NEW YORK — At Kidbox, the kids are all right.
Ten children from around the country, ages six to 14, now comprise the Kidbox “Kids Board of Directors,” which convened for the first time Wednesday at Kidbox headquarters at 20 West 33rd Street here.
The day began with a bagel breakfast with the kids and parents, many flown to New York and put up in a hotel by Kidbox. Then it was down to business, with the children seated around the boardroom table; Miki Berardelli, chief executive officer of Kidbox, giving an overview of the company, and Lisa Gurwitch, president and ceo of the Delivering Good charity, which is supported by Kidbox, leading a roundtable with the children stating their names, hometowns and favorite colors, as parents and Kidbox employees looked on.
The children expressed feelings about being on the board and some eagerly offered ideas for the company, like Anja Korovesis Herrman, an 11-year-old from River Forest, Ill., who was born with cerebral palsy and worked with students from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering to create a pedal-less sewing machine so the handicapped can become fashion designers. She suggested Kidbox.com display products by lifestyle. “Kidbox is an easy way to get what you want, but why not give style options, like hybrid options?”
“You’re ahead of us,” Berardelli responded, and it’s something the Kidbox team will address, she added.
Legasii Fox, 12, from Brooklyn, N.Y., has overcome the incarceration of his father and stepfather, and also aspires to be a fashion designer, a football player or an architect. “I’m very stylish,” Legasii said, adding that he likes selecting his clothes. Being on the board “represents something to put on my applications for schools.” He also referenced the company’s charitable component. “I like helping people. It’s an amazing way to help people.” He’s been supported by Children of Promise NYC, which provides programs for children of incarcerated parents.
“We really believe in these children having true interaction with the Kidbox brand,” Berardelli told WWD before the meeting. Naturally, the Kids Board isn’t empowered to make corporate decisions. “[But] we look to the children to influence the direction of the company and our focus on helping children in need,” Berardelli said. “We are going to be educating them about Kidbox and its mission. Their thoughts on philanthropy will help us shape the language we use when we talk to our child customers.”
The children were selected to the board through an application process via social media, e-mails and videos, which evaluated their community activities, leadership and style. “We wanted to make sure we had a nice mix with some influencers who are doing some amazing things and authentically giving back,” Berardelli said, citing Danika Every Eaton, an eight-year-old from Kansas City, who was born premature and helps families with babies in the local neonatal intensive care unit through her organization, Little Warrior Princesses.
Kidbox utilizes “predictive personalization technology” helping stylists pick clothes for families, which are shipped in a box that parents and kids can together unwrap packages, contents unknown, in the spirit of opening birthday or Christmas gifts. The box includes six to seven branded items, each priced from $14 to $16; a shipping pouch, pre-printed label and free postage to return any or all items, and small surprise gifts for the kids, like jewelry or educational products. The Kidbox assortment is for girls and boys, from newborn to size 14.
Those who sign onto Kidbox automatically receive four seasonal boxes of children’s wear annually plus a holiday box, though members can add, skip or completely cancel deliveries. It’s not a subscription model; there’s no fee or delivery charge. Only eight questions are asked to determine a child’s age, activities, style preferences and sizes.
For every box kept by a family, a new outfit, jacket or dress gets sent to a child in need through Delivering Good [formerly called KIDS/Fashion Delivers.]
The tenderfoot board will meet three to four times a year, once in New York; other times remotely linked via technology determined by the kids.
During the day, the children met with Kidbox executives to learn about how boxes are styled and shipped, customer service, supporting Delivering Good and other aspects of the business. Meanwhile, the parents were sent off to visit the Empire State Building, and later, everyone boarded a bus to Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to visit Children of Promise NYC, where the Kidbox kids donated hundreds of pencils, pencil cases and coloring cards.
It took about six months to create the Kids Board. “We made sure that each child could bring something different to the board in terms of a point of view, their background and the different causes they support,” Berardelli said.
She continued, “We actually started the search for a Kids Board of Directors far in advance. The children’s board was our priority.”
Other members of the Kidbox Kids Board are:
Victoria Feng, 13, from Watkinsville, Ga., a reporter for Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, assistant editor at Amazing Kids Spotlight Interviewer and AKOM writer.
Liv Morgan and Tennyson Vest, both seven, from Los Angeles and Instagram style stars.
Megan McConnaughay, 14, from Chicago, who provided shoes and clothing to needy families by planting and harvesting pumpkins to sell.
Nylah Nash, 6, from New York, who wrote a book about making the world a kinder place.
Sylvie Sherman, 11, a New York aspiring fashion designer and melanoma philanthropist who created a see-through shrug to wear over a bathing suit to protect the skin.
Vic Berardelli, 11, a New Jersey resident keen on learning about the fashion business and Berardelli’s son.