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BRISBANE, Calif. (CBSMiami) — Buying and selling used clothing is one of the hottest online trends. Secondhand apparel is estimated to be an 18-billion dollar industry. There is even a consignment site called “ThredUP” in California selling more than 30-thousand items of clothing every day.

It was co-founded by James Reinhart, known as the king of consignment.

He describes the business as basically a thrift store on steroids.

“That’s exactly right. And we’ve got tons of items. It’s the world’s largest online thrift store,” described Reinhart.

Reinhart’s company, “ThredUP”, receives bags of used clothing sent in from people across the country. If it’s clean and in nearly new condition, it’s posted online at bargain prices.

“The pricing on ThredUP is 80-percent off of what somebody would pay in a retail store,” explained Reinhart.

Reinhart isn’t alone in the online consignment business. There is a wide range of consignment sites and the competition has never been tighter.

“The RealReal” is a popular luxury consignment site and targets the high-end market.

“The RealReal” receives about 150-thousand items each month including very expensive Hermes Birkin Bags.

“As a percent of our business fashion apparel is bigger than handbags,” explained founder and CEO Julie Wainwright.

Dresses and shoes are huge at “The RealReal.”

The internet has grown into a bargain hunter’s paradise.

“eBay is definitely the granddaddy of these online consignment shops. I think it made it fashionable and cool to sell your things online and it also made it very cool and fashionable to buy things that other people had owned before, online,” explained Charisse Jones, National Business Correspondent for USA Today.

Resale sites have succeeded partly by borrowing language from car salesmen. Nothing in their overflowing warehouses is “used”, it is all just “pre-owned”.


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