I have a trunk full of my son’s old clothes. I lived in a nuclear family when my boy was an infant, so, we couldn’t share his clothes with his cousins or anyone. If you buy a pair of shoes today for a two-month-old, a few weeks later they don’t fit anymore. What a waste,” exclaims Rima Thapa, a 28-year-old mother.
This opinion is not confined to Rima. Many new mothers share that besides all the tiring mornings and sleepless nights, what bothers them the most is their babies outgrowing everything in no time and the products going to waste!
While passing down clothes and toys to someone in the family has been an age-old practice in Indian households, things have changed for people living in nuclear families. Most of the clothes either end up in a trunk, storage room or in landfills.
But a mother duo, who are also school friends, has used this practice of passing down pre-loved goods into a fully grown business. In 2022, Neha Goenka Shroff and Swarna Daga Mimani started ‘Yobler’ — a company which sells pre-loved children’s products.
“Since COVID-19 hit, we noticed a rising trend in thrift shopping, but still when it comes to kids’ products there was no such platform. So, as mothers who understood this problem, we really wanted to find a sustainable way to dispose of baby products. That’s how Yobler came into existence,”..
Mothers leading the way to sustainability
While the duo were close friends in school, their paths eventually separated. Neha went on to become a chartered accountant and Swarna became an electrical engineer.
Neha worked with companies like UBS in London before coming back to India and starting a company called Momente Wedding in 2011. Swarna on the other hand was running her family business. While they were working on paving their careers, it was the isolation of the lockdown that got them thinking.
“We were just catching up one day and discussing how kids outgrow things quickly. We throw these things away, while there are some children who cannot afford them. And that’s how the idea came up,” says Swarna.
“We all see how the climate is changing and how our environment is getting worse by the day. As a mother, this worries me, and if our idea can save even some products from ending in landfills, then that’s great,” says Neha.
The duo share that they got an overwhelming response when they started. “I think a lot of mothers like us were really tired of so many perfectly good things going to waste,” says Neha adding, “There is always a new thing coming into the baby market, and most parents want their kids to have them. So, the idea of providing a platform to sell pre-loved products at affordable prices was welcomed by many parents.”
Yobler sells baby-related products, such as books, toys, bicycles, clothing, bedding, furniture, equipment etc, for children ranging from 0 to 14 years of age.
Making the process easy and seamless
Explaining how their marketplace works, Swarna says, “We know young mothers don’t have much free time, so we’ve kept the platform simple and easily accessible. Anyone can register and log on to our website, become a seller and list their products with pictures and videos. One can register both as a seller and a buyer on the website.”
“We have an end-to-end integrated process for sellers and buyers. Our backend team verifies and approves the products, and only then, do the products get listed on the website. The team verifies the details on the seller’s account to avoid any discrepancies. We also hold back payment to the seller for a few days, so that if there is any issue with the product, the buyer can raise it and we can work on it,” says Neha, adding that they also have pricing guidelines which are shared with the sellers in advance.