Time-strapped parents and fashion-forward toddlers, rejoice.
Mac & Mia, an at-home shopping startup that hand-picks children’s clothes for busy parents, announced on Wednesday that it has raised a $3 million seed round.
Founded in 2014, Mac & Mia uses the “assisted commerce” delivery model pioneered by Trunk Club, another Chicago fashion tech company. After completing a style quiz, parents can request a box of six to eight curated items whenever they want. Consumers then pick any items they choose to keep from the box and ship the rest back free of charge.
“It really came from my own experience as a working mom with five kids,” said founder and CEO Marie Tillman. “When kids are little, they’re growing so quickly. Even as they become toddlers, I just found that the treks to the mall to try on new clothes, and the frequency with which you have to do it — I didn’t find that to be the most enjoyable activity.”
Knowing that she wasn’t alone in this struggle, Tillman decided to get some inventory together and get the business off the ground while she was home on maternity leave with her youngest daughter.
Tillman said she raised about $1 million from friends and family a year ago, but that Wednesday’s seed round is Mac & Mia’s first round of institutional investment. The funding comes from Corazon Capital, Chicago Ventures and KGC Capital.
In addition to the $3 million seed round, the Chicago startup announced that Jason Smith, former VP of merchandising at Trunk Club, will be joining its team with the title of president.
Smith has been with Trunk Club since 2011, and was part of the team that built out the company's sales organization. Smith said he was excited by the opportunity to join Mac & Mia’s small and dynamic team, as well as by the growth potential of the children’s clothing vertical.
“We had always wanted to start a kids’ clothing business at Trunk Club, but it was just too far out of scope, and it didn’t align with our core objectives,” said Smith. “But the segment for which time is the most important is busy parents.”
Another advantage of the children's clothing vertical, Smith said, is that growing children provide ample opportunity for repeat business. After all, children need several new wardrobes a year, even if they don’t care what this season’s colors and patterns are.
Mac & Mia's business model appears to be resonating with consumers. Tillman said the company delivered more than 200,000 pieces of clothing to 20,000 parents in 2016.
To date, Mac & Mia has 14 full-time employees, but the company hopes to bring that number to somewhere between 30 and 50 by the end of 2017. Tillman said she expects to make hires in technology, marketing and outside sales.
“We’ll also be increasing our marketing spend to grow our customer base,” she said.
Images via Mac & Mia.