The first 2018 Shop.Org main stage event was "Great Retail Stories with Guy Raz." For those of you that don't know, Raz has a special knack for unearthing the genuine, human stories behind some of the most successful brands. It's a skill he's honed not only as a journalist, but as the host and creator of "How I Built This," the must-listen podcast for entrepreneurs and anyone who's considered starting a brewery in their basement.
Personally, I was thrilled to hear from his first guest: Miki Berardelli. She's the CEO of KIDBOX (think Stitch Fix for kids), a mother, a former retail executive at Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch, and - most importantly - she's figured out a solution to my kids' chronic Lost Sock problem.
But best of all, she's steered KIDBOX not only into a startup success story but a force for good: Since its inception two years ago, KIDBOX has donated $8.5 million worth of brand new clothing to children need.
From C-suite stability to the startup scaries
So, how was Berardelli's transition from the big brands to CEO of a startup? She says it was daunting, but exciting. For her, it's imperative that she work for a brand that she can relate to. So when her partner approached her with the KIDBOX concept - affordable, high-quality , customized boxes of clothing for kids - her first thought was: "I wish that KidBox was around back when my kids were little and I was working long hours."
That said, she also noted that she didn't quite know what she was getting into when she started as CEO. "It's constant problem solving and agile ways of working," something she was used to in what she described as entrepreneurial marketing roles at Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch.
The 1-for-1 exchange: Is "doing going" good for business?
KIDBOX was founded with a social mission at its core and what Berardelli describes as "the most rewarding part of building the brand." They partner with Delivering Good to give brand new clothing to children in need. This is life-changing for children in distress who have only worm used or ill-fitting clothes.
She says that the 1-for-1 model is good for business, but it's not imperative to a company' success. The model really resonates with the Millennial customer: Berardelli is hearing from customers that they're able to use the KIDBOX shopping experience to teach their own children about the importance of giving back.
A home on Facebook
Facebook mom/parent communities and word of mouth were the biggest drivers of KIDBOX's early success. Berardelli notes that "once customers experience us once or twice, they typically stick around." High retention rates are critical, especially in the subscription box model.
Not here to disrupt
"All ships rise when ecommerce businesses take off in certain sectors." In the children's apparel industry, Berardelli sees tons of opportunity and hope for all retailers. "There are so many fascinating things happening in retail, that everyone - the disruptors and the traditional retailers - benefit."
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