Based on the principles of simplicity and purity, The Clothes Tree, has been created as a complete alternative to existing auction sites and offers mums a gentle, stylish and upmarket online boutique to purchase new and nearly new designer pieces and to sell outgrown items.
The project was championed by Business Gateway who put The Clothes Tree forward for funding via the Scottish Enterprise high growth pipeline in 2010. The company was successful in obtaining part-funding and for the past 18 months, Mhairi has been growing and developing The Clothes Tree whilst juggling the demands of single motherhood whilst working in her Surrey based role as Communications Manager for BBC One’s ‘Bionic Vet, Noel Fitzpatrick.
The Clothes Tree provides an auction style facility whereby sellers can auction their items or sell at a named price; however the company sets itself apart from the competition by providing an easy to use ‘Sell it for me’ facility. Busy mums can simply log in to The Clothes Tree site, list the number of items they wish to sell, submit the form and a few days later they receive two beautifully branded mailing bags – one of which can sit at the back of their child’s wardrobe for outgrown items to be placed inside, the other which is sent back to The Clothes Tree by Freepost.
The clothes are then steamed, hung and photographed professionally and descriptions listed on the site, taking any hassle element out of the process for busy mums.
When the bag in the wardrobe is full, mums can take a few minutes to log back on, fill in the ‘Sell it for me’ form, submit and they receive their next two bags and so on.
The Clothes Tree was created when founder, Mhairi Clarke spotted a gap in the market for creating a beautiful, boutique style environment which would provide an enjoyable browsing and shopping experience for mums and offer a simple, easy to use facility for selling outgrown designer pieces. Mum of one, Mhairi commented; “I started to become really conscious of all the bags of beautiful clothes which my son had worn only a few times which were mounting in my loft. I always thought that I would sell them at some point but that point never came around and I lay in bed one night and pictured all the houses across the country which were like mine – bags of beautiful clothes in the loft, or at the back of children’s wardrobes and thought that there must be a way of bringing all these fabulous clothes together in one place. I set out to create a place where beautiful clothes can be loved again and The Clothes Tree grew from that idea.”
She added; “Just because an item has been worn just a few times doesn’t mean that it’s not a valuable or a luxury item, so each item sold by The Clothes Tree is lovingly wrapped in tissue paper and sent to the customer in one of our beautifully branded mailing bags. I wanted to create an enjoyable shopping experience and for customers to feel just as they would if they were buying the item for the first time. I love buying fabulous clothes, shoes and items for my home, my son and myself but like most people, I do feel guilty about my spending so I also wanted to create The Clothes Tree as a means for mums like me to recoup some of their spending by selling their child’s outgrown items on this site and have the opportunity to buy fantastic items at a third of their original price. My philosophy is that if you know you’re making a little bit of money out of something you already have, you won’t feel quite as guilty or anxious about your spending, whether it’s for your child, your home, your family or yourself and it’s better to have a little bit of something than 100% of nothing!”
The Clothes Tree launches on 10 October and stocks all the major children’s designer labels from Armani, Dior, Stella McCartney, Abercrombie & Fitch, Kenzo, Ralph Lauren and Juicy Couture to names such as Mini Boden, Simonetta, Catimini and Vertbaudet.
The Clothes Tree can be found at www.theclothestree.co.uk