotions, house decor, accessories, and more.

Missy’s first job in retail was at Dayton’s! Elite Repeat just started carrying Bygone Brand Apparel’s homage to the historic department store’s iconic logo. You can find memories of Elite Repeat’s original concept of couture consignment in decor like these vintage department store hatboxes.

giving back

For a second year, Elite Repeat is celebrating Earth Day (tomorrow, Saturday, April 22!) by giving a portion of the day’s sales to plant trees in the community through Friends Of The Parks And Trails Of St Paul And Ramsey County.

The shop also holds a food drive two times a year in conjunction with their seasonal clearance sales in July and February. Shoppers receive 75% (instead of 50%) off all items with a food or cash donation to The Food Group.

And Elite Repeat supports organizations like Dress for Success, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, and Operation Glass Slipper by donating all unsold merchandise at the end of the season, and consigners receive the tax donation slips for their items. Consigners can also donate their earnings to an organization of their choice.

when you go

You will receive a warm welcome and a great selection of new-to-you clothing at Elite Repeat. As Missy says – and I couldn’t agree more, “We want people to wear what makes them feel good!”

 

 

Earth Day everyday: a resource guide to shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities

guilt-free style: practicing sustainable consumerism – part 2

Today we celebrate Earth Day. This month’s posts honor the tenets of Earth Day by exploring how we, as clothing consumers, can reduce our impact on the environment in practical, doable ways and feel great about how we look at the same time. Read on – knowledge leads to action.

I heart resale

We shouldn’t have to choose between feeling good about how we look and feeling good about what we buy.

In my last post, I discussed the human rights and environmental implications of the manufacture of most new clothing today. Super cheerful stuff (NOT), but extremely important.

So what do we do about it? Here’s my formula for feeling good about how we look, AND feeling good about what we buy.

We can practice sustainable consumerism with our wardrobes (and the rest of our stuff, really) by:

  1. Maximizing the functionality of your existing wardrobe.
  2. Shopping new-to-you whenever possible when purchasing clothing.
  3. When buying new, shopping ethically.

Below is a resource guide for shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities – use this as a tool to take action as a sustainable consumer. We are fortunate to have many, many resale shops here, making our choices for new-to-you clothing easy to find and wide in selection.

Resale shops range from non-profit/charitable organization thrift stores to upscale couture consignment shops. Thrift stores have wonderful finds and are economically the most beneficial, but require more searching and patience.

Consignment/resale shops do the editing for us, selecting high-quality, up-to-date garments that are in good condition before putting them on the sales floor. The price point at consignment stores is typically 1/3 or less of the retail price, creating an affordable way to purchase better-made, longer-lasting garments while keeping those garments in the use stream – rather than the waste stream – at the same time. Most shops also carry accessories and jewelry, handbags, and shoes in good condition.

This list gives a good overview of the wide range of consignment/resale shops in the Twin Cities. If you have a favorite that isn’t on the list, please do include it in the comments below. I’ve organized the guide by primary stock categories, typical price range (remember – 1/3 or less of retail prices, so $ means many items are under $10!), how the resale process works, and whether it’s an independent shop or a franchise.

In upcoming posts, I will feature specific stores to give a closer look at the shops I typically choose for my clients and why. I’ll also discuss where to shop ethically when buying new. If you have a favorite consignment/resale shop or ethical brand you’d like to see featured, comment below!

shopping new-to-you in the Twin Cities: a resource guide

women and men

Clothes Mentor (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $ – $$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale Process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Elite Repeat (St. Paul)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore (St. Paul)   facebook page

Women’s sizes 0-26 | $$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Encore Designer Consignment Boutique (Eden Prairie)   website

Women’s sizes 0-3X | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s, Children’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Second Début (St. Louis Park)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s | $$ – $$$ | High-level and designer brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

Style Encore (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-4X | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Women’s – all sizes, Men’s, Children’s | $ – $$$ | Mall brands – designer | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

high-end/designer/couture

Fashion Avenue & Fashion Avenue 2 (Edina, Wayzata)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – Couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

June (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes XS – L | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer and couture | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

Mona Williams (Mall of America)   website

Women’s sizes 0-14 | $$$ – $$$$ | Designer and couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Rodeo Drive (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-18 | $$ – $$$$ | High-level brands – couture | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

eclectic/vintage

b.  (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Streetwear and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Independent shop

Buffalo Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Mall brands and vintage | Resale process: cash outright or store trade| National franchise

Everyday People (St. Paul)   website

Women’s 0-16, Men’s | $ – $$ | Funky and vintage | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

My Sister’s Closet (Minneapolis)   website

Women’s sizes 0-16 | $$ – $$$ | High-level brands, designer, vintage | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

teen/young adult

Gina+Will (Minneapolis)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-3X, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: donated goods from Goodwill | Non-profit organization

NTY Clothing Exchange (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 1-19, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Plato’s Closet (multiple locations)   website

Girl’s sizes 0-20, Guy’s | $ | Mall brands | Resale process: cash outright or store trade | Minnesota-based national franchise

children

(Children’s sizes only)
Children’s Orchard (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright or store credit | Minnesota-based national franchise

Kid’s Carousel (Eagan)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright | Independent shop

Once Upon a Child (multiple locations)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ | Resale process: cash outright | Minnesota-based national franchise

(Children’s sections)
Nu Look (Minneapolis)   website

Baby – Kid’s size 16 | $ – $$ | Resale process: consignment | Independent shop

Turn Style (multiple locations)   website

Kid’s sizes 2T – 16 | $ | Resale process: consignment | National franchise

Choose-to-Reuse