An interview with Salwa Khan, the founder and CEO of Cubbiekit.
Finally: a simple and sustainable way to shop for baby clothes. (Yes, really.) Cubbiekit is a clothing subscription service that grows with your baby. When it’s time to size up, they deliver 6 hip, basic pieces (creating 7 outfits), based on your color preferences and geography. Poppylist founder Sarah Hollingsworth sat down with Salwa Khan, founder of Cubbiekit, for a founder-to-founder chat about parenthood, buisness, and brand.
I'm Salwa Khan, I'm the Founder & CEO of Cubbiekit, a convenient subscription for sustainable baby essentials. I'm based in Austin, Texas. I'm a mom of two and have been married for 13 years. I built my career in finance and strategy and I'm now starting a company that aims to make shopping for better basics easy and sustainable. When I'm not working on Cubbiekit, I'm painting, cooking, gardening, watching TV or dancing to K-POP! My latest obsession has been learning the piano.
My husband and I were always equal partners in marriage. When we had our daughter, it felt like that started to change. The baby industry is so heavily marketed at mothers that I fell into the role of primary decision maker in everything related to OUR new baby.
Couple that with a busy career and it made my transition to a new mom incredibly overwhelming. There was a convenient subscription for everything, but there wasn't anything simple for just basic, great quality, accessibly priced everyday baby clothing? It was always so hyper stylized or highly gendered. Dressing her became another decision in the morning on top of the other thousands of decisions a single person makes in a day. I accumulated so many *things* I didn't need and she outgrew everything so quickly that I had major buyer's remorse and it felt wasteful.
I started looking into what happens to the clothing getting tossed into those huge donation boxes after her clothes no longer fit and didn't "spark joy" anymore. It is not as environmentally friendly or philanthropic as we are made to believe it is—piles and piles of clothing being sorted and accumulated to be sent to developing countries and then eventually to landfills there. I wanted to eliminate the time and guilt from shopping for a baby and find a convenient consumption model that all parents (not just moms) could benefit from.
We're a circular subscription service delivering the essentials you actually use and need in playful, gender neutral colors. We automatically deliver the next season, next size up as your baby grows, putting shopping on auto-pilot (so no need to manage your subscription like with diapers).
Our Cubbiekit Circle program is our donation and textile recycling program and is unlike any other baby clothing company.
When baby outgrows their current size, parents can send the clothing back and we'll donate it to one of our community charities that distribute clothing to families in need. Anything that can't be donated will be upcycled into new Cubbiekit clothing. It's part of our commitment to the environment through circularity and sustainability. We go beyond just using premium-quality, safe, certified organic materials by recycling our own waste, and lessening the need to harvest new cotton.
Playful, Approachable, Relatable—we're an inclusive community of parents that acknowledge that parenting is rewarding but this sh** is hard too. We say our parents aren't about being the best, but about doing their best.
Remember the why. Make sure you're really passionate about the problem you're solving. Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It can shake your confidence from being told "no" consistently. Strangers are judging your product and it's hard not to take it personally. If you're not really passionate about the problem you're solving, then you won't make it.
I will always remember our first customer who subscribed to Cubbiekit. She's a busy mom and loved how convenient it was and loved the quality of our product. We were so happy she shared those kind words with us. It grounds me and reminds me why we're doing this in the first place and that she chose us to make her parenting experience easier.
Staying true to our unique vision and values and communicating that to our community. It's easy to get sucked into social media, follower counts, likes, comments, views, etc. It's easy to question your core if you're constantly asking yourself why you didn't get enough likes or views on that one post or why people don't follow you. It doesn't matter. Your community is what matters, not what everyone else is doing.
I'm amazing with Excel and I love creating models and spreadsheets. The foundation of Cubbiekit actually started with an Excel spreadsheet I made to create an age-based automated shopping list for my husband. He wanted to help and didn't know where to start. Cubbiekit evolved from there and began as a subscription to help fathers feel empowered to participate in common household chores (like remembering to shop), thereby helping busy mothers with their time! We say ... take shopping off your to-do list, so you have time for baby's bucket list.