Would you be suspicious of free baby clothes?

Hello mums, and mums2b!
I'm after some feedback, if you could possibly spare me a minute or two (oh go on, since you've come this far anyway... image)

I've recently set up a completely free-to-use baby clothes 'lending library' for local mums - and although I've had loads of people telling me what a fab idea it is, I've got very few mums signed up thus far.

So, my question is this - would you be suspicious of the offer of free baby clothes?  Are people just suspicious of anything free?  Or would your first impression be that the clothes would be tatty and horrible?

If you could have a quick click on...

http://www.withalittlelove.co.uk
and/or
http://www.facebook.com/withalittleloveUK


...I would hugely appreciate any comments or criticisms - particularly from mummies that I don't know (mummies like you! image)  Does it look unprofessional or too professional?  Do I come across as a complete nutter?  Does it seem like there must be a catch?  Please help!

Posts

  • MrsKW2011MrsKW2011 Posts: 1,592

    Hello,

    Just had a little look.

    I personally would be suspicious of anything claiming to be "free" as lets face it - nothing seems to be free these days!

    LOVE the idea though and im slightly ashamed of myself for assuming you were talking rubbish when I started reading this thread lol

    I would personally suggest popping your registered charity number on your homepage (underneath your logo maybe) to prevent people assuming its a con.

    If you havent already, it would be worth tying in with local childrens centres etc that can help you spread the word... xx

  • Fab, thanks for that, will tweak the site a bit this evening.  image  I was pondering getting a local church to be an official sponsor - would that make it sound like a more legitimate yes-it-really-is-free enterprise, or do you think it would put people off because they'd assume I'm going to be a crazy evangelist out to convert them?

    I'm just putting the finishing touches to a flyer, and then I'll be approaching our local childrens centre, so that's already in the pipeline.  image

    (And don't worry, you wouldn't be the first to assume I'm talking rubbish... image)

  • mrsmacmrsmac Posts: 322

    Hi, I have to say I was a little suspicious when I saw the title (nothing's really free right?!) but this sounds like a fantastic idea.  Wish I was a bit closer!

    If you link it to a church it's possible that might put some people off, but children's centres/groups might be a good idea.

    Just one comment on the website, which is that it skips between the sections (about, how it works etc.) quite quickly which meant I couldn't read them properly and had to keep going back, so it might be an idea to slow that down.  Otherwise it looks like  a very good website to me, and I wish you luck with the venture!  If I don't have any friends/family expecting a baby in the next few months maybe I'll get in touch to send you a bundle of clothes image

  • MrsJCMrsJC Posts: 2,204

    I'm not a Mummy, but I am really nosy so I had a lookimage. I think it's a great idea - and I agree totally with MrsKW that you need to shout from the rooftops about being a charity. 

    I would also make much more of the fact that this is run by a mum, for other mums - it isn't obvious at the moment, and it's something that will help to buld trust.

    I have some experinence with web design, and I can tell you that anything that moves, especially anything that moves quickly, is very off-putting. The text that you have on the front screen that changes with the photos changes far too quickly - it's impossible to read before it's gone! I would slow it right down, so that it's on screen for a minimum of 20 seconds before it changes.

  • Thanks so much guys, this is all really useful!  I'll slow the slideshow down (if I can figure out how...!) - was hoping people would naturally use the tabs at the top of the page, but I guess they're not quite obvious enough... possibly tempted to remove all the text from the slideshow... hum.  image  Will have a play around with it this evening.

     

    I've just finished my new flyers, so if I can find a way to get them professionally printed then I'll get in touch with my local childrens centre... and every playgroup I can find... image

  • Mrst2b5Mrst2b5 Posts: 246

    This is such a cute idea and really inspiring. There are lots of mummy's who would love this help. Organising events such as a clothes and toy swap would be great way for mums to meet too. I wish u all the best of luck with ur venture. I love the idea x x we need more people like u! X 

  • DuddersDudders Posts: 1,659 New bride

    I have to agree that I would be VERY suspicious of anything purporting to be free!  That said it's a brilliant idea.

    I'm not a mummy yet as I lost my twins a little while ago, but I am determined to get there and when I do, this is something that I would certainly look at with interest.  I'm also actually not that far away from you and have bookmarked the website for when the time comes.

    The ladies have already given you tips on the website and my only criticism would be the lightening speed at which the gallery changes as they have already identified.

    The main thing I wonder is how long these clothes will last in the hands of people that didn't perhaps take as much care of them and also how can you guarantee that they will actually return them?  It's all very well if these are people you know and trust but as we all sadly know, not everyone is as reliable.  Perhaps doing it on the basis of some form of club with a small monthly membership fee which will also help with maintaining and hopefully increasing your stock. It doesn't have to be about profit!

    I'd approach the local mum and baby groups etc as I think the best way for something like this to grow is by word of mouth.  These may be held in churches but a direct link to a church might put some people off.  Perhaps once you're more established you could approach an organisation such as NCT or talk to health visitors/midwives to try and gain a link with parties which are considered credible.

    Brilliant idea and I hope it's not long before I can be in touch!  Good luck image

  • Thanks so much for all your feedback everyone!  Hugely appreciated.  image

    I've tweaked the website, and got the first draft of my flyer ready.... here's hoping I finally get some mums involved!  It's a little bit depressing to be staring at 40 storage boxes full of beautiful clothes that aren't being used... image

     

    Naturally I'm still very appreciative of any more comments or criticisms - especially from the 300 viewers that have had a look but remained silent thus far... image

  • One of our local foodbanks has started offering baby packs recently so maybe an idea to seek out any local ones that could help? 

  • Hi,

    i am a mammy and think this is a lovely idea. My only concern again is like dudders mentioned not everyone will take such good care & if your child is a cheeky madam like mine who won't wear a bib some of your lovely clothes could get stained quite easily? just wondering how are you guaranteeing that you will get the items back?

    wonderful site though and what a nice woman you are.

  • To be honest, I'm just going to see how it goes.  I feel like donations are coming in really steadily, so even without any financial income I'm hoping I'll be able to keep replacing stained stuff without too much stress... I'm also getting very good at stain removal! image

    In terms of guaranteeing stuff comes back, I'm working on the basis that I'll pick up a bundle as I drop off the next size - so no-one will have more than one bundle at any one time.  I've marked every item of clothing with a big red heart on the label (yes, that really did take days upon days to do!!) so people should find it pretty easy to separate the borrowed stuff from their own stuff (had feedback that lots of people worry about remembering what clothes are borrowed from whom, so thought marking the labels was the best way to go).

    I can't guard against people who will deliberately maliciously steal stuff - but am hoping that I won't meet too many people of that mindset - if you're going to steal stuff to keep, I doubt baby clothes would be a top choice, and if you're nicking stuff to sell on, then again, I'm hoping baby clothes aren't high-profit enough to be tempting... image

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