If you look around in your home, it’s not hard to find stuff that you can’t just get rid of even though you know they haven’t been used for so long. From home appliances, books, clothes, to toys, all kinds of things are left neglected forever. When you set to clean things up in the end, you finally cannot but admit that it was stupid to keep things in the closet only to throw them away after years. And then you realize they would’ve been useful for someone who needs them. Is there any way to get those unused goods to the hands of people who really need them? One solution that is drawing attention recently is “Sharing Economy,” a model where people borrow, exchange or share goods, spaces, information, etc. The Times magazine selected Sharing Economy as one of the 10 ideas that would change the world. So we visited “Kiple,” one of the leading sharing economy businesses in Korea.
Clothes stored in Kiple’s office
Wise parents choose “Kiple” over new branded products
Kids grow taller everyday and outgrow their clothes so fast. You might want to keep the clothes because they were hardly worn, only to find your closet full before you know. Even if you want to pass them to someone who needs them, there’s no one who would take them. But on the other hand, it would be better to pass them to someone else once your kids outgrow them, since they would become useless in a few months after all. Then, why not using Kiple? Kiple is a sharing company that provide trading service for baby and kid clothes.
“When users wash kids’ clothes that are too small to wear and pack them in a box to send them to us, we select clean and good-quality goods out of them and register them to our Sharing Closet. We evaluates for example their condition, quality and brands to set a price. And then we give the donors 70% of the price as Kiple Money so that they can use them to purchase items they need.”
You can easily find clothes and accessories for babies or kids aged between 0 to 13 via the Sharing Closet on Kiple’s website. The items are all donated by members and anyone can buy them using Kiple Money or real money (cash deposit or credit card payment). Not only clothes but also other items such as shoes, hats, scarves, gloves, hair accessories, bibs, and bags are available as well. And you can find layette items such as baby blankets, baby carriers, baby wraps, waterproof mattress pads, breastfeeding pillows, and pillows.
Of course there are other second-hand goods trading services you can use instead of Kiple. But it’s quite a hassle – you have to take and upload a photo, check your bank account to confirm payment, and ship the item. And once you realize you have to go through all these processes to earn a mere pittance, you just want to throw it away instead. However, in Kiple, all you need to do is to submit a pick-up request, and then a courier picks it up and you get Kiple Money that can be used to purchase other items, just like buying stuff on an online shop. Above all, only selected items that would satisfy the high standards of demanding customers with babies can make it onto the list. Clothes on this site are as clean as new, which satisfies its customers and makes them use their service more often.
“It’s gotta make the customer feel good about it. Of course, there are detailed rules – for example, we don’t accept clothes with stains, ragged clothes, clothes with a damaged zipper or button, clothes that are simply too old. And even if they make it to the list, they hardly get selected,” says Ms. Lee, CEO of Kiple. With more than 16,000 registered members, Kiple sees 300 to 500 clothes being registered per day on average and 80% to 85% of them are purchased by other users.
Kiple: Beginning of consumer education for my dear child
Now many district gu offices in Seoul have signed an “agreement on shared kids clothes” with affiliated daycare centers as well as Kiple and allow their residents to experience Kiple’s service.
“We send as many green plastic bags and notes as needed to each affiliated daycare center, and then daycare centers send them to each household to ask them to bring back their plastic bag with small `kids’ clothes in it. We collect the plastic bags and give Kiple Money in turn to allow them to purchase what they need instead using that money.”
It is expected that this business model not only contribute to improving awareness of sharing economy but also can be used as a good method to teach children about making good decisions as a consumer. Now consumption is not a virtue any more. We are at a critical juncture which requires consumer education for children about healthy and valuable consumption more than ever before. We need new perspectives and consumer education rather than just emphasizing conserving resources and saving money. Sharing economy, a mindset of privileging sharing over ownership to create new values, will be a space for children to experience more valuable and meaningful consumer education. And therefore wise parents may now want to choose Kiple over new branded products. Kiel would be a good entry point to start a healthy consumer education for the future of your children. Visit Kiple’s web site (www.kiple.net) or blog (kiple.kr) for more information.
■ How to use Kiple
1. Visit Kiple and create an account
2. Click on “Send clothes” menu and select a delivery method to request a pick-up. Pack clothes or accessories to send in a box and send it according to the instruction.
3. After examination, prices for each item are set based on certain evaluation criteria. Donors get 70% of the price of a registered item as Kiple Money. Items that fail to meet the criteria are not registered to the Sharing Closet; instead they are donated for children in the Third World countries. Items in good condition are sometimes shared to Kiple members for free.
4. Users can use Kiple Money to purchase clothes they need in the Sharing Closet. As most items are priced at 50% of its market value, users can get an item using Kiple Money at half the market price. If you don’t have Kiple Money, you can pay by cash or credit card.
■ How to use Kiple more wisely
1. Make sure to keep your items as clean as possible
Make sure to send clothes that are not faded, lint-free, and with no stain. Do not send sturdy clothes or clothes that need mending. Wash them all, pack them nicely in a box to receive a good evaluation.
2. Send more than 10 items in one parcel
You need to send more than 10 items per month to become a regular member and maintain the status. Regular members can choose to get items shared for free or get invited for events. And you may want to save your shipping costs as they are charged from your Kiple Money.
1. Add Kiple as a friend in Kakao Story
Add Kiple as a friend in KaKao Story and get updates everyday. Good deals go fast, as soon as they come on the market, since there are members waiting in front of computer before a catalog update occurs in order to get an item they want in time. While Kiple tries to do catalog updates several times a day, these days there is only one catalog update in the evening usually around 6 p.m. due to heavy workloads.
2. To save on shipping, make use of holding service or combined shipping service.
You can save on shipping if you choose to combine multiple purchases in one shipment. After you finish making your purchases and payments, you can request to “hold and combine shipping” up to twice, for 50 items in 2 weeks at maximum. Shipping is free for orders of 50,000 won or over excluding the amount paid in Kiple Money. (Extra charges apply for delivery to Jeju Island and mountain villages)
3. Take advantage of Special Offers and Promotions
Kiple occassionally offers special deals, including clearance discounts of up to 50%. Also sometimes Kiple runs special promotion events such as offering show tickets at exclusive members’ prices in Kiple Money.