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- As millennials are starting to have kids, the startups they love are adapting to meet their needs as parents.
- Popular companies like Quip, Rent the Runway, Allbirds, and Away are now making pint-sized products for little ones.
- Keep reading for more of the smartest (and cutest) kids’ versions of our favourite grown-up products.
There’s no denying that the low prices of the direct-to-consumer startup boom combined with the ultimate convenience of Amazon Prime have completely coloured how millennials shop. Where malls with large department stores were once considered sacred ground, millennials now tend to prefer a more personalised online shopping experience – preferably one that also includes free and fast delivery.
We’ve turned instead to smaller startups to satisfy our need for originality and discovery. Yet even when those startups get big enough to not feel like startups anymore, we’re still continuing to shop from them – just not exclusively for ourselves.
As millennials age into parents, many of us are turning to those same startups we once “discovered” for ourselves to instead buy clothes, sheets, and even suitcases for our own kids. Brands like Brooklinen – whose most loyal fans tend to be young adults who just bought their first or second set of nice sheets – understand that as their customer base grows up, they need to find ways to keep them coming back, and in the process, are beginning to cultivate the next generation of customers.
Below, you’ll find a list of some of our favourite startups that are now making (very cute) items for children and babies:
It’s no surprise that Brooklinen, arguably the internet’s favourite bedding brand, is now making baby sheets and blankets in similar styles to their playfully patterned offerings for adults. Sweetly named “Brooklittles,” the collection for tiny ones includes cosy blankets, quilts, crib sheets, toddler sheet sets, and swaddling blankets in ultra-soft materials like sateen and muslin cotton.
Allbirds, the internet’s favourite sneaker startup and maker of the comfiest pairs on earth, aptly named its kids’ collection “Smallbirds” (we know – it gets us every time!). Toddlers and kids can run around comfortably in the company’s original Wool Runners made from sustainable (and super soft) merino wool. Though the shoes have laces, there’s also an elastic band underneath the tongue on kids’ pairs so they slip on easily but won’t slip off. Plus, parents can clean them up easily in the washing machine.
Recognising that socks are one of the most requested but least received items in homeless shelters, Bombas was founded with a mission to provide socks to those who need them while selling socks to those who want them. The company has now donated over 10 million pairs. Their kids’ socks are designed with grippy bottoms so they can run freely around the house without slipping, sliding, or crashing into walls (as kids are wont to do).
Launched exclusively online in 2014, Mahabis makes slippers for adults and kids that can easily be worn outside the house for errands, dog walks, grocery trips, and checking the mail. The original design for adults had removable rubber soles for indoor-to-outdoor use, but the newest iteration has them fully attached. The stretchy heel tab makes them easy to walk in, but they can also be folded down for a full slip-on experience.
5. Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway is now offering kids the same convenience of clothing rentals enjoyed by adults. Parents are now able to rent individual styles in the exact same way they may already do for themselves for weddings, special occasions, picture day, or family gatherings – all at a fraction of the retail price. If you have a Rent the Runway Unlimited subscription ($US159 per month), you can simply include kids’ styles in your rotation at no extra cost.
You’ll find about 30 styles currently, some of which are mini versions of adult dresses that parents can rent for themselves (imagine the matching outfits!). Brands include Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Chloé, and more.
Away’s trendy suitcases feature ejectable batteries that are TSA-approved so your devices stay powered throughout your trip. The kids’ versions are no different – they’re just a little smaller and much more manageable for little ones to carry. They come in nine different colours, and Away also has a selection of fun and substantial stickers that kids can use to customise their suitcases.
West Coast startup Rothy’s makes flexible, comfortable women’s flats and loafers out of spun recycled plastic. This year, they launched a girls’ line consisting of the ever-popular loafer style, which won’t slip off their little feet as they run, jump, and play. As with the adult pairs, they’re machine washable, comfy, and come in tons of fun colours and patters.
Bedding startup Parachute, which launched in 2014, only took three years to put out its first collection of baby bedding. It now makes crib sheets in the company’s beloved percale and linen materials, along with a selection of luxurious cashmere blankets, quilts, a pillow, and the sweetest little hooded baby towels you ever did see – all in gender neutral greys, whites, and pastel blush colours.
Quip makes simple, sleek electric toothbrushes that have succeeded in making adults excited to brush their teeth. It was only a matter of time before they introduced a slightly smaller and softer kids’ version (for ages 3 and up), which includes the same pulsating technology that lets little ones know when to move from one section of their mouths to another.
If you opt for the subscription package, you’ll pay $US25 upfront for the kids’ brush base, a brush head, battery, and the company’s own watermelon-flavored kids’ toothpaste. Select the rate at which you’d like to receive new brush heads, and pay $US5 per shipment, which includes a new battery for the base each time. For an additional $US5, you can also tack on toothpaste replacements.
10. Felix Grey
Known for its adult glasses that block blue light from computer screens, Felix Grey has introduced a kids’ line that’s available in both prescription and non-prescription styles. Considering that blue light is known to disrupt sleep cycles, and that kids tend to be on their tablets, phones, and screens a lot before bed, it makes sense for them to wear blue-light blocking glasses, too (especially if you don’t want them waking you up all through the night).
Felix Grey’s pairs come in three styles, each with four colour options, and two sizes; one for kids ages 4 to 8, and another for ages 9 to 13.
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