Sometimes a confluence of factors lead to an idea that morphs into a new company in an emerging space. Before Eric Osman started direct-to-consumer (DTC) baby stroller company Mockingbird, he worked for an eCommerce brand and at the same time was noticing a trend. Osman was beginning to see many friends and family “going through the phase of life where they were starting new families,” he told PYMNTS in an interview.
Osman, the company’s founder and CEO, saw how far-from-ideal retail experiences and old legacy brands have been disrupted with new modern DTC companies. He felt that parents arguably have the most to gain from the benefits of DTC companies that have been sweeping across categories. This group could benefit from having something show up at their door and be able to try it out at home, while also receiving the rewards of buying a high-quality product without the markup that traditional retailers put on baby products. Today, Osman says he believes the company is “bringing that initial vision to life in an exciting way.”
The company, he says, is a baby gear brand that offers premium luxury products at an affordable and competitive price point. At the same time, the company delivers a consumer experience that is more “in tune with the modern parent and the modern consumer.” This shopper might be used to better customer service along with an elevated website and delivery experience. Overall, Osman said, the company aims to empower today’s parent.
Through its website, Mockingbird allows shoppers to customize their baby strollers. They can choose the canopy color, the pattern on the inside of the canopy and the color of the leather on the handlebar. Consumers are essentially buying made-to-order strollers via the company’s web interface, which is traditionally only available on more expensive strollers. The company also offers a companion suite of different accessories such as a car seat adapter, a rain cover and a parent organizer — as well as free U.S. ground shipping at checkout.
One of the stroller’s key features is its one-hand fold, which has received such a positive response because of the notorious challenge of trying to fold a stroller. Everyone has their own method, Osman said, but he notes that his company’s process is quite easy. (The company has a video detailing the technique on the stroller’s product page.) The stroller also had a large storage basket underneath, which can hold up to 25 pounds. There is also a phone pocket on the back of the seat along with a valuables pocket with Velcro underneath. The canopy is also made of a water-resistant material (one can, say, spill iced coffee on top of the canopy and it beads right off).
And the company offers a lifetime warranty on the stroller, which Osman said is pretty unheard of in the category. It also has an at-home test policy: When a consumer receives the product at her door, she has 30 days to try out the stroller and make sure that the product is right for her. The company, in essence, wanted to take the potential disadvantage of being able to try a stroller out in the store and turn it into an advantage. (It’s also hard to tell if a stroller is going to work well by pushing it up and down an aisle, which is incredibly smooth, for 30 seconds.) At the same time, the company says that its “strollers exceed the required safety standards across nearly every dimension and have been independently certified by the JPMA.”
The company also offers a way for, say, parents, siblings or co-workers to chip in toward the cost of a stroller. Through its eCommerce website, consumers can purchase gift cards that are in five different denominations from $50 for the shopper who might want to pitch in and help buy an accessory, up to $600, which “covers the essentials and so much more.” And, when it comes to payments on its website, the company offers Google Pay along with credit cards as options.
With eCommerce features such as gift cards and an at-home try-out policy, online brands are looking to bring the baby stroller space into the direct-to-consumer age.