Wittlebee buys Cottonseed Clothing to dress little ones

The Birchbox for baby clothes sees the value in owning its own clothing line to fill its boxes

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
August 28, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/29bd

People love getting presents in the mail, and even more if they are a surprise. That basic human desire is what monthly box subscription services capitalize on and it seems like new versions of the "Birchbox" model are cropping up all the time. The latest of these sampler boxes is a business for babies called Wittlebee. 

Wittlebee, which is backed by the LA incubator Science, has just announced its first acquisition -- a baby clothes creator Cottonseed Clothing Company.

The exact terms of this deal were not publicly disclosed but it does mean that Wittlebee will be the exclusive distributor of Cottonseed’s popular tot clothing. Wittlebee said Tuesday that these cotton basics will ship alongside clothes from other high-end brands.

The box service creates boxes based on your baby's size and style and a customized box of clothes arrives at users' doors monthly containing about $100 clothes (retail value) for the discounted monthly price of about $40. 

The acquisition is no big shocker since both companies were started by and for parents searching for high quality clothes for fashionable babies.

“Cottonseed Clothing was our first vendor, and we were consistently impressed by their level of quality and selection of colors so it made perfect sense that they were our first acquisition,” said Wittlebee CEO and founder Sean Percival, in a statement. “We love the fact that the brand was built by parents who inherently understood the challenge of finding fantastic looking kids’ clothes, made from the best fabrics, and in solid colors and styles that transcend seasons so they are long lasting. This acquisition allows us to continue to offer the well-loved Cottonseed brand to our members exclusively. Paired with our wide variety of high-end brands, our customers will now get even more value and outfit combinations in every box.”

The Culver City-based Wittlebee is in a similar space as another young company called Citrus Lane.

Citrus Lane recently raised $5.1 million from GGV Capital and previous investor Greylock Partners -- which brought the company funding to a total of $13.1 million.

Citrus Lane's subscription of $25 a month will send mommy a box filled with four to five hand-selected parent aids or products for babies ages 0-3 year old, whereas Wittlebee is all about clothes. 

Most Citrus Lane products also have a healthy, organize or green focus as well. I would say think Birchbox for the stroller-pushing demographic.

 CEO and founder, Mauria Finley spoke at the first Mama Bear Tech Conference last week and shared some of the lessons her company has learned about being a stress free treat for parents so that they can discover useful items for themselves and their baby.

"Moms are extremely time-starved and we know that they want to see detailed pictures and don't want to read paragraphs of descriptions," Finley explained. "So we have edited the site so that it answers all of mommy's questions without being overwhelming."

Back in August, Birchbox raised $10.5 million in its Series A funding led by Accel Partners.

With two popular subscription models: those that who pay $10 per month and the ones who pay $110 per year. 

Samples in Birchbox run the gamut, including makeup, skincare, fragrance, body, and hair products, and “are generously sized,” enough to see if they’re worth purchasing.

Birchbox itself selectively chooses which brands to include in its service, and, so far, over 70 brands have made the cut. Bvlgari, Redken, Stila and Tocca are just a few examples of the high-end fashion names that Birchbox members expect to see in their mailboxes each month.

The monthly subscription model had gained a lot of traction since Birchbox, JustFab and ShoeDazzle proved that people would love the savings and new products brought right to them at a static price.

Just this summer, a new 500 Startups company called Umba Box graduated the incubator to introduce the monthly subscription model to the handmade world. 

Umba Box picks the best of the best and fills a box each month to send to its subscribers. For $25 a month, users get to discover hand made items (between one and three each month).

With just a few months under its belt, Umba Box has made $110,000 in revenue and has 90% retention. In one of its first months in existence, Umba brought in $18,000 in revenue.




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