The Marketplace Boom   //   February 22, 2024

Why secondhand kids’ marketplaces like GoodBuyGear and Kidsy are bringing on new brands

Since the spring of 2022, resale marketplace Kidsy has sold open-box items and overstock from familiar name brands like Graco and Fisher-Price. But over the past 12 months, the platform’s popularity has ballooned with Kidsy seeing revenue grow five times over, according to founder Shraysi Tandon.

Tandon credits it to the newer partnerships and trendy kids brands that Kidys has brought on, like the recent addition of Baby Bjorn carriers and 4moms sleep bassinets. 

“As we provide customers with optionality and give them access to brands and products it directly contributes the company’s growth,” Tandon said. “It’s huge driver for moving the needle.”

From strollers to high chairs, from outgrown clothes to hand-me-down toys, baby gear is a cornerstone of the burgeoning secondhand market. Researchers at What to Expect last year found that 66% of new or expecting parents bought secondhand baby gear. Younger parents are more likely to buy user gear, too, with 76% of Gen Z respondents said they purchased secondhand baby gear, compared to 63% of Millennials. 

Responding to this trend is a cohort of online kid-specific resellers like Kidsy and GoodBuy Gear, both of which partner with brands to offload open box items and returns. GoodBuy Gear, as well as RebelStork and Toycylce, also have the added ability for people to sell their used goods on the marketplace for a cut of the price.

The sector is growing at a rapid clip while parents seek the financial incentives of buying secondhand; 70% of GoodBuy Gear customers, for example, say they shop on the platform because of lower prices, the brand found in a recent Resale and Sustainability Report. This influx in demand means the platforms are inking more and more deals with brands to buy up returned or used products.

Tandon from Kidsy said that financial incentive for shoppers is one of the reasons brands are looking to partner with a resale market. “Customers finally get to experience brands they are maybe priced out of before and never really had an entry point into,” she said. “Now this customer is buying a Graco car seat instead of a Cosco car seat because she can afford it.” 

On the other side of the business, Kidsy is able to help brands recoup their return costs. Generous return policies mean that retailers can get overwhelmed with the amount of items they get back, and Tandon said that the cost of getting those items back into inventory can be as much as 65% of the retail price. Tandon said Kidsy buys the returned items outright to be resold and processed to its secondhand customers, and she also works directly with liquidators and reverse logistics companies that are moving items from the brands.

Each marketplace has its own way of charging customers In Kidsy’s case, the returns are sent directly to its warehouse. There is a fee associated with the brand, but ultimately they make more than having the brand accept a return, process it and re-shelve it for inventory.

“Every touch point is equated with a dollar amount,” she said. “From a unit economics standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. It’s cheaper and efficient for them to liquidate it.” 

Beyond the financials, another incentive is the ability to control the outcome of the resold product. While an item sold on Facebook or a peer-to-peer marketplace like Craigslist may not be safety checked or could end up sold in poor condition, the resale marketplace offers an inspection and quality check. This is an especially crucial step for any food or safety gear, such as car seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents don’t buy a used car seat “if you don’t know the seat’s history.” But the resale platforms are able to determine where the item is from, and ensure it hasn’t been recalled or passed any expiration dates.

GoodBuy Gear’s CEO and co-founder Kristin Langenfeld told Modern Retail that the company started selling car seats in 2022. But it spent a full calendar year developing its 30-point inspection to ensure the safety and reliability of used car seats. This opened up a new vertical for the brand, she said.

Overall, GoodBuy Gear works more than 2,600 brands in its marketplace. Many work with GoodBuy Gear to provide additional quality checks or inspection note that are unique to their products. Langenfeld said interest is increasing, with nearly triple the number of brands on the marketplace than there were this time last year.

“There’s huge momentum, both from the retailers and the brands and manufacture themselves who want to work with us,” she said. “Everyone’s focused on profitability and all those percentage points of those returns add up. So instead of having that as a cost center, it can be turned into a way to recoup some of those costs.”

GoodBuy Gear has fulfillment centers that receive pallets of open box items directly from the brands, as well as returns shipped individually from customers sending back an item. From there, items are inspected and listed on the site. Once the secondhand item is resold, the brand partner receives a share of the revenue — though the actual payout model varies based on the item and brand.

Ceres Chill, a brand that makes a bottle that can keep breastmilk cold for up to 20 hours, has sold products on GoodBuy Gear for around three years. At nearly $70, it’s a product that could be a splurge for many working moms that would otherwise want to use the product for pumping and storing breastmilk when away from their baby. 

Ceres Chill founder Lisa Myers said working with GoodBuy Gear allows her customers to know that their returns aren’t going to the landfill if they have a concern about a product. And it’s also an avenue for potential customers who are seeking discounts since Ceres Chill doesn’t put items on sale. But if a potential customer reaches out about wanting a discount or if there is a lower price available, Myers said customer service directs them to GoodBuy Gear. While the resale set up does provide a small revenue stream that otherwise wouldn’t be received, Myers said Ceres’s main benefit from the partnership is that the product reaches customers who might not otherwise be able to obtain the product.

“They’re partnering with brands that have super high standards, and a level of quality of products that are built to last that should not be sent to a landfill just because it’s a return,” she said. “I can have that super high level of materials, quality messaging and brand and persona, but also be accessible to families.”