There are so many elements that led me to start my own business: Kids O’clock – a peer-to-peer marketplace for the modern parent. I had been a fashion buyer for 10 years when I had my first son, Albert. It didn’t take long for me to realise the amount of clothing that he needed for functionality as well as fashion (for me, rather than him of course!).
I have always loved fashion in general, hence my previous job as a fashion buyer. I love and respect craftmanship, but when it comes to a kid’s wardrobe there is inevitably a lot of emotion and feeling that also gets thrown into the mix. In my research that led me to start the business, I found an increasing number of parents who look into the quality, the sourcing, the shipping, the trust, and above all, the pricing of their children’s clothing.
A baby will wear approximately 200 pieces of clothing in their first years, yet 80% of a child’s wardrobe is dormant and unused because children grow so fast. These are numbers I find shocking and out of control, especially when there are new businesses popping up daily trying to sell newness and “seasonal collections” for children. This is a problem, one that I am hoping to solve. All of us, especially parents, need to be extremely cautious about how we consume textiles because of the environmental damage, waste and impact on the planet. This world is going to be run by our children after all, so we need to be responsible and ensure it remains a safe place for them.
In my own personal life, I am always buying second-hand or vintage items, and I try to go plastic-free as much as possible. I naturally wanted to do the same when Albert was born, and it was incredibly important to me to find a platform I could trust when looking for pre-loved items. When I couldn’t find any online sites that I liked, I decided to create my own.
At Kids O’clock, we source all of our items from existing wardrobes across Europe and offer everything from coats and knits by high-end designers as well as high street brands, to handmade pieces too – I love that there are so many different tastemakers helping us renew the lease of life in children’s clothing and there really is something for everyone.
Since starting the company last year, we have seen an extremely positive response. Our social media presence has grown rapidly and so has our online community, confirming to me that there is (and always was) a need for this type of business model within the childrenswear market. As a solo founder, it is definitely hard work but also incredibly rewarding when I can see how the platform has grown in such a short space of time.
Community is a huge part of what we are building at Kids O’clock. There is always someone who will have the same idea as you in terms of the clothing or silhouettes you choose for your children; we are simply bringing you all together via the platform. We aim to make the consumer journey as easy as possible and work alongside our stylists to build editorial fashion edits based on relevant stories such as ‘Back to School’, ‘Spring Wardrobe’, ‘Cosy at Home’, to help busy parent’s shop. What makes us stand out from the crowd is our strong eye for product curation, something that helps parents understand we are an honest, trustworthy and safe online community.
The business model is simple – you just need to sign up and list your items. We also offer a Golden Kids Membership service for time-poor parents; for just £10 a month, we will arrange to pick up your pieces, photograph & upload them to your profile and manage any sales. Alongside kid’s fashion, users can also sell toys, prams and toiletries.
There is often a misconception that second-hand clothing is dirty or tattered, but we have a strong vetting process for the items we take on to re-sell meaning everything is in great condition and ready to be worn again instantly.
My top tip for people who are considering shopping pre-loved but are nervous would be to just try it out and be pleasantly surprised. If you’re not ready to buy pre-loved, try borrowing items from your friends first – it is really the same thing! As the end of the day, I just hope we are making a difference with the platform and that I am playing my part.