Miki Racine Berardelli has been named chief executive officer of Kidbox, a children’s wear startup with an alternative business model.
She takes the reins of the new business from Haim Dabah, a founder of Kidbox, who was acting ceo. She will have an equity stake in the business.
Berardelli, with over 20 years experience, joins from Chico’s FAS Inc., where she was president of digital commerce, chief marketing officer and executive president. Earlier, she was chief marketing officer of Tory Burch, where she also led the digital e-commerce business; senior vice president of marketing for digital and retail at Ralph Lauren, and at Limited Too she launched the direct-to-consumer business.
“One of the most exciting things about bringing in Miki from the corporate world to run a startup is her ability to shape the culture of the team and the company,” Dabah said in an interview. “It’s about building a team of nice, talented people who can work together. We have had a lot of conversations about that. She will shape her own shop, if you will….We have a fairly small team right now — nine data science engineers in Tel Aviv, and in New York, it’s fairly lean, with about 10 full-time people.” Dabah’s son Morris and Harry Tawil are also cofounders and partners in the business. In addition, Justin Renard oversees marketing and brand strategy, and Gal Brill, chief technology officer managing the tech and data science team in Tel Aviv is a cofounder as well.
Kidbox, inspired by Trunk Club for men’s wear and Stitch Fix for women’s wear, utilizes the push commerce format involving stylists picking clothes for parents who prefer not to shop or don’t have the time. The selected clothes are shipped in a box that arrives at home and 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 for $98, 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, letter stickers or educational products. The box itself is designed so kids can color it, and it’s sturdy enough to store things. Boxes come in two sizes.
Kidbox uses an advanced machine-learning algorithm making data-driven decisions or predictions that help stylists pick items and create customized assortments. By shipping the clothes to families, the hassles of shopping stores and the ordeal of a fitting room are avoided. Those who sign onto Kidbox automatically receive four boxes of children’s wear annually, one for each season, and a fifth holiday box, though members can add or skip deliveries, or cancel the service totally. This is not a subscription model; there’s no fee to join, no delivery fees and there’s a short online questionnaire with eight questions to determine a child’s age, activities, style preferences and sizes. The company’s assortment caters to girls and boys, from toddler sizes up to size 14.
“I worked for larger companies, but there is a common thread of working in the most entrepreneurial aspects of these companies,” Berardelli told WWD. “I launched direct-to-consumer at Limited Too. At Ralph Lauren, I joined about a year after they launched ralphlauren.com, which felt like an entrepreneurial startup, and I joined Tory Burch when the company was five years old and reengineering. The work there was very much entrepreneurial and start-up-esque.
“Obviously, joining a start-up company adds a new dimension to my experience. From the get-go, I felt a strong connection to the brand and its purpose. It’s just a very unique opportunity. To build a team from the ground up and shape a culture is a compelling opportunity. In terms of the business, it’s very unique in the marketplace.
“Being a mom who shops for my children, I understand the value. Being back in the kids’ market was also compelling to me, and I knew that whatever I would be doing next would require a brand that has a sense of social responsibility.” The connection with K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers helps parents begin a conversation with their children about giving.
After just two-and-a-half months in business, “I’m proud to say we sent over $60,000 of product to kids,” said Dabah. He’s set a goal of donating clothes to one million kids in need across the country.
Priority one for Berardelli, who starts her job on Sept. 12, is building up the team. The Karen Harvey Consulting Group conducted the search.
“We can’t be a big business without a meaningful team,” Dabah added.
Berardelli said her second priority is developing a three-year plan and the roadmap to meet the goals “so all members of the team have a strong understanding of how we are going to get there.” She said it would take three to six months to set a three-year strategic vision.
The company was launched last September and started conducting business about two-and-a-half months ago.
In addition to their roles at Kidbox, Tawil and Morris Dabah serve as ceo and president, respectively, of Q4, a children’s wear licensing and manufacturing company. Kidbox sources products from 20 brands in Q4’s stable, so in each Kidbox delivered are items from such labels as Butter Super Soft, Seven For All Mankind, Lucky Brand, Reebok, Kenzie, Limited Too, Weatherproof and Paper Denim & Cloth. Kidbox is also sourcing brands from other companies. Both Q4 and Kidbox are based at 20 West 33rd Street in Manhattan.