Adorable kids’ clothing can pile up, as almost any parent will tell you. But the temptation to amass the cutest wardrobe for your child quickly turns to questions like, “What are we going to do with all these clothes?” And toys. And strollers, cribs… the list goes on. One other thing parents can tell you: Little kids grow up fast.
According to recent research by Rakuma, Rakuten’s flea market app, two out of three users reported that they started using the app to buy and sell items more frequently during the pandemic, when dashing out to physical stores wasn’t an option. With the “Kids/Babies/Maternity” category entering the Top 10 categories on Rakuma, it’s clear that many families are turning to the app to help stretch every yen.
Raising kids the sustainable way
Buying and selling used items on circular economy apps like Rakuma does more than just make shoppers’ wallets happy. These transactions also repurpose items that might otherwise be destined for the landfill, benefitting the planet as well. It brings sustainability closer to home.
“Shoppers are already aware that small, everyday decisions can lead to lasting change.”
According to research conducted by Rakuma and Japanese secondhand online fashion retailer Brandear, when customers were asked about their sustainability practices, the most common responses were “using eco-friendly reusable shopping bags and sorting trash” (83.5%), followed by “reusing unwanted items” (77.8%) and “purchasing items that will be usable for a long time” (55.9%). Shoppers are already aware that small, everyday decisions can lead to lasting change.
Digging a little deeper, among those who responded that they reuse items they no longer want or need using flea market apps or dedicated “recycle shops,” 84.1% revealed that they buy and sell clothing, including children’s clothes. If that number doesn’t seem significant enough on its own, bear in mind that as of September 2021, Rakuma’s Kids/Babies/Maternity category had over six million items for sale!
Supporting parents across Japan:“Rakuten Mama-Wari”
No matter how sustainably-minded a parent might be, some items simply can’t be sourced second-hand. For the budget and time-conscious parents in Japan, Rakuten has a special membership program, called “Rakuten Mama-Wari,” or “Rakuten Mom Discount.” Signing up and using the program is free of charge, and of course, papas are more than welcome too.
Simply by entering their child’s birthday (or expected date of birth), parents can look forward to exclusive monthly discount coupons. And that’s not all. One of the most popular perks is the “sample box,” a complimentary selection of goods chosen by Rakuten Mama-Wari staff on a monthly basis. The boxes are available in three variations — including one tier for parents who are still in the “expecting” stage — and contain items for moms and dads as well as little ones.
What’s more, Rakuten Mama-Wari members are also entitled to bonus Rakuten Points when shopping for daily necessities on Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper or Rakuten Fashion — the kind of ecosystem-focused incentive only Rakuten can offer.
The Rakuten Ecosystem: A busy parent’s best friend
For a first-hand perspective, Rakuten Today spoke to Aiko Oyo, a mother and full-time Rakuten employee who is an expert Rakuten Mama-Wari user, earning nearly 100,000 Rakuten Points annually.
As the mother of two small children, Oyo is constantly pressed for time. In the mornings, it’s a mad dash to drop the kids off at nursery school before heading into the office, and in the evenings, she’s got dinner prep, baths and bedtime to contend with.
“Buying and selling used items on circular economy apps like Rakuma does more than just make shoppers’ wallets happy. These transactions also repurpose items that might otherwise be destined for the landfill, benefitting the planet as well. It brings sustainability closer to home.”
Rather than trying to fit trips to the grocery store into the mix, Oyo turns to Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper once or twice a week, having everything from rice and vegetables to ready-made meal kits and cleaning supplies delivered straight to her door, earning bonus points through her Rakuten Mami-Wari membership.
For preschool essentials like training pants or bathing suits, Oyo knows that department stores are an option, but she saves time — and stress — by finding everything she needs online, through Rakuten Fashion.
For local brick and mortar stores, like her favorite bakery, she points out how convenient it’s become to use Rakuten Pay, with so many retailers offering the option. She doesn’t even have to take out her wallet — she just opens the Rakuten Pay app and taps her smartphone. It’s a small difference, but lowers the hurdle of shopping with kids enough to be appreciated.
When asked how to enjoy the parenting experience with minimal stress, Oyo allowed that there are times when keeping a level head is challenging. She recommends baking extra time into daily schedule planning and reminds us of the importance of a getting a good night’s sleep — solid advice for anyone, whether a parent or not.