Business Women Who Lead

How Rebelstork is Disrupting the Baby Goods Market

Rebelstork

New parents often reflect on how quickly their new bundle of joy is growing up: the weeks fly by, milestones are reached and every once in a while, the baby gear needs to be upgraded to grow with said baby. Needless to say, the cost can add up even quicker. Along the way, it can be easy for parents to buy into the hype of purchasing the latest and greatest product…and never use it.

The baby gear market can be overwhelming and overpriced. Rebelstork is here to change that.

Emily Hosie, millennial mom and overall rockstar, founded Rebelstork as a sustainable, affordable and responsible way to disrupt the market. The online marketplace allows for the buying and selling of overstock, open box and high-quality used baby gear at a reduced price. 

Hosie, a former executive at Saks Fifth Avenue and TJX Canada, had first hand experience in purchasing baby gear that went unused. After a poor experience trying to resell it herself, she knew there had to be a better way.

Through the Rebelstork website, parents schedule pickups of their outgrown goods, which are taken to the company’s Toronto facility to be quality checked and condition rated, photographed and listed. With its engaged buyer base, the average Rebelstork seller makes $400 on a 4-item pickup within a short 48 hours of the listing going live.

Disrupting the baby goods market with Rebelstork means that Hosie helps out today’s parents, while reducing waste for the future.

“Providing a safe and hassle-free experience for both buyers and sellers allows us to make contributing to the circular economy effortless,” said Hosie. “Together, we can help minimize the stuff burden for the next generation.”

Hosie was definitely on to something. This past September, Rebelstork announced $2-million in seed funding, raised by high net worth individuals who believed in her mission.

For this week’s Women Who Lead, Bay Street bull spoke with Emily Hosie, Founder of Rebelstork, about improving the life of parents everywhere while disrupting an age-old market. 

Q&A

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Rebelstork came to be?

I’m a millennial mom but, I am also a lot of other things. I am the Founder/CEO of Rebelstork, the wife of a totally supportive partner, a former VP at Saks Fifth Avenue and TJX Canada, a front row fashion week attendee at the majors (NYC, London, Paris, Milan), a CAFA mentor, a planet saver and resale junkie.      

When I became a mom I realized there was a void that needed to be filled in the baby and kids space. Major re-sale movements were rapidly evolving in the apparel space and becoming easy and convenient for consumers and brands to participate. However, in the baby gear space the act of resale was still very time consuming, a hassle and frankly unsafe.  Overconsumption was still the main message being spread. Rebelstork was built to fill this void. 

What was your biggest fear when deciding to leave your executive job to create a start-up? How did you overcome it and decide to take the leap?

I did not feel fear (is that weird?) but rather extreme excitement and pride. I had spent the past 15 years working for three of the largest and most prestigious retailers in the world and learning under some of the most influential names in the space. I spent 6 years working in the grind of NYC and in my last position I travelled 2 weeks a month. I looked forward to having a better balance and being my own boss. 

What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far in being an entrepreneur?

The importance of learning enough to be able to understand every aspect of your business. This has been vital to manage cash flow while we scale and grow. By no means am I an expert in all aspects, but it has been immensely important to spend the time to experience it all – from order fulfillment, inventory management, web development, media spend and more. Being aware of every aspect of the business in the early days makes it clear where you need to hire into the needs of the business as you scale up.  

What gap does Rebelstork fill in the baby goods market?

Rebelstork is an online managed marketplace that enables the buying and selling of overstock, open box and quality used baby gear at a reduced price. Our custom algorithm sets fair and transparent pricing for items making the experience hassle and haggle free. We pick up the items, bring them to our HQ for quality and condition checks, photography and listing. Buyers know that what they are purchasing is as listed and the average seller makes $400 per 4+ item pick up.   

Why is it important to create a sustainable and affordable means for baby goods?

Today’s parents expect more, while having a lot on their plates. 72% of Canadian first-time parents are dual income which is +40% over the past 20 years. With housing prices at all-time highs today’s parents are also often battling the challenges of living in smaller spaces. Providing a safe and hassle-free experience for both buyers and sellers allows us to make contributing to the circular economy effortless. Together, we can help minimize the stuff burden for the next generation. 

As a mom yourself, did you have any personal experiences that drew yourself to being passionate about disrupting this space?

Yes! I have a three-year-old (and I am eight months pregnant). We got a 4Moms MamaRoo swing for him which costs about $360 and takes up quite a bit of space. He did not like it so I thought I’d try and sell it to make some money back and get it into the home of another family. I posted it on a do it yourself marketplace and had a terrible experience. I was left thinking to myself, there has to be a better way.    

Do you have any favourite memories of stories from Rebelstork customers?

Absolutely! One that sticks out is about a family whose baby was having a tough time sleeping, they purchased a  quality used SNOO bassinet from us. The day after it got delivered the team received an email with a picture of their adorable baby sleeping soundly and a note thanking us and letting us know that their baby had for the first time slept through the night. Team Rebby is made up of mostly female moms and COVID-19 has been a juggle for many of us. Hearing from happy buyers and sellers truly brightens our day! 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

If you go through life thinking everyone has the same heart as you, you will end up disappointed. Basically, the importance of building a strong sense of self has always stuck with me. Feeling confident to act on your principles regardless of how others choose to act.  

What advice would you tell your younger self?

Always, trust the timing of your life.  

Where do you hope to see Rebelstork in 5, 10 years?

Completely revolutionizing the baby/kid’s industry by making buying and selling into the circular economy the norm while significantly impacting families in need.