US-Israeli startup KIDBOX is partnering with Walmart to offer clients of the US retail giant the option to order personalized branded clothes for children online, in bundled items, chosen by an algorithm and company stylists and at a price that they say is 50 percent lower than the original retail price.
The initiative will offer families seasonal boxes of selected clothing items a few times a year. To participate, they fill out a questionnaire indicating the children’s preferences, e.g., are they sporty, modern casual or city cool; what styles or colors to avoid. The questionnaire also asks what items are most needed: tops, bottoms, accessories, trendy pieces; what size they wear and what makes them special. Parents can also leave a note for the stylists.
KIDBOX stylists and the algorithm developed by the firm use the information to custom-fill each box, based on the season and location as well as the questionnaire.
This allows the creation of a personalized selection of items, said Nir Tarlovsky of the Tel Aviv-based VC fund Firstime, an investor in the New York City-based startup founded in 2016 by US-Israeli entrepreneur Haim Dabah.
The stylebox offers Walmart.com customers personalized items from more than 120 premium kids’ brands, including BCBG, Butter Super Soft, C&C California and Puma. A box with four or five items costs $48, approximately 50% off the suggested retail price for the group of bundled items, the company said in a statement. Six or seven items come in a box priced $98, Tarlovsky said.
Sizes range from 0 to 14 for girls and 0 to 16 for boys, and the variety of items includes sweaters, denim, dresses and graphic T-shirts.
This kind of shopping is called “push commerce,” explained Tarlovsky, when stores make suggestions to buyers, and Walmart feels “they have to be in this field.”
The families get the surprise items delivered and can return those items that are not loved at no cost, the startup said.
By ordering clothes via the KIDBOX system, parents get cheaper clothes as well as avoid the headache of putting in an online order or going to the store to shop, explained Tarlovsky in a phone interview. They can schedule delivery on demand or sign up for automatic shipments of up to six boxes a year timed to seasons, back-to-school and holidays.
“We are thrilled to partner with KIDBOX to introduce our first kids’ subscription apparel service offering premium fashion brands at a substantial savings,” said Denise Incandela, Head of Fashion, Walmart U.S. eCommerce in the statement published by KIDBOX. “Over the last year, we have significantly expanded our portfolio of kids’ fashion brands as part of our broader effort to establish Walmart.com as a destination for fashion. Our partnership with KIDBOX enables us to round out our offering with additional national and premium kids’ brands.”
KIDBOX also has an element of social responsibility, said Tarlovsky, which tDabah, the founder, was determined to have for the site.
For every Walmart KIDBOX stylebox in which no clothes are returned, KIDBOX will donate one item of clothing to a needy child in the US. Families can choose their preferred charity.
A model similar to that used by KIDBOX is already being offered for adults by US firm Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service that operates in the US that went public in 2017 and is now valued at $2.44 billion.
Unlike Stitch Fix, said Tarlovsky, which also offers users its own private label, all of the brands offered by KIDBOX are well known, and the startup does not have its own branded products.
KIDBOX has raised some $28 million to date from VC funds including Tel Aviv-based Firstime, San Francisco-based Canvas, and New York City-based HDS Capital. The startup is already selling items via its site for tens of millions of dollars a year, Tarlovsky said.