“The postman had to walk up to the house because you ordered too much stuff,” says my husband as I walk in the door. There are 7 packages in a stack on the bench in our entryway. Shopaholic, no? These packages aren’t from Nordstrom, Tea Collection, Smocked Auctions or Target. They’re from mamas across the country who form a vast network of “BSTers” – buy, sell, traders.
As a network, we recycle, hand-down and cycle the carefully selected quality kids clothes and shoes that we covet. Does it feel like I’m speaking another language? I admit that three years ago the descriptor “VGUC Livie and Luca Petals” or “EUC Bella Bliss pima cotton, one small flaw” would have meant nothing to me, but now it’s my private language of commerce.
Here’s how it goes. An item is purchased new by someone. Sometimes its purchased by someone with no budget, sometimes its purchased for a photo or for a certain occasion, but for whatever reason, when the owner is done with the item, it still has a great deal of wear or life left in it. BST “boards” connect and network the owners and potential buyers of these items. There are BST boards for things sold at Nordstrom, for expensive smocked clothing, for Native shoes, for monogrammed items with the letter D, and for probably a thousand or more categories I’m not naming.
I have champagne tastes in kids’ clothing, but a consignment budget. Consignment shopping is a hobby of mine, but I rarely have the time without kids to do the browsing, so I use the BST boards to target the brands I love, and I buy almost every single thing my kids wear used on those boards.
I pay less than 50% of retail on all items. I later resell those same items for less than I paid, effectively renting them from the market for the short life in which my children will wear them. I buy all of our shoes used because I have found that my kids hate stiff leather (blisters), and so a worn in pair of shoes is not only affordable, but soft.
I’ve failed to mention the environmental impact of these boards — so many clothes are purchased, but not worn to their full life, and this offers an almost perfect market for making sure they are recycled and loved again. So, take to Facebook and search for BST with the brands you adore. Learn the lingo, set up your PayPal account, and get ready to get close with your mailman.
So, as the stacks of packages roll in, I beam with pride knowing that my kids will be dressed adorably, affordably this Fall. Can you handle the cuteness?
Want “in” on this world?
- Identify your favorite brands; the ones you would buy over and over if you could afford it.
- Search the name of the brand and BST on Facebook – find groups, and request to be added.
- Read the pinned posts at the top which will hold the rules for each board.
- Set up your PayPal account- clear out old addresses and get it linked to your current bank account or credit card so you’re ready to purchase- the way you buy on boards is by posting your PayPal. Be ready to execute prompt payment or you will lose the items, or your status on the boards.
My favorite boards:
- Nordstrom BST under $20
- Hot Smocking Mamas (this is the epicenter of all southern clothing)
- Boutique Florence Eiseman New and Gently Used
- ‘M’ Monogram Resale
- Little Citizens: Tea Collection Resale
Favorite items to buy BST:
- Leather shoes: they come already broken in, so no blisters, and leather shoes generally have a lot of life left- I adore Livie & Luca, See Kai Run and Keds
- Holiday-themed outfits: kids only wear these once, maybe twice, so they are perfect to buy used and then hold and resell the next year
- Anything pristine and white: these are usually for a photo, but lets be honest, no one is putting their kid in white if it’s not their portrait or Easter
- Itty bitty things: bonnets, bloomers, swaddle bows – photo opp stuff
- Play clothes: I love to get play clothes at a steal, especially brands that wear well like Bella Bliss, Tea Collection, Vineyard Vines, and Florence Eiseman – I would never pay retail for these, but they are great used purchases
Leaving you with a few of my favorite BST finds – oh, let them be little, and be dressed by me forever!