Clothes shopping for yourself can be a time-consuming chore at times, but clothes shopping for children is pretty much always a time-consuming chore, especially if the kids come along on the trip. Between the finding, the try-ons and the arguments about what constitutes too many sequins, very few parents relish a trip to the mall to outfit their offspring.
“Taking a toddler or a preschooler into a store to go clothes shopping is kind of a nightmare,” Lacey Volk, mother of two preschoolers and partnership manager at My Subscription Addiction, told Forbes. “They don’t have a long attention span, they want to go to the toy section … it’s very distracting.”
Which in essence explains the rapid rise of the subscription box for children’s fashion, according to Kidpik Founder Ezra Dabah. Part of what is being sold to the customer is a box full of curated clothes matched to their kids’ aesthetics. But the bigger, if less tangible, part is the opportunity to buy back some time.
“If you think about the time-starved mom today – how much she has to do – and if you can take some of the pain points out of her life, that is immense,” Dabah said.
Kidpik was created to give back some of that time via a subscription box of seasonally curated clothing for girls in sizes 4-16. All clothes on offer are designed and sourced in house. The brand also offers free shipping, free styling and free membership to make it easier to join – and to stay.
Dabah believes that Kidpik’s designs and styling services are an adequate retention tool – and that locking in consumers with a paid membership upfront will do more to dissuade new members from trying subscription fashion than prevent churn of existing members.
"We are excited to deliver the ultimate shopping experience – personalized, coordinated, quality fashion outfits for the girls in your life, direct to your door,” he said. “Our stylists and proprietary algorithms work collaboratively to remove the difficulty, time and guesswork from the shopping experience.”
But, of course, Kidpik is not the only service looking to cash in on this market shift. Over the last five or so years, a host of players have realized that virtually no one wants to take children clothing shopping, and that the idea of turning the living room into the new dressing room appeals to many parents. As a result, Rockets Of Awesome, Kids on 45th, Brown Sugar Box, Stitch Fix, The Collective Child and Kidbox are just a few of the various players, big and small, who have placed a toe in the kids’ clothing subscription box race. A little under a year ago, Kidbox announced a partnership with Walmart to offer curated style boxes for kids that customers can receive on a seasonal basis. Kidbox, incidentally, was founded and is run by Haim Dabah, Ezra’s brother.
It’s hard to find a much better illustration of a full, tight and highly competitive market than one that has literally turned brother against brother. Though the two claim that sibling rivalry is not a factor, because kid-focused subscription clothing services is a large market that is still underexplored. As consumer habits are still in the process of evolving, there is a lot of market share to capture. The reality is that different variations will appeal to different types of customers – and, given the seismic changes happening in retail, there will likely be enough customers to keep more than one kids’ clothing subscription service running.
But will there be enough to sustain the 25 or so currently in the field? Probably not, which means the market will likely have some consolidating to do, even with all the new customers entering the market. But Kidpik is well-reviewed and popular after two years in operation – which means they may be able to go the distance in a very crowded field.