Kidbox introduces its Baby by Kidbox collection today, an early sign that the year-old start-up is seeking to grow fast and that its unorthodox business model has potential.
Baby by Kidbox, seen on the Kidbox web site, offers fashion merchandise for newborns up to 24 months, whereas Kidbox is for toddlers up to size 14.
“Baby is a natural extension to our existing business. It represents a foray into gifting and a strategic move to bring Kidbox to a wider audience,” said Miki Racine Berardelli, the chief executive officer of Kidbox.
In other moves, Berardelli told WWD that tween merchandise is on the drawing board, school uniforms and pajamas are being considered, and she cited a concept in development — the “moment-based” box, explaining, “You can imagine a summer-camp box, or a grandparent box, which would have a gifting element.”
An in-house newspaper called “Scribble” was launched last fall in print and as a digital blog, and an advisory board composed of kids only is being formed.
However, Kidbox isn’t without a growing pain or two. “We have work to do in making sure our customer base understands what we are about,” Berardelli acknowledged. “It takes several years for a business to evolve and Kidbox is a new business model.”
And an unusual one, inspired by Trunk Club for men’s wear and Stitch Fix for women’s wear and based on convenience and “push commerce,” with stylists picking clothes and getting them shipped for those who prefer not to shop for themselves (or their children).
The venture capital-backed Kidbox company was founded by among others, Haim Dabah, a well-known executive with expertise in brand-building and apparel manufacturing. He holds the title of Kidbox chairman and considers himself the “entrepreneur in residence.”
The Kidbox business utilizes data science and an advanced machine-learning algorithm to help Kidbox stylists handpick items and create customized assortments. These selections then get shipped to families so clothes are discovered and tried on at home. Shipments come to families in colorful boxes five times a year — spring, summer, back-to-school, fall and holiday/winter.
Kidbox is not a subscription model. Parents can return any or all of the items they are shipped and can opt in or opt out for each seasonal box. There is no fee to sign up or for deliveries.
The idea with Kidbox and push commerce is to save people the hassles of shopping stores and the ordeal of the fitting room. Kidbox aims to enable parents to spend more time with their kids, unwrapping the Kidbox or Baby by Kidbox packages, contents unknown, in the spirit of opening birthday or Christmas gifts.
The Kidbox business also teaches kids about giving back. For each box kept by the family, Kidbox donates a new kids garment to K.I.D.S. Fashion Delivers, which provides children’s clothes to foster children, children of military families and families confronting financial crisis or natural disasters. The company last year donated $100,000 worth of clothes to K.I.D.S Fashion Delivers, which provides children’s clothes to foster children, children of military families and families confronting financial crisis or natural disasters. Another donation of clothes “in the mid-six figures” is in the works.
Baby by Kidbox brands include Giggle, Burt’s Bees, Reebok, Cutie Pie Baby, Chick Pea, Kyle & Deena, Jessica Simpson, DKNY, Adidas and Seven For All Mankind.
Each Baby by Kidbox includes five to eight items, at $7 to $12 per item on average, for a total cost of $58. Products include onesies, two-piece sets, bibs and footies. There’s also a free gift in the box, such as a blanket or a rattle.
Kidbox provides six or seven items, from toddler sizes up to size 14, priced $98, and also contains free gifts. Some key Kidbox brands are Splendid, Jessica Simpson, Diesel, DKNY, Adidas, Puma and Seven For All Mankind. A shipping pouch, preprinted label and free postage to return any or all items is included.
Dabah said Kidbox is operating “well ahead of our forecasts,” though he would not disclose any figures. He also declined to disclose the Kidbox return rate, though he said it’s less than the average for e-commerce web sites, which is around 30 percent.
Scribble tells what the company is all about, introduces team members, has fashion content, comics for kids, recipes for mothers and advocates the firm’s philosophy of giving. It’s distributed to about 20,000 homes, with two printed versions a year, and the digital version, which is constantly updated.
As Dabah sees it, Kidbox, located in a 4,300-square-foot office at 20 West 33rd Street in Manhattan, perpetuates a start-up culture. “Everybody is doing everything. Everybody is aware of everything and helpful to everybody,” Dabah said. “We’re not silo-ed. We have a team of 12, a couple of open-to-hires, as well as eight engineers and data specialists in Tel Aviv.”
The company is putting together an advisory board of 10 to 15 children, ages seven to 14. The idea is to give the kids an early business education, teach them about Kidbox and encourage them to come up with ideas and products. The kids will be flown to New York for a “board meeting” in the summer [when school is out] and conference calls at other times will be held.
As Berardelli said, “Children start their résumés pretty early these days.”