A new startup called Rockets of Awesome launching today wants to make shopping for kids’ clothing easier by offering to do it for you. Similar in concept something like StitchFix, which sends boxes of clothing free of charge for home try-on, Rockets of Awesome helps parents build their children’s wardrobe by sending seasonal selections, and only charging for those items customers choose to keep.
The idea actually emerged from founder Rachel Blumenthal’s earlier startup, Cricket’s Circle, a shopping site for new moms. Blumenthal is a parent herself, as well as an adviser to Warby Parker co-founded by husband Neil Blumenthal.
Cricket’s Circle grew to 50,000 members, who used the site to better understand which baby items were best to buy and why. But the feedback the company heard from the moms was that shopping for kids was an ongoing struggle that goes far past the newborn days.
“What we kept hearing over and over again was once they got beyond the car seats and the strollers and what they needed for baby…they kept running into the challenge of shopping for their children,” explains Blumenthal. “Rockets of Awesome is a solution we’re building for the Cricket’s Circle community.”
Cricket’s Circle members had early access to Rockets of Awesome, but it will now be winding down as the new site launches.
How it Works
What makes Rockets of Awesome different from your standard kids’ clothing site is that it’s not just an online store. The core part of its business is this concept of being a personal shopping service.
Parents sign up to the site for free, and there are no commitments or subscription fees. They then fill out a style profile to indicate their child’s likes and dislikes, along with other information, like sizing.
At launch, the service supports boys and girls, sizes 2 through 14.
After completing the profile, Rockets of Awesome sends out a box of kids’ apparel and accessories four times per year – one for each new season. The boxes contain 12 items that can be mix-and-matched, 11 of which are articles of clothing along with one accessory. The boxes include both staples and on-trend pieces.
Unlike StitchFix and other adult-sized competitors, however, Rockets of Awesome’s entire catalog consists of items it designs and produces itself. This allows the company to keep the costs down, with clothing that ranges from $12 to $36 per item. But these items compare, quality-wise, to those in the $40 to $120 range, says Blumenthal.
Parents simply keep the items they like, then return the rest by postal mail.
The clothing is designed by a team led by Zia Taylor, whose background includes time with Gap Kids, American Eagle, JCPenney and The Children’s Place. Other team members have experience at companies like J. Crew, Kate Spade, and Gilt.
“All the clothes are super stylish,” Blumenthal notes. “But they’re also super comfy. The pants are lined with t-shirt material to make them soft, and the sweatshirts are extra cozy and stretchy,” she says.
“Kids are representations of the parents and they have to look cool and put together. But at the same time, if it’s not comfortable, the kids aren’t going to wear it,” Blumenthal adds.
As a personal StitchFix addict and online shopper with a growing kid, signing up for Rockets of Awesome was a no-brainer. I’m sold on the concept, but haven’t received a shipment yet so can’t speak to selection, quality or if the pricing for the items seems fair at this point.
Personalized, Dynamic Shopping Site
In addition to the automated shipments, customers are also provided with a personalized online shop they can visit at any time. Here they’ll have the option to order their favorite styles again, which is helpful if they want to buy more of the same in different colors, for example. The shop will also unlock new styles every two weeks, so parents can continue to round out their kids’ wardrobe whenever they want.
Data from parents’ purchases site-wide as well as those items they keep from their boxes will also influence what clothing the company makes, as well as the styles.
Rockets of Awesome is backed by $7 million in seed funding from General Catalyst, Forerunner Ventures and LAUNCH.
The service is launching now, just in time for back-to-school shopping.