Shoppers have become used to weekly deliveries of boxed organic veg. Might they now be ready for monthly deliveries of specially chosen kids’ clothing?
Entrepreneur Nicolas de Rosen, one of the founders of retail start-up Box Upon a Time, is convinced so.
He and co-founders Guy-Louis de le Vingne and Caroline Kendal, launched the business in April this year and have attracted seed capital from some big investment names.
Group Casino chairman Jean-Charles Naouri and Weinberg Capital Partners chairman Serge Weinberg are among the angel investors that have just put £160,000 into Box Upon A Time.
Shoppers receive a monthly or quarterly box of clothes, discounted by as much as 50%, selected to suit their style preferences from a range of about 50 brands. Boxes are priced between £29 and £69.
But de Rosen says Box Upon a Time is not just a matter of the box. The etailer uses what it describes as a “unique tastes forecasting algorithm” to provide customers with a personal shopping-style service.
“What we’re really doing is building a database of mothers’ tastes,” he says. “If you look further it’s about the possibility of suggesting products that mothers like.”
So far Box Upon a Time has signed up 600 mothers to the service and the aim is for that number to rise to 3,000 by the end of the year. “If it works well we’re looking at accelerated growth in 2015,” he maintains.
Customers tend to be “fashion sensitive”, upper income mums aged between 30 and 40 and the venture has gone down well with brands.
According to de Rosen, most British parents only recognise between five and 10 children’s clothing brands but there are hundreds more.
From the brands’ perspective, Box Upon a Time’s algorithm enables them to be introduced to new shoppers to whom their products are likely to appeal.
De Rosen says: “We started with end of season stock but brands were so convinced by the proposition that we’re increasingly offering current season.”
Box Upon a Time has some similarities with established businesses such as Birchbox, Zulily and Trunk Club.
The latter was acquired by Nordstrom. So personalised clothing services may be one of etail’s next big things.