Celebrating Real Life: A Q&A with Rockets of Awesome Founder and CEO Rachel Blumenthal
Brands x Better is a coalition of like-minded companies fostering stability in a time of crisis. We asked 10 members of the Brands x Better family a few questions about what they do, why they were drawn to BxB, and what this pandemic has meant to their company. Our final brand is Rockets of Awesome, a company that designs stylish, over-the-top kids clothes for real life with kids. We reached out to CEO and Founder Rachel Blumenthal to learn more about how Rockets of Awesome came to be, their involvement in Brands x Better, and her favorite product they've ever made. Here's what she had to say.
Tell us how Rockets of Awesome came to be. What is your origin story?
Rockets of Awesome was inspired by being a parent. Having two kids of my own opened my eyes to how dated the shopping experiences and assortments were from the existing children’s wear brands and retailers. There was so much innovation happening in every other category for adults, yet as parents, we were completely forgotten. At the time, I was running my previous venture Cricket’s Circle, the trusted resource and editorial destination for everything baby and toddler. When I heard the same frustration from friends and the Cricket’s Circle community, I knew there was an opportunity to create a solution. In 2016, I pivoted Cricket’s Circle and launched Rockets of Awesome. We started with a quarterly subscription box and later expanded to include an e-commerce shop.
What are your core values? Do you have a mission statement? If so, what is it?
We believe in simplifying the lives of parents and celebrating real-life with kids (meltdowns included!) Life with kids is rolling with the punches and belly laughing with your kids – we are inspired by our confident, quirky, and hilariously unfiltered children. We design clothes that reflect who they are as individuals and we try to bring that same over-the-top awesome energy to everything we do.
Where does the name Rockets of Awesome come from?
The name Rockets of Awesome because it perfectly captures the ethos of our brand. The company exists to celebrate the magical, quirky and unpredictable confidence that kids have. We wanted the name to celebrate that confidence and represent the kids.
At Rhone we talk a lot about our customer’s pursuit of progress. How do you feel like you as a company help your customer progress?
Our customers are intensely loyal to the brand, specifically our subscription customers. So many of them were members of the Cricket’s Circle community and their kids have grown up wearing Rockets of Awesome. We celebrate the real-life moments between parents and their kids and there’s a ton of value in building a community around that shared parenting experience. We hope that our clothes give kids the confidence to express themselves unapologetically. We hope that our content and those little nods to parents give them confidence too!
What motivated you to join Brands x Better?
As a parent, my heart goes out to those families most affected by COVID-19, especially those with loved ones in essential frontline roles. We’re all attempting to make sense of this new normal and, most importantly, support our kids through this unprecedented time. Rockets of Awesome is committed to simplifying the lives of parents, celebrating real life with kids, and building community, now more than ever. Brands x Better presented an incredible opportunity for us to do our part in supporting that community by contributing a percentage of our proceeds to charity.
As a member of Brands x Better, you have pledged to donate a portion of your proceeds. What charity are you donating to and how and why did you choose that charity?
We are donating 2% of our April sales to the Good+ Foundation, a leading nonprofit that’s tirelessly working to provide goods to low-income families across the country. They’re responding to the pandemic by providing critical goods and microgrants to those most affected by COVID-19. I have personally been a longtime supporter of the Good+ Foundation and immediately thought of them when we joined the Brands x Better initiative. The volume of goods they’re currently distributing is 2.5 times the amount they typically donate in a month. We’re honored to contribute to those donations and help Good+ Foundation serve a greater number of families in need.
If you had one piece of advice to give to young entrepreneurs what would you say to them?
The most successful entrepreneurs mitigate risk before jumping head first into building their idea. It’s ok to be naive and to not have all the answers (that can be to your benefit!), but work to start to answer those questions with small tests and surveys. At some point you’ll have to jump off the bridge, but if you can have greater confidence in your idea before you do that, you’ll set yourself for a higher likelihood of success.
What’s one of the hardest obstacles you’ve overcome as a company and how did it shape what your company is today?
One of the most challenging parts has been building and managing a team at different stages and scales of business. It seems glamorous to have a lot of people working for you, but it’s incredibly challenging to ensure you’re adequately supporting their personal growth and development. As a startup, we have to iterate quickly to meet the demands of our business and managing team dynamics has been critical. As the team has grown, each new hire has helped to shape the company into what it is today.
What’s one takeaway you’ve had as a company during this recent pandemic?
I’m so inspired by my employees, their teamwork and agility, transitioning to WFH and continuing to support each other and the business remotely. Seeing how quickly companies have stepped up to support our communities and front line workers during this pandemic has been incredible and fostered a sense of social responsibility that I hope we all carry forward once the dust has settled.
Do you have a favorite product you’ve ever made and why?
Our iconic silver bomber is one of my favorites and has been a staple in our collection since the very beginning. It’s shiny, super unique, easy to throw on over any outfit, and kids love that they can personalize theirs with our super cool patches. We even gift an adult version of our signature bomber to new employees when they join the team.