For my internship at Kids on 45th, part of my role includes researching the industry we occupy and translating these findings to help the business. One of the first projects I worked on aimed at understanding our competitors. To do so, I ordered competitors’ subscription boxes and walked through the process like I was one of their customers. What was their user experience like? Did I like the packaging? Was it easy to make returns? What was special about this box? These were all questions I was hoping to answer. The first task at hand was narrowing the list of competitors down to 6 boxes to actually buy. Once I placed my order, I just had to wait. They arrived two weeks later and the team had a blast unboxing them. I took notes and videos on what each company was doing and what I liked and disliked as a customer. Some of the boxes individually wrapped each piece of clothing in plastic and that seemed like such a waste. The same box even included a newspaper (from their company) and a plastic pencil pouch for the kiddo. It seemed excessive. Receiving the bill for these boxes was quite the surprise. While our items average $3 a piece, the competitors ranged anywhere from $5-$40! $40 is on average the cost of a whole wardrobe from us. These boxes were also a try-on and then buy service, but the turnaround time was sometimes 3 days! This meant they expected moms to get their kids to try on the clothes and send back the clothes within that time, and for a lot of moms I know this is not possible. Moms are busy and trying to get kids to try on clothes can be a hassle. To me, it seemed like a lot of these companies were hoping moms would just forget to return the clothes. From this research, it was good to know our boxes are eco-friendly, $3, with no crazy expectations. This helps define our value proposition to customers and will help with branding.
What I loved most about this project is that it reminded me of the heliophysics research I did last summer. We started out with a hypothesis and what we thought the answer would be. Then we tried and experimented, saw the results, and went back to the drawing board. Startups and research have more in common than we tend to believe. Both are about questioning the notions we believe to be true and adjusting when we have more data. I strongly believe this internship is allowing me to use the skills I learned in academia and research and apply them in a
“real-world,” business sense.