Curated subscription review: Wittlebee

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Wittlebee is a fairly new entrant into the crowded curated subscription field, and I love the concept. For $39.99/month, they sent a box of 8ish clothing items for your baby or toddler, customized to the size, gender, and taste preferences you specify. Wittlebee is sort of a combination of the curated subscription model (since their stylists pick out the actual items you receive) and the subscribe-for-convenience model. Given the rate at which kids grow, and how busy parents are, this combo seems to make good sense.

For the purposes of my trial, I told Wittlebee that I would like 3-6 month sized clothes in gender neutral styles, that I was specifically in need of short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts and onesies, pants, shorts, and pajamas, and that I preferred bright colors to pastels. I further indicated that my child's personality was "hippy," (other options included
things like "princess," "diva," "mix & match," "casual," "preppy," and "sporty") and that I needed clothes mostly for around the house (rather than, for example, "Cold Weather Cuddles" or "Hot Summer Days"). There is also a free-form space where you can put in any specific preferences, or you can request a personal consult with a "mom stylist." I didn't do either of those things.

I neglected to make note of when I ordered my box, but I am fairly sure it came within the two week window the site mentions. It didn't seem to take long. The packaging was nice--a heavy cardboard box with the yellow tissue-paper wrapped clothes folded nicely inside, exactly like what Wittlebee shows on their site. A promotional sticker and small bee logo toy were also included. When I unpacked the box, this is what was in it:

wittlebee april 2012.jpg

The contents:
-Baby Lulu pink and silver striped hat
-soft blue hat with no label
-Kidcosmic black, green, and white bib
-American Apparel Infant Baby Rib Karate Pants in Red and Olive (retail $12 each)
-Cottonseed Short-Sleeved Onesie in Sunflower (retail $16)
-American Apparel Infant Baby Rib Short Sleeve One-Piece in Red (retail $11.50)
-Baby Avenue onesie in white (can't find online anywhere)
-Cottonseed Long Sleeve Lap Tees in Tangerine and Turquoise (retail $16 each)
-Cottonseed Short Sleeve Lap Tee in Pomegranate (retail $16)

If I only count the value of the pieces I could find online (all the clothes except the white onesie and neither of the hats or the bib), that's $99.50 worth of clothes, at full price! I can't argue with that, especially since I got my box with a 1/2 off coupon, so I only paid $20!

Overall, I was impressed by the quality of the things Wittlebee sent. I'd not heard of Cottonseed before, but their t-shirts and onesie are made out of thick, soft cotton, and I think they'll be very useful. American Apparel I am less excited about, because I hate that particular company, and I'd prefer Wittlebee not use them at all. The additions from small boutiques like Baby Lulu and Kidcosmic were really cool as well, I thought--a good mix of big companies and smaller ones.

One thing I noticed right off was that the items I received were very, very basic/plain. Looking at the boxes other people have received, I think this is probably because I asked for a box for a baby, and I asked for it to be gender neutral. I suspect offerings for older kids are a bit more creative. Wittlebee is also pretty gendered in how they set up their style questions (very few options are the same for both boys and girls), so the stylists probably don't have a ton of gender neutral items on-hand to choose from. That said, my stylist clearly paid attention to the preferences I indicated--everything was the right size, I got short and long-sleeved shirts, onesies, and pants, as I requested, and all the colors were bright and gender neutral.

From what I can tell, Wittlebee is doing an excellent job with the service they're offering--keeping busy parents from needing to replace kids' clothes all the time, introducing fun new styles and brands. But it's not a bargain service--$40/month is, to me, a lot for kids' clothes, even if they are three times that much new. I also don't have a good idea, yet, as to whether this size box, monthly, is really necessary for a kid--do they ruin/outgrow things that fast?

I think Wittlebee is something I'll try again when this baby is a bit older and I can thrift wearables for him/her less easily. At that point, I hope Wittlebee will have introduced a quarterly option, like Lost Crates has done, as I think that's more my speed at this price point. If you have the disposable income and don't like to or have time to shop for kids' clothing, though, I would definitely give them a try. Take a look around online for coupon codes, too, as I have seen several 50% off your first box codes floating around.

7 Comments

$40/month is a lot for kids clothes--well, it's more than I spend!!

I also wouldn't spend $16 on a kid t-shirt, unless it was a special treat (I have a couple of Thomas shirts, since my kid goes gaga for those). I generally buy kids clothes when we seem to be running out of clothes that fit, which in practice, was about every 3 months until a year, then twice a year/when the seasons change. I look for stuff on sale and can get t-shirts for under $5 and pants for under $10 (if I'm lucky) at Target. I also don't care as much about the quality as I might do for my own clothes, simply because the clothes won't be usable for so long. I expect to get years of wear out of my own clothes, but I doubt I have a full year out of anything I've bought for kiddo.

Sean here, CEO of Wittlebee.

Grace thanks so much for taking the time to review our site. I really enjoyed this post.

In regards to a quarterly option we're working on that. For now our members can pause their membership anytime. So it's not required to get a box every month.

I would love this service. Too bad they only deliver within the continental US.

I looked at the sample boxes and saw that the girl's boxes had both Diva and Princess but I wasn't sure the difference. I wish they had some more active choices for girls like Scientist and Sporty. Or even a way to choose "boy" styles for girls. Oh and looking at H&Ms boy t-shirt selections for summer tells me that pink is all the rage here.

Anyway, the value is better than I can get here so I would definitely sign up. They just need to ship to Switzerland. :)

$40 seems like a lot of money to me. Some stuff I've learned about baby clothes: first of all, babies don't care what they look like (and I personally didn't much care what mine looked like either until she was 6 weeks old because I was so sleep-deprived and had PPD). Secondly, they spit up a lot so you need a lot of changes of clothing. Thirdly, they grow really fast so you won't keep anything for very long. So I figured out that I just needed a lot of onesies that were easy to get on and off. You can get ultra-cheap ones from, like, the supermarket, or you can get them for mere pennies second-hand and hardly worn. We definitely have a whole bunch of gorgeous, expensive baby clothes that people gave to us, but the most useful things were the cheap or hand-me-down things that didn't have a million snaps or any annoying things like buttons that went down the back.

I found baby and toddler clothing extremely easy to find at yard sales - for pennies on the dollar. And because they grow so fast, I didnt worry about it lasting necessarily. Although my kids clothes at those ages almost all were used to start with, went through both my boys, and then were sold/donated/given to friends for further use. Once the kids hit size 24 months/2T, you don't have to worry so much about getting the seasons right as they will tend to stay in one size long enough to epwear it at some point. I only bought sock, shoes new at that age and even through much of elementary school. Of course I filled in for special occasions if I couldn't find something right or to fill in gaps, but 90% of clothing was used probably.

AWFUL COMPANY!!!

After notifying them via facebook (because they don't answer if you call or respond via email) that I was disappointed in my box and wanted to cancel my subscription they blocked me from their facebook page.

After doing some research I discovered I was not alone, they do this often. Delete unfavorable reviews and comments and then block the person from defending their opinion. Mind you they are treating PAYING customers this way.

I, like most moms, researched the company and read reviews before I signed up. The reviews were glowing so why wouldn't I sign up. Pictures were favorable, it was difficult to find negative reviews and now I know why, they have them removed. Very unethical in my opinion.

I was promised that my count would be canceled by the end of day, as of yet it has not been and close of business in PST is in 22 minutes.

I find it ironic that during all of their "reorganizing" I posted a link to this page when I showed concern after the post after post on their facebook page regarding delayed shipping. After my post my box was immediately processed and clearly thrown together. It is awful and clearly they disregarded any of my notes to their so called "stylists". Not to mention that there was several posts from the owner this past weekend stating they were currently processing orders from the 7th of July. I ordered mine on the 13th.

Why might you ask did they place my order above others that ordered prior to me, to shut me up. Well if they wanted me to be happy they might of taken some effort to assemble a box that my child could actually wear.

When you start "no slim fitting clothes child is chunky" don't give them 2 slim fitting pairs of shorts. When you state the colors you like are "grey, orange and black" don't give them green. And if you want a customer to be happy don't give them a pair of shorts that I could buy myself, online right now for $2.99 and get an additional 20% off of that.

Think twice before subscribing to Wittlebee... there are other great monthly subscriptions out there for your kids. Citrus Lane, Kiwi Crate, Babbaco, little passport etc. While they are not clothing they are so much better not only as companies but as products.

It looks pretty plain to me. I learned my lesson after spending a couple K at zulily. I realized I had a LOT of boring clothing that didn't excite me too much. I should have just gotten several pieces that I REALLY wanted from online boutiques instead because they have the best stuff that I actually want for my daughter.

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