MISSOULA – Back-to-school clothes shopping can hit your pocketbook hard.
However, there are ways to help limit waste and save a few bucks when it comes to buying and selling children’s clothes, shoes, equipment and more.
Data from threadUP found an increase in resale clothing over the past year — and that upward trend is expected to double in 2026.
“We buy and sell high-end, used, children’s equipment, clothing and maternity,” said Cassie Gemmer who co-owns Kid Crossing in Missoula.
The two mothers who own Kid Crossing are supporters of buying used items.
“I’d say we’ve had a 30% increase in both stuff coming in and stuff coming out,” Gemmer told MTN News.
The trend the store is seeing is similar to resale shops across the globe, according to data from trendUp.
The report says North America is leading the overall secondhand apparel trend and it’s expected to grow eight times faster than any other continent by 2026.
The US alone is projected to reach $82 billion in the secondhand market in just four years.
The owners of Kid Crossing say they see roughly 100 to 200 families walk through their doors every week.
“I definitely have noticed — especially this past year, I feel like it’s really, really increased. Not only have our sales increased, which is awesome, but we honestly can’t keep up with the amount of stuff we’re getting in,” noted co-owner Sarah Hoffman.
The owners believe business has been the busiest they’ve ever seen due to economic uncertainty coupled with the back-to-school season and post-COVID-19 pandemic shopping.
“The majority of our customers are younger families and when you’re paying $5 for gas, you’re kinda like ‘oh where are we gonna get the tennis shoes’ for your little kid who’s going to outgrow them?” Gemmer stated.
One dad of two girls walked through the doors of Kid Crossing to do just that. George Laufenberg said they went shopping for new clothes at the beginning of the school year but he usually circles back to Kid Crossing for his own beliefs.
“There’s always stuff here that has lots of life left on it and I’d much rather make more use out of something that’s already out in the world than waste,” Laufenberg said.
“We rent like car seats, and pack and plays, strollers, hiking backpacks. And if we have something out here for sale and you want to rent for a few days, we can do that,” Hoffman noted.
Data shows nearly two-in-three people who recycle used clothing believe they have a significant impact on the Earth; something the owners can agree on.
“I am a huge believer in reusing stuff and reducing,” Gemmer said. “So, I love the fact that people are buying used.”
Kid Crossing is located at 1521 South Russell Street in Missoula.