Why Buy Baby Clothes if You Can Rent Them?

This story is part of Treehugger's news archive. Learn more about our news archiving process or read our latest news.
CC BY 2.0. Kamil Porembinski

Save time, money, and space, while cutting down on waste. It's win-win all around.

The fashion industry has a notorious reputation. It is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil, due to the chemicals used in production, the sheer volume of pieces shipped around the globe, and the enormous volume of waste generated (approx. 15 million tons of fabric disposed of annually in the USA).

How Baby Clothes Rental Works

As a result, many people are looking for less harmful ways to clothe themselves. One clever idea is the rental model. This makes sense for clothes that do not see heavy wear and tear or are outgrown rapidly -- for example, baby clothes.

This idea is the basis of a new startup in California called Mia Bella Babies. The company rents boxes of either 15 or 30 pieces (boy, girl, or gender-neutral) for babies 0-12 months of age. As a parent, you receive the box, care for the clothes as usual, and return once your baby has outgrown them, at which point they're passed on to another family.

pile of baby clothes

© Mia Bella Babies -- Unisex baby clothes in 30-piece collection

Once the clothes cannot be reused, Mia Bella Babies guarantees that they will be passed on to a company that recycles them, rather than sends them to landfill. This could be a company that shreds them to use as insulation in walls or an organization such as the Peace Corps that will give them to families in need.

Three Goals of Mia Bella

The mother-daughter team that founded the company, Mirjana and Mia Bella Josimovic, told TreeHugger that they have three goals: (1) to address the smaller living spaces in which many Millennial parents are choosing to raise their families; (2) to help young families save money; and (3) to reduce the environmental impact of textiles.

Plus, there is the added benefit for parents of not having to worry about shopping; as a parent, I can say that's worth a great deal. Mia Bella Babies told WGSN:

"Renting allows our parents to not feel stressed out about shopping for their growing baby, storing after things are unusable, worrying about everything matching, or making sure they have the right assortment of clothing. We take care of all those dilemmas!"

Worried about stains? Don't be! It's already very common to purchase baby clothes second-hand, which proves that baby stains tend to be easy to get out. In a worst-case scenario, a replacement cost is dedicate from a deposit that's taken at the time of purchase.

Mia Bella Babies ships all over the continental USA and says it will expand to Canada by 2019. The clothes come in a 100 percent recycled cardboard box with paper tape.

The company has plans to include a maternity line eventually -- another great idea, since those clothes are so expensive and are worn for such a short period of time -- as well as toddlers. It hopes to create its own clothing line and eventually produce items in-house. Now, can they do the same for a grown woman?