Second-hand store recycles maternity clothes, rents dresses - New York News

Second-hand store recycles maternity clothes, rents dresses

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A Minnesota mom has an idea that was born out of necessity -- but it could be the next big thing: Rental clothes for expectant mothers who need a short-term wardrobe fix.

"Basically, I was pregnant with my son and I couldn't afford to keep buying new maternity clothes," explains Crystal Pollard.

That's what inspired Pollard to get out in her garage and advertise on Craigslist. Soon, women were coming from all over the state to sell and buy.

The fact is, maternity clothes have a pretty limited shelf life -- especially since in Minnesota, where a single term often spans at least two seasons. That's why Pollard often gets items with the tags still attached -- because both mom and baby outgrow them before they get a chance to really wear them.

But Bellies to Babies doesn't just deal in "lightly stretched" maternity clothes. They also rent special-occasion designer dresses.

"I have a holiday party on Friday and I needed to find a dress," said shopper Megan Schmidt. "I'll likely wear it once, so why not find something that you really like and you can rent it and not have to pay full price."

Pollard said she got the idea to rent dresses about a year after she opened her doors because so many pregnant women were asking for dresses to attend weddings.

"They rent tuxes -- they rent kid clothes, why not maternity dresses?" she asked.

What would normally retail for $300 can be rented for the weekend for $35, or for the week for $55. They're specially dry-cleaned between use so no harmful chemicals can harm mom or baby -- and that's creating a special niche for expectant mothers.

"I think the rental dresses is what makes it so unique," said Lori Ask. "There's quite a few second-hand kids stores and a few maternity stores, but the dress concept is really cool."

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