Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, and other subscription e-commerce businesses have made it easier for adults to discover clothing they like without having to trundle through department stores. Users sign up for the services, which survey them about their likes, dislikes, preferred brands and price points, then they begin receiving pre-scheduled or on-demand deliveries of clothes that they can either keep or return.
The services ostensibly grow smarter the longer the consumer uses the service. They also appeal to parents, who are looking for the same easy shopping experience when it comes to outfitting their kids. So suggests $12.5 million in new funding for Rockets of Awesome, a year-old, New York-based subscription service that sends 12 pieces of clothing per child to its customers at the start of each season and that charges parents only for what they keep. (Returns are free and the company says it learns from them to improve its customers’ experience.)
The new round was led by August Capital, with participation from earlier backers General Catalyst Partners and Forerunner Ventures, which had previously provided the company with $7 million in seed funding, along with Female Founders Fund and Launch Incubator.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently wrote a check to another newish retail brand backed by General Catalyst called Outdoor Voices, also joined the round.
Rockets of Awesome isn’t an exact replica of its adult-centric predecessors. Most significantly, it isn’t acting as a personal shopper. Instead of sending brands to parents that they (or their kids) like, the company makes it own apparel, and it tells Forbes that no two boxes contain the same items.
That’s great for parents of kids who may be flexible about what they wear, especially given the startup’s reasonable prices. Each piece of clothing costs between $12 and $36, which is far less than similar items at many stores, including Gap Kids, Lands End, and L.L.Bean. For certain other parents whose lovely but stubborn children will only wear, say, Adidas or Golden State Warriors merchandise, it might be a miss (alas).
Founder Rachel Blumenthal previously launched an online baby registry called Cricket’s Circle, out of which Rockets of Awesome ultimately evolved. It had raised $4.5 million from investors, shows Crunchbase, including Forerunner, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, East Coast Angels, and West Coast Investors.
Blumenthal’s husband is also an entrepreneur. Neil Blumenthal cofounded the eight-year-old eyeglasses company Warby Parker, where remains co-CEO.