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kindoo offers baby and children’s clothing for rent. Three years ago the managing director Daniel Peter and the shareholder Bea Graf founded the rental service. Luna Journal spoke to the founders of kindoo about the existing competitive market and the future prospects of such a rental platform.
At the beginning of your company’s foundation, there were actually plans for a rental service for strollers. How did you finally come up with the idea of offering children’s clothing and equipment for rent?
Bea Graf, Marketing, Social Media and PR from kindoo: “It was clear to us that we wanted to counteract the waste of resources and time and help with a problem that many parents have. Especially in the baby & children sector, articles are only used temporarily. In the beginning, the children grow very fast and parents need a lot of clothes, diapers & co.
At the beginning we had thought of strollers and car seats. After a closer look it turned out that children’s clothing is used longer and most parents only need one stroller. A stroller is sold quickly but when it comes to children’s clothing, parents have more than just one outfit. During the same period in which parents use a stroller, clothing in five different sizes is needed. The need for children’s clothing is immense and boxes of too small children’s clothing accumulate just as quickly.
We decided on clothing because more resources can be saved here. Also the resale of clothes is very time-consuming, a working mom doesn’t have the time anymore. So renting, carrying and returning fits very well into our present time.
Does the company name “kindoo” have a deeper meaning?
No. kindoo is a fantasy name. Derived from the word child but without further meaning.
What experience have you had with your rental service?
We founded the company without any previous knowledge in the textile industry or in the professional cleaning of clothing. Now we are stain experts and know exactly which clothes we have to buy at trade fairs for which age.
Because not everything that is “in” is practical and makes sense at all for an infant, for example. We learned that at the end of October 2017 when we became parents ourselves. For the general establishment, no matter which start-ups, we can only give all founders that: persevere, persevere, persevere, continue and never lose sight of the goal.
How can I imagine your rental service? In which sizes do you carry children’s clothing?
Renting children’s clothing is really easy. Parents choose clothes on our kindoo website, the clothes are presented there like in any other online shop and customers can choose between new & as new. Customers pay the first month of rental in advance, if articles are kept longer, they are billed on a daily basis. This means that the customer only pays for what he or she actually uses. An all-round carefree guarantee for stains and damage is included with every order, so parents can rent without worries.
In the customer account the customer has the possibility to see all borrowed articles. They can also buy their favourite pieces directly there. Monthly rents already paid will be added to the purchase price. If the manufacturer’s RRP has been reached with the monthly rent paid, the customer can keep the article. Customers never pay more for the item than in retail.
We have sizes from 44 – 116 and we recently added the premature babies to our range when our son was born with size 44 and we had the same problem as other parents. Our kid didn’t fit in any clothes that you can get on the market that fast. And premature babies have to be born very quickly, because they are usually born unplanned and too early.
What is the life cycle of a garment and what do you do when a piece is no longer available for rent?
Customers benefit from our all-round carefree guarantee which means they don’t have to worry about stains or holes. We take these clothes back at no extra cost. Clothing that we can no longer rent but which is still super wearable because the small hole can be filled with a few stitches or the small stain is hardly visible, we donate to SOS Children’s Villages. Clothes that are really battered and no longer wearable are donated to a lady who sews bags out of them and sells them to refugee children. The garments are offered until we say in quality control “now it is no longer in mint condition”. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and of course it is important how the clothes are returned. We have items that have only been rented once and other items that still look great after 13 months of rental.
Which brands do you carry? Do they consist exclusively of luxury brands?
The brand portfolio consists of traditional brands such as Steiff, Levis, noppies or Marc O‘Polo , but also of trend brands such as Smafolk, bellybutton, NuNuNu or Imps & Elfs. Small labels like Little Indians, noeser and Sprout & Sproud can also be found here. We like to get inspired at international trade fairs and also like to try out new and small labels because here the quality is often surprisingly good. I would not describe our brand world as luxury brands. We carry highly qualitative fashion brands.
How do you select your portfolio of brands?
It has to be a colorful mixture. Traditional labels, trend labels and newcomer labels in a round mix. We also give smaller manufacturers the opportunity to win new customers because they like to try out brands at kindoo. Often customers do not know some manufacturers. They order one or two items from us and are usually enthusiastic about the quality.
Is the rental service also a financially successful concept?
The reprocessing of the clothing is very time-consuming and the high return rate due to the rental concept also causes high monthly costs. But our customers are convinced of the rental offer which can be seen from the regular orders. Our customer life time is significantly higher than normal sales. We are currently investing all profits to make kindoo more attractive and bigger.
Do you offer a Europe-wide service?
Currently our service is limited to Germany. The DACH expansion is planned.
Can I buy clothes from you immediately?
We had a buy-it-now function but it was deactivated because customers preferred to rent the items instead of buying them. However, as already mentioned, customers can also buy any rented garment.
Tchibo has also been offering children’s clothing for rent with Tchibo Share since January. How large is the competitive market in which you are operating? What is your USP?
Tchibo only offers its own clothes and now also toys which is why we view Tchibo not as a competitor but as an opportunity to get out of the “niche” because Tchibo has aroused great media interest. We have often been mentioned in reports on Tchibo-Share in this context or have received our own reports.
Besides us there are two other providers. Since we are also a little different, we all live in a good and healthy co-existence.
Our USP is that our customers pay less for new clothes than for those they rent. This is how our brand selection sets us apart from other rental services. Above all with our courage to give even small brands a chance. Since we are a family business we are in close contact with our customers, especially through our social media channels.
What are your plans for the future?
To be able to live as a family from kindoo and to be a role model for our son later by showing him that you can regulate mass consumption with a sustainable and ecological business idea.