For many parents to-be, the onslaught of baby stuff begins the moment they make it public that they're expecting. Toys, bottles, bibs, diapers, pacifiers, baby monitors, strollers... The list of presents and purchases rattles on and on, challenging any parent's best efforts to reduce waste and cut back on consumption. When expecting mother and Stanford Institute of Design fellow Caroline O'Connor began processing the mountains of baby clothes given to her, she realized that what would be truly helpful would be receiving exactly the right-sized clothes at exactly the right time, delivered to her home in neat bundles.
The result of her epiphany is the start-up Plum, "Netflix for baby clothes," as the website describes it. The San Francisco-based subscription service aims to make new parents' lives a little bit easier and less wasteful by providing them with the clothes they need only when they need them, allowing subscribers to send clothing back when their infants have outgrown them. Just like with Netflix, parents can drop the too-small clothes in a pre-stamped envelope the moment their kids move on to the next thing. Before long, the next size will arrive in the mail, laundered with environmentally friendly detergent and smelling of lavender.
Kids go through clothing so quickly, it makes a lot of sense to not spend tons of money buying new stuff that will probably end up in the trash every three months. However, as with any sort of sharing service, there's always the 'ick'-factor; for Plum to succeed, the challenge will be making parents OK with mini-rompers that once had other people's baby's spit-up all over them.