Filed under: Toys/Games
If you're looking for a different way to ferry your children about in the car safely, KidsEmbrace may have you covered. The company makes specialty car seats fashioned after DC Comics superhero Batman and NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Junior.
Why? Probably because there is no territory marketing departments won't fearlessly course through. The Batman seat features a cape and arm rests styled after the Dark Knight's own arms, complete with hands for cup holders. The Earnhardt Jr. example looks less like the racer himself and more like a generic helmet-clad hot shoe. Still, the treatment doesn't make the product any less creepy.
If you disagree, you can head over to the KidsEmbrace site for a closer look. The seats can be had for around $149 or so. Just don't be surprised if your kid isn't that excited about climbing into a legless crime fighter's lap for a trip to the grocery store.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Your blissfully child-free friends looked upon you with pity when you told them that you were expecting. “I guess you won’t be going out to dinner anymore, huh,” was a popular phrase that was echoed once you told them the news of your expanding family.
Watch out ThreadFlip, Poshmark, and Tradesy there’s a new kid on the women’s clothing consignment block and she’s no wallflower. While ThredUp may be new to the women’s category, the company has already moved hundreds of thousands of gently used children’s clothing items from buyer to seller.
ThredUp lists more than 150,000 items in its kids store, and opened the door to its more mature clientele with nearly 40,000 women’s items from 4,000 brands already gracing its digital shelves – a number it hopes to increase to 100,000 in a matter of weeks. The fast start is thanks to a two month beta period beginning in February, under which the company invited women to send in their used clothing, but did not offer any items for purchase.
The ThredUp model is a bit different than the peer-to-peer model put forth by ThreadFlip, Poshmark, Tradesy, and others. Rather than simply providing a forum to connect buyers and sellers, ThredUp does all the leg work itself. The company buys the clothing outright from its sellers and then resells it to its buyers. The rub is that it is well compensated for this risk and effort.
While on the other sites, sellers typically keep a commission of 75 percent to 85 percent, on Thredup women only get a maximum of 40 percent (depending on the price and condition of the item). However, that amount is paid immediately upon ThredUp receiving and accepting the item (as opposed to declining it and offering to donate it free of charge or return it for a fee). The payout is made first in ThredUp credit which can be spent on the site. If the woman wants to cash out, she must wait 14 days. This model both incentivizes shopping on the site, but also reduces the risk of paying for clothing upfront, given that many items will sell in less than 14 days.
Given this payout structure, ThredUp is likely not the best option for women looking to monetize their closet above all else. But for the woman who knows that there’s value in her closet but who doesn’t have the time or desire to capture it herself, a quick 40 percent is likely a more desirable option than the tax write off from Salvation Army.
The ThredUp logistics work as follows. A woman requests a “clean out bag” from the company, which is delivered free of charge. She then fills the bag(s) with all the clothes that she wants to get rid of. The company then buys everything that is in good enough condition (returning or donating the rest, at the user’s option). From this point forward, it is no longer the original owner’s problem whether the items sell, how quickly, or for how much. Therein lies the beauty of the model.
The decision to move away from pure peer-to-peer was driven by its customers. When ThredUp first entered the children’s space four years ago, it was indistinguishable from offline consignment. But the company consistently heard from its consumers variations of, “Why can’t I just send you all of my stuff and have you get rid of it?” Making the transition was a big risk, and required far more capital and infrastructure, but the results have more than justified the risk, according to the company.
“The reaction has very positive across the board,” co-founder and CEO James Reinhart says. “Our repeat rates have skyrocketed and our net promoter score is extremely high.”
Moms are already shopping on ThredUp for their kids, so the company has their attention. Now it must prove that it knows their style and can offer it at compelling price. The offline world has proven that moms and kids can both shop in the same store: Gap, Nordstrom, and Target being just a few examples. But ThredUp is hoping to capture more than the mommy audience. The site already carries teens’ fashions and the plan is to expand into men’s in approximately six months.
“We hope to build a site that moms feel comfortable frequenting, as well as 20-somethings,” Reinhart says. “Offline retail consignment is 85 percent women’s clothing and dominated by moms.”
Consumers will find a modern and sophisticated site that compares favorably (if not borrows heavily from) the Gap’s website. Shoppers can browse by category and sort using a variety of filters, including size, style, and brand – currently Gap, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, J Crew, NY&Co, Talbots, etc. And because shopping for clothing is hard enough when you’re familiar with the brand, let alone when you’ve never tried on any of their items, each listing offers actual measurements (such as waist and inseam) to minimize sizing issues.
By virtue of its time in the children’s vertical, ThredUp has the infrastructure needed to manage a business a this scale – it sold 500,000 kids items in the last 12 months. The company’s end goal is to become the world’s largest consignment store. In fact, its founders believe that at launch, with just 40,000 items, its selection is already larger than all of its digital competitors combined. The company is processing 8,000 and 10,000 items daily and adding 5,000 to the site, the equivalent of two brick-and-mortar consignment stores worth of inventory.
ThredUp runs all of its own logistics and fulfillment internally and has recruited a significant number of employees away from Netflix to enhance this part of its business. (Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is on the company’s board of directors.)
One of the many advantages of scale, beyond shipping and fulfillment savings, is the data that the company can gather about the clothing market. Unlike on competing sites, where prices are set based on the seller’s (often inflated) opinion of what an item is worth, ThredUp will use its mountains of historical transaction data to determine the optimum price which both drives sell-through and optimizes profit.
“There’s no Kelly Blue Book for apparel consignment,” Reinhart says. “Most sellers default to ‘has this been sold on ebay, ever?’ We’re creating the most comprehensive second hand pricing engine on the market. People used to buy ‘used cars’ and ‘used electronics.’ Now they buy ‘Certified Pre-Owned’ and ‘Refurbished’ items. We think we can build a certified resale industry for fashion.”
ThredUp has raised $23 million, including a $14.5 million Series C round in October led by Highland Capital Partners with participation from existing investors Trinity Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.
Ebay was generation one of this concept and proved ill-fitted to the specific needs of clothing consignors – it’s just too hard to be everything to everyone (see Ebay Autos). The next generation of purpose-built platforms have found rapid adoption among women who show no signs of slowing down their buying new clothes and thus constantly need to clear out the old.
ThredUp is betting that the hassle of managing the consignment process will outweigh the added benefit of making double the commission when an item sells, and that it can poach a significant market share from these established marketplaces. It’s a significant risk. The verdict will likely come down to how easy they can make the process and how good their merchandising is.
By virtue of its inventory scale, it’s likely that the company can attract buyers. It’s the sellers that it will need to continually cultivate. The biggest thing ThredUp has going for it is platform loyalty. It’s likely that many women will prefer to handle both their consignment buying and selling at the same place. If the company can win their purchase business, it might just get them to send in a few bags of clothing from time to time as well.
Best of Instagram is a feature from Dancing Astronaut that showcases our favorite pictures from our favorite DJs on Instagram each week. This week, we feature gems from Steve Angello, Afrojack, and Diplo.
1. “Halfway through organizing my shoes! #sneakers,” via @steveangello
2. “Chillaxin!! #rainbow,” via @pasqualerotella
3. “So great to be part of the Beyoncé opening act with Eva Simons,” via @sidneysamson
4. “Gettin some new kicks at @CHAPTERWORLD #AfroJackJapan,” via @afrojack
5. “Looking forward to another amazing summer at #dc10 clowning around with my#circoloco family,” via @stroxler
6. “Set your watch to 2015 we re making the music of the future with@nickyromero,” via @davidguetta
7. “This is my son riding around the house new shades new hat screaming “I’m cool,” via @diplo
8. “Dinner time…Good luck with this one,” via @ferrycorsten
9. “Tougher than pleather,” via @atrak
10. “Dorothy’s fashion statement! Lol,” via @shermanology
A Batman Car Seat?! Kids these days are so spoiled. When I was of car seat age my mama didn't even put me in a car seat. She strapped me down with bungee cords. And only on the inside of the car instead of the roof on days we had tornado warnings in effect. Now all these little punks get to lounge comfortably in the lap of Batman and even share in the magnificence of his cape. As someone who cannot abstain from calling BS when he sees BS, all I've got to say is: that is some buuuull shit*.
Also, why doesn't the Batman Car Seat come in adult-sized? To go with my Batman Helmet?
I'm pretty sure the car seat has passed all governmental requirements for keeping its contents safe while driving. Check out the KidsEmbrace site for a full rundown of specs and certifications. I can't tell exactly what sizes of children Batman has been designed to hold, but it looks like the ones who weigh between 22 and 100 pounds. How much do you think the mini Guido hamming it up in the above photo weighs? Yeah, I was gonna say a buck twenty-five too. Puh. I bet when he gets up Batman will have pins and needles in his legs for days.
Maybe my favorite part about the Batman Car Seat listing on KidsEmbrace is the company's full-disclosure, 500-word description of who Batman is and why he is famous. They also clear up that he is a comic book character created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939, not a real live immortal superhero. Because parents considering purchasing an item intended to secure and protect their children have a right to know.
*Imagine this phrase pronounced in a slight South Carolinian drawl because that is how my friend Victor says it and I swear the effect is magnified x10.
Muchas danke to Gizmodo.
Of all the affinity networks online, moms may be the largest and are certainly one of the most engaged. At the same time, these women control a disproportionate amount of discretionary spending and are constantly looking for inspiration and utility around the topic of raising kids.
Two women who know first hand the power of this audience are Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punky Brewster, and veteran entrepreneur Kara Nortman, both of whom have two young children (Nortman’s 37 weeks pregnant with her third). Together, they are also the founders of a new mom-focused content and commerce startup Moonfrye, which today announced $2.5 million in Seed funding led by GRP Partners with participation from Greycroft, Daher Capital, and Google Ventures.
Fry has been building an online community at Moonfrye.com for approximately two years where she and a team of contributors have dished out advice and commentary on the joys (and pains) of parenthood to a large and highly engaged audience. Although site traffic figures are not public, Moonfrye has accumulated 1.5 million Twitter followers and more than 500,000 Facebook fans. With the addition of Nortman last summer, first as an advisor and then as a partner and CEO beginning in February, the company is evolving to offer digital and physical DIY (do-it-yourself) craft experiences to families.
Soleil and Nortman, like moms everywhere, struggled to find convenient, engaging, and educational activities for their kids both during the everyday, and during long car rides, airplane trips, or the dreaded alone time with dad. After gathering ideas and suggestions from the Moonfrye audience, the pair are confident that they’ve arrived something unique and compelling – they’re just not ready to tell anyone what it will look like.
Moonfrye will launch its mobile app this summer, at which time the product will become clear. What we know at this stage is that the focus will be on children and parents creating and sharing together in new ways that “favor process over outcome.” The product will also focus on the combination of both digital and physical creation. Oh, and stickers. There will be stickers.
“If moms are shutting off passive entertainment in favor of engaging their kids actively on mobile devices then we have made our small dent on society,” Nortman says.
This is not Frye’s first family oriented venture. Previously, she co-founded what she calls the first eco-friendly baby store in LA, The Little Seed. Later, she developed a product line exclusively for Target and is currently the big box retailer’s Mommy Ambassador. She also is a regular contributor to The Today Show on the topic of parenting, and has written two books on the subject titled “Happy Chaos,” and “Let’s Get This Party Started” (to be published in October). In other words, this is not her first rodeo.
Norton, on the other hand, has digital media and technology in her bones. Most recently, the Stanford MBA and Princeton alum was the SVP Consumer Businesses for IAC-owned Citygrid Media, where she oversaw the Citysearch, Urbanspoon, and Insider Pages products, reaching a combined 35 million consumers per month. Prior to that, she ran mergers and acquisitions for the company.
In addition to attracting investment from GRP’s Mark Suster and Google’s Kevin Rose among other prominent media investors, the company has assembled an advisory board consisting of Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig, author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, former Facebook Marketing Director Randi Zuckerberg, former Ning co-founder and CEO Gina Bianchini, Apple Senior Manager Erik Lammerding, and BranchOut founder and CEO Rick Marini.
As Moonfrye has demonstrated over its first two years, content publishers who can speak authentically to the mommy crowd have the opportunity to develop highly engaged and loyal audiences. Similarly, ecommerce channels that can deliver targeted goods and experiences within the category have proven highly profitable. By combining both, and addressing the very real pain point of keeping children engaged while not melting their brain through mindless video games or cartoons, Moonfrye has the opportunity create a truly beloved brand.
It’s an inevitability that every parent has to experience. A rite of passage, the “supermarket shakedown” is one that indeed shakes your maternal/paternal resolve to the core. This unique meltdown of sorts is usually precipitated by the perpetrator’s viewing of candy-coated confections, promptly followed by an unequivocal “No!”