Last summer, one Penn student turned her high school babysitting experience into a plan for a tech startup.
College sophomore Anna Dailey founded as an online platform for parents to swap children’s clothing. The service’s target market includes both families seeking to save money on children’s clothing and environmentally conscious families who want to reuse clothing.
“When I was babysitting, I noticed how much money parents were spending on clothing that their children would only outgrow in a matter of months,” she said. “And I noticed a lot of potential in the networks that were forming organically around me.”
Dailey started conducting market research by tapping into the resources that were at her fingertips. She sent out surveys to parents in her hometown of Palo Alto, California, and results showed that families were spending $30 to $60 per month on clothing for their children.
At Penn, Dailey researched ways to get her company off the ground. She applied to the WeissLabs incubator program in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, where she received support for her initial ideas.
Baby Bay Box is still in the beta testing phase, where the company is testing the platform in small environments. Although she has received funding from the Wharton Innovation Fund, Dailey said she needs further financial backing. This past weekend, she pitched her idea at TigerLaunch NYC, a competition for entrepreneurs looking to catapult their startups into the market.
Dayita Sharma, an advisor in the WeissLabs incubator program, helped Dailey conduct market research in the Philadelphia area.
“I think the biggest selling point of Baby Bay Box is how it helps the community,” Sharma said. “Not only does it save parents money and time, but it is also environmentally sustainable.”
Dailey has found it challenging to connect with her target market since she is not a parent herself. To remedy the issue, she has reached out to people like Wharton MBA student Divinity Matovou, who runs an online platform that provides MBA students who have young children with daycare resources.
Dailey has even attended a workshop for parenting advice in Center City, where she said she was able to connect with mothers who were environmentally conscious and enthusiastic about engaging in the project.
She also collaborated with Wharton and Engineering freshman Ryan Galvankar, who mentored the company through the WeissLabs incubator. “In my opinion, the strongest selling point for Baby Bay Box is their blend of social consciousness and convenience in the baby clothing market,” he said. “I think that appeals to a lot of families.”
Dailey finds that working alongside other driven entrepreneurs at Penn motivates her to continue developing her project.
“If I were working on this on my own I would go crazy,” she said, “but it seems like every time I attend a meeting, I hear something that sparks an idea and I’m excited all over again.”
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