New Chicago company sells, buys back kids’ clothes as they grow

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CHICAGO -- Runchkins: It is fashion for your small fry, style for your sprout, all wrapped up neatly and delivered to your door, courtesy of local founders John Welch and Jeff Cheng.

Tackling the world one piece of clothing at a time, Cheng came up with the idea for Runchkins many years ago while buying a first Christmas present for a niece.

“I thought to myself, I bought this for $100 and winter is three months long, and she’s only 6 months old, how many times will she wear it? Maybe twice,” Cheng said. “It seemed crazy I was like why would anyone do this. And then I saw her in it and it snapped: I get it, she’s adorable.”

Sure, kids are cute, but shelling out cash for cute clothes they grow out of quickly is not fun. So here’s how Runchkins works: Fill out a style survey, what colors you kids like, what patterns, take a little bit of a photo survey in terms of, do you like these kind of outfits or these, and based on that and sizing, they send a customized box just for your kid.

Parents have five days to decide what they like, what fits, and send back the rest. Customers only pay for the stuff they keep.

Runchkins launched out of the River North neighborhood just two months ago. For now it is geared toward zero- to 6-year-olds.

Clothing includes tops, bottoms, dresses, hair clips, hats, bow ties, even tutus. Boxes come with four to six outfits – including accessories. Prices average $32 per piece. Once your child out grows it, Runchkins will buy it back.

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