Hand me on maternity, baby & toddler kit Oxford was created to encourage and enable the sharing and passing on of items with the aims of reducing waste (particularly plastic), saving people money, and developing a local sharing economy in this sector.
It was set up in late 2017 and has over 1,500 members, with an average of over 600 posts and 4,000 comments, likes and engagements per month. As founder Mim Saxl explains, “The thinking behind setting up this group was that lots of baby kit is short-use and can also be quite expensive. If everyone buys it new, it creates more waste and costs more money – so why buy it, when you can have it nearly new for free?”
Whilst the group has helped parents and care-givers access things they need, it’s also changed the way members think about consumerism more broadly. Group member Catherine says her first thought now when they need something is to look for it in local, free groups: “Honestly, I never used to think like that – we opt for used a lot because of the price, by my default was still ‘I need something, I’ll go and buy it.’ That’s not the case anymore though, and not just because of the price, but because of the wider ramifications of not wanting to participate in the cutlure of use-discard (and therefore create supply) rather than recycle. I really do attrbute that to this group.”
The act of sharing without exchanging money has also had a big impact on members of the group, as Zuzana explains: “The group has certainly made life better for me. I never had any inclination or patience with reselling things I no longer needed. The hand me down groups (baby and 3-8 year olds) are a perfect way for me to pass on things, meet new people, and share my experience with parents whose children are younger than mine. It makes me much happier than earning a few quid on eBay.”
Member Aurelie agrees: “The main thing which has changed for me is the network that has been created by this group, I find I ask for recommendations and I’ve met several lovely local mums and this has been so amazing. I'm hoping to start something similar when I relocate to France as the whole concept of second hand is not well established there.”