Ultimately, the major retailers are in a position to take advantage of this space, but in order for it to work, unique product needs to be offered — it can’t just be the same top sold at their physical stores, Mulpuru said. “They have to make it worth the customer’s while if they’re committing to this and looking at the e-mails because it’s something they can’t get anywhere else. If they don’t like it or an item they want sells out, they can flip credit to the following month or that type of thing.”
But how do BeachMint and Personal Retailing’s services differ?
BeachMint’s entities and FabKids are both social in nature, both are centered on providing a highly personalized experience, both cater to a demographic that’s extremely active across social media platforms, both offer a flat rate for product on a monthly basis (with some exceptions for special product such as a special handbag capsule collection released by JewelMint in June that retailed from $60 to $90 instead of the regular $30 fee) and both have celebrity faces.
But Moss contends his approach is mostly about providing a “need” business versus a “want” business and convenience — in a way that fits into parents lives affordably. He also believes the complete three-piece outfit approach “goes significantly deeper” than merely recommending one item.
“The reality is [that] kids grow, and they are constantly in need of new clothes. Parents are busy, and a shopping trip takes time — time that many parents don’t have,” Moss said. For him, the category was an obvious choice as the children’s apparel market has annual sales of $32 billion in the U.S. and more than $100 billion globally.
Back-to-school shopping is in full swing, and the early August launch timing seeks to take advantage of this. The site’s inaugural 100-outfit collection for girls’ sizes 2 to 8 will be centered around the back-to-school season (sizes 10 and 12 will roll out in October).
Applegate told WWD that “the getting-ready-in-the-mornings process” for school will become that much easier. “I’m always short on time. I love that FabKids makes it one-click easy to get a cute, wearable outfit — and at an affordable price,” she said. “All of the clothes look great together, so it’s really easy to mix and match.”
Extensions of the business are already in the works — the company is working on introducing boys’ and infant apparel in the near future.
Another wrinkle is the fashion component.
The site was designed to make life easier for the working mother or father — but also for the parent who is on the pulse of the latest fashion trends. A large network of mommy bloggers exists in the digital space, but Moss’ latest effort with FabKids taps into the stylish mom audience that closely follows fashion no matter where she lives — citing “cool moms in the media, from celebrities to Michelle Obama” as inspiration.
“I’m trying to perfect the balancing act of career and motherhood. There are a lot of great resources nowadays for moms who appreciate a little inspiration and staying up-to-date on the latest trends,” Applegate said. “It [FabKids] helps take the guesswork out of what is on-trend for kids, and what styles work together in a way that’s completely kid-appropriate, wearable and comfortable.”
Catering to this demographic is also what digital platform Elizabeth Street saw as a major opportunity with the multichannel approach it rolled out in late 2011 and earlier this year. An app and a Web site at elizabethstreet.com contain editorial content starring various stylish moms and includes a robust directory of shops, restaurants, museums and outdoor parks by city. The destination, also the first of Emanuele Della Valle’s media properties to launch under his Mediabend Capital portfolio, was designed to give uberchic moms from around the world a place to congregate and network online. Except there’s no e-commerce element.
So while Elizabeth Street’s audience is similar to the one Moss wants to reach with FabKids, the latter is less heavy on editorial content and more focused on delivering an e-tail experience for this market that is designed to streamline the shopping process.
“This can flex into a lot of different areas,” Mulpuru said. “Apparel is just one thing that you can produce quickly and it’s proven itself. It’s a smart model because you have prebooked demand, something we haven’t done in manufacturing in decades.”