Posts Tagged ‘Innovation

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Update 6/22/2012:  RIP Plum!  Too soon…  Good article here on why it failed.  I’m keeping this post up, because I still believe in the idea.  Interesting perspective in the article on why ThredUP works, too.


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Here’s an interesting notion for parents wanting to live simply yet still deck their kids out in boutique clothing: rent it.

Plum is a new company that calls itself “Netflix for baby clothes.”  Subscribers pay a monthly fee to receive bundles of two, four, or seven outfits at a time by mail, sending them back when finished for a fresh set.  Bundles are packed in a resealable envelope for easy returns, and the subscription supports one free exchange per month.

Does this pencil out over buying new?  Pretty much – at least for the brands they’re touting (Tea Collection, Petit Bateau, Kate Quinn Organics…)  Let’s say you were dressing an infant for exactly three months, and could live with Plum’s seven outfit bundle on top of all the stuff you were gifted by friends and family.  That’s a $49/month subscription – about $150 for the 3 months.  By contrast, Tea Collection or Kate Quinn layette separates run about $30-35 a piece – which would total about $210-$245 for seven outfits if purchased new.

Plum’s no-hassle stain policy (no worries – they just donate it to charity) helps make the service an overall good value, especially if you’re just having one child of a particular gender (finally – a girl after three boys!), or are not the type to do the legwork of keeping stuff pristine for resale.  Parents of multiples can use it to supplement what they already have in the house, maybe giving that little girl four sweet outfits “of her own” each month (for $29) on top of the more gender-neutral stuff she can reuse from her brothers.  It’s also a fun gift for relatives or friends to consider – either one time, or recurring.

Plum is in a public beta at the moment, with a waitlist for new members.  But if it interests you, definitely sign up and keep your eyes on it.  A similar service is ThredUP, where families nation-wide swap used baby clothing for $15.95 a box.  ThredUP is a great idea for the mass market, but with brands tending to be a lot more mainstream – Carter’s, Old Navy, that sort of thing – the lack of selection can be frustrating to folks who prefer (and would post up in exchange) the kinds of brands that Plum is carrying.


Editor’s Note: ThredUP has since added a Concierge service which helps get higher-end swappers into the game.


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Ruh, roh, family biking fans…  We’ve covered Taga Bikes a bunch on GaGaGear, and recently learned that the convertible bike-to-stroller pioneer is notcurrently out of stock” (as indicated on their web site) – they’ve hit pause as a business, awaiting new ownership.

From a partner at Taga, in response to our email:  “Taga is not out of business.  The company is changing owners and the production is currently on hold until the complicated transition is complete.  In the meantime we provide support to our existing customers.”

That there is new ownership in the wings is most likely good news for Taga fans – certainly better than the alternative.  We’re hoping new management brings their stroller-bike transformer concept out here to Portland Oregon!  Portland would absolutely embrace these sort of bikes.  Though recent U.S. economic news might mean some belt-tightening around the nation, you’d never know it from the popularity of bakefiets in our town.  (Check out our favorite family cycle shop Clever Cycles, which just expanded its space for the third time in four mostly recessionary years!)

GaGaGear thanks The Rumor Mill for the tip, and the fine folks at Taga for the swift explanation.  Good luck to all!

Would you buy a refurbished stroller?  How about a car seat?  Exersaucer?  Play gym?

Most of us wouldn’t bat an eyelid at a hand-me down sweater, or a set of toy blocks.  But product safety is always a top concern when evaluating used, refurbished or recycled baby gear.  While many items in visibly good repair prove popular in resale or as hand-me-downs, the market for second-hand gear is unapologetically caveat emptor, heavy on the caveats.

This is nothing new.

What’s new is that gear companies are finally thinking outside the dumpster when it comes to excess inventories, returns, and open-box items.  Like a “Certified Used” car, “Recycled” baby gear may be here to stay, offered not just by third parties like but by the originating companies themselves.  And why not?  Who better to certify a Revolution than BOB?

GoGo Kidz Recycled Travelmate

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Of course, BOB’s still not in on this game.  Nor are any of the volume guys like Graco, Chicco, Cosco, at least on the surface.  Major players have their channel partners dialed in, so inventory just keeps flowing downstream.  The dumpster is in somebody else’s parking lot (though still visible on Google Earth).

As often happens in business, it’s the little guy who tests innovation – in this case, Go-Go Babyz, makers of the brilliant gogo Kidz Travelmate *and now* Recycled Travelmate.

Travelmate is certainly a good candidate for this kind of recycling.  Although it attaches to a car seat, it is not the car seat, i.e. not a litigious hot potato.  It’s a pretty simple gadget.  Scenarios for “bad things happening” at the fault of Travelmate are fairly limited and probably quite remote in their possibility.

With a six-month limited warranty and a discount of $20 over the virgin product ($69.99 instead of $89.99), it’s hard to see how Recycled Travelmate really pencils out for the company once you add up original manufacturing costs, customer service, return processing, refurb parts & labor, testing, and reissue.  But they’re barking up an important tree – and again, it’s a simple gadget, so the typical “fix” is probably pretty simple, too.

At any rate, it’s encouraging to see a company smartly weighing the risks and offering refurbished “like new” product direct to consumers.  What’s the African proverb?  If we’d all just sweep in front of our own doorsteps, the whole world would be clean?  Now *that’s* talkin’ about a Revolution.

  • JHeff: I have read a good number of comments about most users of the boba not really ever using the foot rests. Looking at the videos I've seen, the back on
  • Mama GaGa: Oh, boo! Thanks for the manufacturing update - I will make note in the post. Cheers - MG
  • Cathy: I know this is a couple years old but I ran across this post and was so excited when you said the Boba was made in America - a big selling point for m

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