That said a couple of landing page suggestions:
a) You need to turn the "subscribe" call to action into a button or underline it, it's not clear to avg web user what to do. Suggestion for A/B is a less scary action than "subscribe", maybe "Try it Now!"
b) Get the "stains or spills" content into the top paragraph, it's fundamental in closing the sale. As a parent the #1 thing i wondered was how do you address the "ewwww" factor of sharing baby clothes, shouldn't have to scroll to see that.
Hope you guys crush it, sending along to my wife :)
granted I'm not a target customer, so maybe their research shows that it works...but if I came to the website by any non-referral method(i.e. a friend saying go there)...I would have hit the close button right away
And I don't think we're unique in that sense; My impression is that people either want new clothes (And thus aren't your target customers) or they are second-handers like me. But maybe there's a third group; I definitely think you should test the marked.
> I live in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I think that's significantly different than, say, living in California where you may originally be from some other state that's as distant as you are from Moscow or Madrid, and not have as many friends and family...
Also, no, it's probably not ideal for everyone, but by being a small operation, she can satisfy a niche and not have to worry about conquering the entire baby clothing market.
Lastly, even though we got plenty of stuff from friends and family, I could see utilizing this to get some 'extras', especially if it's really high quality stuff. Hand-me-downs can sometimes be a bit ragged.
That's probably right, at least to some degree.
In any case, California is certainly a big marked, so even if you can only target a small percentage it could still be a viable business.
Craig's list, friends and family, birthdays, holidays, garage sales, second hand stores, 50% off coupons, the list goes on and on.
$16/mo for two outfits? Really? Maybe $1/mo/outfit or something like that and I'll bite. Right now, one years subscription would be more than her entire wardrobe and we're pretty much done until age 4.
I've talked with people who started a similar service a year or so ago, called Bebaroo (recently renamed Bebarang). In fact, they use the same description, "Netflix for baby clothes".
To me that's a missed chance. Rental I think temporary ownership (negative), with Netflix I think "once i'm done, I get rid of it" (positive). Just my opinion tho.
in the Nice Classification for clothing (25).
Perhaps it's a little expensive, but I believe "plum" here is not just a random word, but is referring to the quality of the goods being rented.
Now, one may separately question whether there is anybody in the target market, who wants these clothes but won't drop the funds to just buy them, but I can't speak to that either way; my family is more the "$5 for the all-the-clothes-you-can-stuff-into-a-garbage-bag special" sort of family. No rental service can compete in that part of the market, as fixed costs to ship one box would eat half my wardrobe "budget".
The subscriptions are for outfit bundles. Under the lowest tier $16 plan, you get 2 outfits, 2 items per outfit. So the cost per item is:
$16 divided by 4 items = $4
However, you need to multiply that by the number of months before the baby grows out of the clothes. Using my 2-year old as an example, I say 2 months per item. So the cost becomes:
$16 divided by 4 items times 2 months = $8
Yes, $8 vs $42 may not make a difference for those on the poor/rich ends of the spectrum - but for the average environment-conscious American mom/dad, it's a major deal. The gap between the consignment bin/walmart/target and the high-end baby boutique is rather large and in my personal experience, not well filled.
I think that's going to be the problem. My wife used to work for families to whom money was pretty much no object. $42 and $16 are equivalent in their mind, and equal to about $0.25 to a family on a budget. I don't see them wanting the hassle of having to remember to return clothes within 3 months when it's effectively the same % of their income to buy them.
For me, the cost of baby clothes isn't killing me, but if I crunch the numbers and this is cheaper, then I'd be convinced simply because I like the idea of re-use from both an environment and a de-cluttering angle.
I actually think a better market is offering a cloth diaper service, but I'm sure the USPS would have some issues with those packages!
It took me a minute to remember Netflix has that little DVDs-by-mail business as well. Maybe this slogan has an expiration date.
A national flat-rate service that offers local folks for pickup/delivery would be very interesting.
Any problems with using somebody else's trademark in your service's tagline?
Can I market my business as the "Netflix of ..." or the "Apple of ..." or the "Hacker News of ..." without getting permission from that trademark holder?
(I know a lot of generic products use a tiny line of type like "compare to Kellogg's Frosted Flakes," but it sounds like Plum Gear is taking it a step further than that.)
If you can't afford to answer a lawsuit then I'd avoid it! You don't need to be in the wrong to get sued.
Comparison advertising is usually specifically allowed and the form of comparison advertising makes clear that your goods do not originate with the company you're comparing with. Just don't lie especially if you chose a large company to compare with, they'll have you for every last cent.
If they had done, well...I think you'd have to be very very careful. You wouldn't want to create the slightest hint of confusion that your service is endorsed by Netflix.
I suppose there's some value in being able to trade in the outfits once a month to get new ones but it's not enough of an appeal for me to justify the price. We currently pay ~$10-20 for an outfit for my 9 month old daughter which lasts her about 3 months and $15-$30 for my 2 year old son which last him 6-9 months.
I likely won't use this service unless the price drops although I appreciate the idea and the utility. Nice site too.
I would suggest letting parents pick the outfits, since anyone fashion conscious enough to want to use the service will be sensitive to what they get in the mail. I think if you focused on very high price baby stuff you could do well - items priced higher than the typical baby swap stuff.
However, those people are finding full outfits for $0.25
Will the same people pay $16.95 per month for this? Not in my opinion.
We buy new clothes for our kids. We hand-down clothes. But we were never comfortable putting our kids in hand-me-down clothes because we see what kids do to clothes.
It seems like a pretty narrow niche.
1. Just read your FAQ page, and it says if my return package is over 13 oz, I need to take it to the post office. While this sounds trivial initially, how many people know how much their packages weigh? I don't have a postal scale handy, so would I always have to go to the post office to ensure I can get my package out?
2. As numerous people have commented here, you have a lot of competition just with family alone. Granted not everybody's family will be as generous as mine. But we've bought a small percentage of clothes for our little guy compared to our family buying every cute outfit they see at Kohls or Target, and a lot of hand me downs from a little cousin a year old than our little guy.
Your bio on your site seems to suggest that you haven't had your baby yet (unless I've misread it). I wonder if, once you have your baby, you might realize that you yourself have no need for your service (if your family is anything like mine).
Then again, maybe this will take off with a small niche. Nobody can predict the future, right? :)
I wonder if this type of market is going to expand out more and more to put future generations into the "Why buy when you can rent?" mentality for their entire lives. Makes sense for being able to borrow something when you need it and then return it instead of having it take up space in your house.
A similar toy rental business was on Shark Tank this season: http://www.toygaroo.com/blog/?p=1734
The lady got what I thought was a decent deal with her main problem being that she diluted the heck out of the company by giving out 10% of the shares to anyone who even sneezed near the company.
Best of luck.
Your real competitors are the (fairly regular around here) mom swap events. You can buy the same quantity of clothes for less than your monthly charges and see what you're getting in person.
Not only that, but it sounds like what you get is sort of a "surprise bag" of clothes that you don't get to select. So it's sort of like Netflix, if Netflix just picked out movies it thought you'd like, rather than letting you select the titles yourself.
In that sense, the swap sales have a clear advantage. You see something you like, you examine it right there, and you don't have to buy anything you don't like.
Personally, I wouldn't use this service because it sounds like what's being offered are designer clothes, and that doesn't fit our budget.
What I'd love to see is a service that offers something like Finland's famed "baby box" -- which is given to all new parents:
It's got a bunch of basic outfits -- no frills, just simple, normal-looking clothes.
If a company were to buy stuff like this in bulk, it could probably put together a great, low-price, one-stop-shop "baby box" here in the U.S. and still make a decent profit.
I think the track record points to PayPal as a safer choice. Once the new business is established, it can build its own in-house billing to support additional payment types. Writing your own subscription management for most sites is not hard.
It's not about percentages, but about total numbers. Paypal fucked over tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands merchants. If you want some reading material, go to http://paypalsucks.com/
And with all due respect, building in-house billing may not be as easy as you think. I run a software development company, and I recommend my clients to use Recurly.
I know exactly how easy/hard building in-house billing is, thank you very much. I've built many, for my own business which supports over 80,000 users with a myriad of complex one-time/subscription/overage/special-rate/etc. payment plans, and for others. You can look at my profile if you wish some evidence.
You should totally cross-market with the diaper services.
When the kid outgrows the diapers they are tossed/recycled, but not given to another kid.
The alloted shipments should scale with the plan imo. If I'm on the 7 outfit plan I should be able to cycle all 7 of those outfits within say 3 months as part of the plan's price.
You may need to raise the monthly to cover this, but at least it feels more inclusive and less nickle and dime. Just my opinion though.
Plum: 84 outfits. $2049/year
DIY: 84 outfits $40/outfit. $3360/year. Launder them at the end of the year. -$200. Sell them for $1000 on craigslist or Ebay. $2560/year.
First you have relatives. They buy lots of new clothes for you. Then you have consignment shops for lots of basic items, which as a new parent, you are suddenly very aware of. Finally, you have the parents themselves, who can usually afford to splurge on a nice outfit here or there, after the bulk of clothing's been supplied by #1 and #2.
I just don't see a burning need here that will get you across the chasm.
One note about the site though, at the bottom, the boxes under "Our brands" highlight when you mouse over them, but nothing happens when you click on them. It seemed a little strange since the boxes above them don't highlight when you mouse over them.
Then, there are clearly other folks that think a service like this is too expensive.
Seems like my wife is one extreme (would rather spend lots of money buying stuff) and then there's another extreme (folks who don't want to spend money at all).
I'm wondering if the middle range is a large enough market.
The idea of washing strangers clothing for a baby in their very weak cleaning products is just ridiculous.
Having said that, here is some constructive criticism:
1 - If you subscribe, what kind of commitment are you making? Can you cancel the service @ any time?
2 - Make the available sizes known before you actually get to the point of subscribing. Our son is right on the line between 3-T and 4-T, but I didn't know the max size is 3-T until I got to the "subscribe" page.
Babies go through clothes fast - not wearing them out, but because they grow so fast. Nobody buys all their baby clothes, we all get them from somewhere else, and very often from used-clothing stores.
I predicted this business sixteen years ago. About time somebody's giving it a decent shot.
Great care seems to be taken with the laundering process to reduce allergens and be generally baby friendly... And then a hepatotoxic flower, allergen, and estrogen mimic is thrown in.
A vial of oil is obviously different than a sprig of plant. And a soap, or cream is obviously different than both a plant or vial of oil. But all of the above listed contain the suspect oils.
It doesn't seem like a good idea to hotbox baby clothes with endocrine system disrupting allergens, even at low concentrations.
Ouch. Perhaps it could just say 'donated to those in need' without calling out foster kids as a second class?
Just to contribute some valuable info.
Can't see the value in this.
Theres a Netflix for everything