How This Mom Is Trying to Make Shopping for Kids Clothes Easier
Having kids in your life is a lot of fun. Clothes shopping for them, on the other hand, can be an exercise in frustration.
Kid shirts, skirts and other items can be attractive but costly or inexpensive yet not durable enough. And when you do find something you like, your child may not feel the same way, sending you back to the store in a time-consuming hunt for clothes that check all the boxes.
Rachel Blumenthal feels your pain. This mom of two and entrepreneur (she previously worked for Yves Saint Laurent) encountered problems when she began clothes-shopping for her firstborn, who is now 5.
Seeing a need for children’s garments that please parents and little ones alike, she launched Rockets of Awesome—a company that designs and manufactures trendy clothes on their own label in sizes 2 to 14 and sells them via subscription boxes.
Here’s how it works: Parents sign up for free, then fill out a questionnaire about their child and their clothing preferences. Rockets staffers hand-pick eight to 12 items, all individually priced under $40, and ship out a box four times per year.
Kids check out the selections and try them on at home. What doesn’t work goes back to the company free of charge, and parents only pay for the garments they want to keep.
Since launching earlier this year, Rockets has taken off big-time. Below, Blumenthal tells LearnVest how she got the business off the ground, how the company is growing and what she wants other potential entrepreneurs to know.
How did you get the idea for the business?
When I became a mom, I was excited to shop for my son, but I quickly found it to be a chore to find cool clothes that didn’t cost a fortune. I had to either spend way too much time digging or sacrifice style or value. I saw an opportunity to create a solution.
How much financial backing did you need to start?
We raised $7 million in a seed round. We’re very lucky to have partnered with investors who have a long-term mindset in terms of building brands.
Rockets of Awesome is a subscription business. What does the growth of this way of shopping say about consumer habits?
Everyone is looking for ways to make their lives easier, and technology has enabled consumers to demand greater service and simplification in their lives. The popularity of Rockets of Awesome definitely reflects the current trend in subscription services.
But the reason we’re excited by our model is because it reflects how parents were already shopping for their kids. Kids outgrow their clothes so frequently that every season parents need to replace an entire wardrobe. We wanted to take the work out of the process and do it for them by sending them a personalized wardrobe for their kids at the beginning of each season, completely risk-free.
How can Rockets of Awesome save parents money?
We make shopping simpler for parents end-to-end. It saves them time (time is money!) and provides stylish, high-quality kids’ clothing at an incredible value. Designing and producing our own product enables us to capture our customers’ feedback. It also enables us to deliver the value back to the customer.
What has the response been?
We surpassed our first month’s sales goals in the first three days of business and there is currently a 1,000 person wait list for select items, which have sold out of stock. We started with seven employees and currently have 35 in our New York office and warehouse in Connecticut.
What part of running a subscription business has been surprisingly easy or surprisingly difficult?
In any recurring delivery business, the hardest thing to align is sending your product to your customers at the right time. Because kids outgrow their clothes quickly and at a pace that is unreliable, ensuring that the deliveries arrive when they are needed is very challenging.
Best piece of advice to other would-be entrepreneurs?
Trust your gut and fake it till you make it!
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