Trend Spotting: The Baby Subscription Biz
My knee-jerk reaction was not nice when I heard Jessica Alba
is now a member of the online subscription business sector. But then after some research, I realized that 1) she not alone and 2) there might be a reason why young C-list Hollywood actresses are starting fashion and beauty-related businesses. Jezebel
posted an article, a pickup from NYMag’s Vulture,
on why it actually blows to be Cameron and Kate in terms of careers. In the past, when films still made tons of money and absolutely everything wasn’t headed in the direction of mobile and Web TV, actresses like Sandra Bullock
, Julia Roberts
, and Jennifer Aniston
could afford to set up their own studios. Now, it seems like the days of the $20 million paycheck are gone and the pressure to look 25 at 35 and 45 is the same. In essence, not much has changed for women in Hollywood and if one doesn’t break free of the romantic comedy early on, one is typecast and screwed. And so that brings us to Honest, Alba’s startup,
which got off the ground thanks to $27 million in venture capital money
Image courtesy of Honest.com
I have to say I’m impressed. Not only are they creating a kind of one-stop-shopping for parents with diapers and personal care products for kids, they are aiming to get LEED standard certification for their warehouse and to get certified as a B Corp. (triple bottom line).
Honest sells home cleaning products, chlorine-free diapers and biodegradable wipes, shampoo and other shower-associated staples, and the most important, sunscreen. I’m extremely picky when it comes to sunscreen. Please know if you want safe, effective sunscreen for your kids, it will not come from a mass-market brand – yet – and it will not be cheap. The cosmetics sector is extremely unregulated and sunscreen is part of that sector. We absorb lotions just as we absorb vitamins and fat in food, so ask yourself what it’s worth. If you’re buying organic food but using chemical sunscreen, maybe if you can afford it, a different option is worth a shot. The Honest sunscreen is a nano-free 25% zinc oxide blend that is fragrance free and contains ingredients we can all pronounce, including EVOO, jojoba oil, vegetable glycerin, and shea butter. Plus, no parabens, PABA or any other nasties.
Please note Honest not for the masses – it’s a subscription model meaning once you sign up for the free trial, you will receive your products monthly via mail and your credit card will be billed every month automatically. There’s a diaper bundle (wipes too) ~$80/month and a “family essentials” bundle for ~$36/month. First month includes free trial and shipping, and S&H is $4.95 after that. Check out their price comparison chart.
Now this brings us to Citrus Lane. This site almost makes me want to buy baby presents and I’ve purchased a lot of them. A lot. CL has all these amazing boxes that can be given as gifts. Or, parents can choose a subscription model and get a surprise each month. A box might contain shower gel, a baby book, and some puree and kid snacks. Plus, for expecting moms there are two boxes to choose from, with beauty products and other goodies.
According to Techcrunch, CL has raised a total of $6.5 million in VC funding to date. What’s great is that this is run by two women with plenty of business experience in major tech companies. For the regular subscriptions parents would choose and pay for, it’s $25/month.
You shouldn’t be surprised by these startups but if you are, let me break it down for you. Women are still the ones primarily controlling household spending, regardless of family type (single mom, hetero, or same-sex couple). Take inspiration from sites like Birchbox (beauty and grooming junkies) and Blissmo (health nuts), plus crazy market data and you have a budding business sector. All of this comes in the backdrop of the e-tailing sector, which is reportedly at its infancy. This is promising. Plus, I don’t know about you, but if I can support a business that is not owned by Amazon (semi-monopoly?), I’m happy to.
500 Partners Partner Christine Tsai penned this great article for Techcrunch on the parenting sector and how much the tech-parenting sector is growing.
- According to various sources available in the original article, there are about 69 million women with kids (anyone under 18) in the U.S. and spending by U.S. moms reached a reported $2.1 trillion.
- The market has seen a five-fold boost in the use of social media by moms in the last four years and more parents are buying tablets and paying for apps.
- Finally, the global baby food market was $27 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach a whopping $35 billion by 2016. North America accounts for about 37% of that, which means by 2016, moms in North America could be spending a collective $13 billion on baby food. Taking it seriously now?
So what’s next? Do I really have to give you everything? OK, my guess is Tween subscription services are next up. Birchbox should be working on this for the pipeline after the men’s service is out of Beta.