When I was a nanny in London (reverse Mary Poppins style), I experienced just how quickly kids grow as I saw little Lily grow right out of her clothes in just a few months. Luckily, I wasn’t the one buying the clothes, but I saw mom’s frustration as she spent more and more money to keep up with her growing bundle of joy. There’s got to be a better way to buy kids clothing, right?
KinderStuff thinks so. The LA-based startup is all about the green clothing movement. Buy their premium, organic baby clothing online, send it back when your baby outgrows them and get a discount on your next purchase. Boom. We caught up with co-founder Rob Rebholz to talk inspiration, tips on living green and the thriving LA startup scene. “Hey mom, I can rhyme!”
Tell us a little about what inspired KinderStuff.
We realized that when it comes to dressing babies, parents face two major pain points that nobody really addresses. So we thought about a new way of consuming baby clothing.
First, premium kids fashion is really expensive. This is due to all the middlemen involved, who all take a share. We have no fancy physical stores, no wholesalers taking their cut, and no crazy brand markups. By selling exclusively on the web, we can offer amazing baby clothes at great prices. It’s an unconventional retail model that we believe creates great benefits for parents.
Second, kids grow but clothes don’t. When kids outgrow our clothing, parents can send their used KinderStuff products back to us- free of shipping charges and in return for a discount on future purchases! Returned used clothing is then donated to charity, recycled, or resold at a discount.
Besides recycling clothing, what are some other green tips that you can share with us?
Buy less, buy better! At KinderStuff, we want to help people consume less by creating baby clothing that lasts longer (and can be re-used if sent back to us). We believe that consumerism often leads people to focus on quantity over quality- with KinderStuff, we aim to reverse that trend.
Besides that, we realized that low-cost country manufacturing often doesn’t adhere to very high standards. Just because clothing is made from organic cotton doesn’t mean that it’s produced in an eco-friendly manner. So we decided to produce our clothing exclusively in Germany and the USA. That’s how we can ensure that production meets the highest eco-standards.
Best/most challenging part of being an entrepreneur?
The best part is clearly the freedom to pursue whatever you believe in, without bureaucracy, and seeing an immediate impact of your actions!
The most challenging part is the uncertainty. There are days when I wake up and am very worried about the future- the belief in what we’re doing however is what keeps me going.
If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be, what would you eat, and what would you talk about?
Richard Branson, who I think is an extremely inspiring entrepreneur who despite all his success has remained humble and keeps thinking outside the box. Being a German living in Los Angeles, I’d probably take him out for Bavarian food (I’m from Munich) and would talk about how he built Virgin from scratch.
How has being an entrepreneur enriched other parts of your life?
I love what I’m doing and I believe that we’re actually building a great company that solves real problems. Holding our products in my hands or getting positive feedback from customers gets me really excited.
Despite all the stress, this love for our project has made me a more balanced and happy person in my private life as well.
What was the biggest startup surprise for you (good or bad)?
Even if you have an innovative business model, great products, and a cool website, it’s really challenging to create buzz. The biggest challenge we face is actually driving people to our site, which is something I didn’t expect when we started this project.
Where are you based and how is the tech scene there?
We’re based in Los Angeles, which we think is an awesome place to start a web-only fashion label. The entrepreneurial scene in L.A. is booming and especially e-commerce, fashion, and entertainment-related ventures are doing well. We get lots of inspiration from being in L.A., which has a very vibrant fashion scene. Besides that, there’s lots of great talent in Los Angeles.
Since we don’t only sell baby clothing, but also design and manufacture it, being in L.A. helps. There’s still lots of manufacturing capacity in and around Los Angeles, which we’ll increasingly leverage to manufacture our product! After all, our idea is to cut out the middlemen, go direct-to-consumer, and hereby create premium products at affordable price points.
Best business advice you ever received?
My dad always used to tell me to stay humble and never give up. He taught me that success is hardly ever final and that failure is rarely fatal. That’s how we run KinderStuff: We are very grateful for the opportunity to pursue this dream and work very hard every day to make it a success.
Can the KillerStartups community help you in any way? Where can they reach out?
The biggest challenge we’re facing at the moment is getting the word out. If you know any journalists, bloggers, or other influencers that might be interested in our story, please drop me a line. Besides that, please tell your friends about us, like us on Facebook, and Tweet about us.
By the way, all the readers of KillerStartups (and their friends) get an exclusive 15% discount on their first purchase by using this code: “KILLER-STARTUPS”
Thanks, Rob! All you green parental units, check out KinderStuff and start shopping smarter for you growing little angels (and get 15% off!). Saving the world at a discounted price. You can’t beat that.
Courtesy of startup founder| KinderStuff