Subscription sites like JewelMint, Sole Society and Birchbox are all the rage these days, allowing shoppers to log their style profiles for monthly low-cost deliveries of goods tailored to their specifications. There are even subscription-based models for home decor, lingerie, workout gear and bespoke men’s shirts.
Out of every shopping category that exists, none seems as perfectly tailored to the subscription model than kid’s clothing. After all, kids grow so rapidly and are so hard on their outfits that affordable, frequent clothing deliveries make perfect sense. That reasoning is what drew actress Christina Applegate to her newish startup. Applegate, in conjunction with head designer Denise Kalinowski (an FIDM grad who has worked at Old Navy Kid’s and Lands’ End Kid’s), are the driving forces behind FabKids. The service offers mothers (and their daughters) a choice of one three-piece outfit every month for the cost of $39.95. Last week, Applegate and Kalinowsk were in the FabKids offices in El Segundo for a lookbook shoot. Racked made the drive to talk to them about shopping and how the children’s fashion world is much different than the fashion-fashion world.
There seems to be a trend of women in Hollywood moving into e-commerce. What attracted you to this opportunity? Christina: “I just though it was an amazing business model. It’s so convenient for moms and dads who don’t want to go shopping. Look, I hate shopping. I especially hate going shopping for clothes for myself. But I go to these stores—I’m not going to say the brand name—and it’s $75 for a T-shirt for a toddler who in three months is not going to wear that anymore because they’ve grown out of it. That just seems so ridiculous to me. And it’s so overwhelming, there’s so much out there.
I loved the idea that you can just go on here with your daughter, pick a personality profile, have them go, ‘This will look cute together,’ you go, ‘Fabulous,’ and you click a button and every month for $39.95 you have a three-piece outfit. You have something that’s substantial, you have something that’s kid-friendly, you have something that’s age-appropriate and it can be washed like a gajillion times, believe you me.”
Does your daughter have opinions about the designs? Christina: “Well, I mean, she’s two, so I don’t know if she has opinions about the collections, per se, but she does have her favorite things that she grabs every day. I don’t dress her, she dresses herself now because I tried that and she throws tantrums. I let her go in her closet and pick out what she wants to wear and it’s usually the same exact ensemble with different colors. She likes striped leggings under shorts with a bright top. So that’s her thing, that’s Sadie’s look, that’s her uniform.”
What designers do you like? Denise: “Personally, I like thrift-store shopping a lot. I find that there’s more inspiration and right now the early ’90s and late ’80s are coming back which is kind of scary. It makes me feel really old.”
Christina: “What’s funny is that they’ve come back like three times, that’s how old we are…I’m really simple. I don’t really shop. I wear the same Converse I’ve been wearing every day for six, seven, eight years. They’re comfortable and in my mind, they go with everything. They’re busted and they smell and they’re disgusting. I usually just wear those with jeans. If I have to fancy it up, I’ve got some great little Helmut Lang jackets that I love. And Fiorentini + Baker make the best boots that ever existed.”
Do you find that because you’re involved in the world of fashion, your perspective on shopping has changed? Christina: “Well, I’m in children’s fashion. This is a whole other ballgame. André Leon Talley is not going to be here later, you know what I mean? It’s a process that’s filled with so much joy and not competition and not snark. And I’m not saying that the whole fashion world is [like that], but I don’t think that I would fit in very well there. I think it would almost be too intimidating and too fabulous for me. But this type of fashion, we’re dressing our baby girls and we’re putting them in stuff that we feel good about. This is about empowering little girls and I think it’s a whole other ballgame. I’m not putting it down in any shape or form, that’s just a whole other life and place. That feels way intense to me, this is fun and it’s bright and it’s sweet.”
Comedic actress Christina Applegate says her 2-year-old daughter Sadie Grace is developing a taste for humor already.
“I’m watching what she finds funny now,” Applegate, 41, tells PEOPLE while on the set of the Spring/Summer photoshoot for FabKids, for which she is a creative partner.
“If she sees something that she really thinks is funny, she does this crack-up on her own. It’s really awesome to see, ‘Oh wow, you’re learning what tickles you.’ It’s not influenced by anybody else, which is really a cool, new thing.”
The former Up All Night star says Sadie is talking now, and that “her language skills are incredible.”
“Sadie and I talk about what she dreamt about, we talk about what we’re going to do that day, we talk about what we did the day before, and we talk extensively about these things,” notes Applegate.
“It’s really a fun part of her development. Now she’s my little person, she’s my little best friend.”
As for balancing motherhood with work — including going back and forth to Atlanta to film Anchorman: The Legend Continues — Applegate confesses it’s bittersweet, but explains that having her own projects is a healthy part of their mother-daughter relationship.
“Once I get [to work], I get to be back in my skin again, and that’s always really good — for her too,” she explains. “I fill up in the outside world and then come home and bring her that strength.”