When faced with a pile of unwanted clothes you have two choices: donate or sell. I usually end up donating because selling old clothes is complicated. You have to find a place to sell you clothes, go to the place and watch them shift through your clothes, judging your choices. So much judging. But now there’s a company that aims to change that.
Unwritten is a online consignment store started by two students at the University of Maryland, College Park. CEO Michelle Shahparast founded it with her brother Sean to fill a need in the school. “There was no place for girls in College Park to shop,” says Michelle. She explains that demand was high to create a consignment store, and it is easy to get inventory as, “all girls have at least five articles of clothing they could easily consign.”
Consigning with Unwritten is easy if you attend UMD or Georgetown (as of now, they’re the only two schools participating in the program). All you have to do is collect the clothes you want to sell and contact Unwritten. Someone will come to your dorm room or apartment or group house and pick out articles that they want to resell. If they sell your clothes within 90 days, you get 50% of the purchase price. If they don’t manage to sell your clothes in 90 days, you can either take your clothes back or Unwritten will donate them for you.
Unlike a lot of consignment stores in D.C., the clothes are actually affordable. The most expensive item currently for sale is $80, with most clothes selling for under $25. Clothes come from stores like Forever21, Urban Outfitters, and Free People. If you are buying stuff from Unwritten, you can get free same day shipping, provided your clothes come from the school you’re attending.
So what if you don’t attend Georgetown or UMD? Unfortunately, Unwritten’s consignment division currently has no plans to expand to other campuses. Like any start up, Unwritten faces growing pains. Shahparast explains that expanding “is hard without physically having me, the CEO, at that location. To have the team run coherently takes a certain role of leadership and dedication to run a start up. If you do not have a deep emotional tie to the business like I do it is hard to stay motivated.”
Unwritten aims to be more than just a place to shop. Shahparast says that Unwritten “prides ourselves on not just being a place for fashion but lifestyle as well.” Unwritten, as Shahparast explains, “embodies a girl or individual who is outspoken, free spirited and completely fearless to be themselves. They live life unwritten, following no trends or rules but their own. They let no other opinions run their lives and stay true to their style and beliefs.”
This ethos is seen in their blog. Originally started as a marketing tool, the blog has come into its own as a destination for college girls to share their opinions. It’s a cross between ThoughtCatalog and HerCampus, covering topics like dating, health, and feminism. Writers for the blog are from 35 colleges, including schools in Canada and the United Kingdom. While currently unable to grow the consignment side of the business, Unwritten’s blog is thriving.