Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Welcome! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Lauren Gregor, the founder and CEO of Rent-a-Romper. Let’s see what she has to share with us!
Spiffy: Welcome to the blog, Lauren! What challenge are you addressing through Rent-a-Romper?
Lauren: I’m excited to be here, Spiffy - thanks for having me! Kids grow fast. Parents today are spending time and money to keep up with the shopping demand. Solutions that exist today are either convenient, affordable, or sustainable for the planet, but are rarely all three. We are working to provide a convenient solution that helps parents have the clothing they need as their kids grow through sizes. We want to do this while reducing the waste of fashion on our planet. Through reuse models, Rent-a-Romper is disrupting children's fashion and saving parents time and money.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Lauren: As the mom of two boys, I made the decision to start Rent-a-Romper when I realized I wasn’t the only parent that felt frustrated by the never-ending task of shopping for kids who are constantly growing out of their clothes. I was looking for ways to make shopping more convenient and more sustainable for our planet. After talking with other parents, I knew there was demand for a new way to shop for children's clothing and to build a more sustainable model from the ground up. Building a better future for our planet and making parents' lives easier is what keeps me going today.
Spiffy: How are you working towards a more equitable world through Rent-a-Romper?
Lauren: First, we believe that sustainable fashion should be accessible for the many - not just the few. Often, sustainable fashion has been slow and expensive, limiting who can afford to make more conscious choices. With Rent-a-Romper, our focus is on circularity, reuse, and community—with this model we can keep prices affordable and give access to more families who want to participate in a circular economy. Second, as a female-founded and 100%-women-operated company, we are focused on building flexible work for women. We are creating a workplace that allows flexibility in scheduling, remote work, and puts family first. We will continue to evolve our culture and policies as we grow to support our team.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make on your community?
Lauren: We were recently able to bring Kendra Koch onto the team as our Chief Creative Officer. This is a huge milestone for us and for me as a solo founder because it really helps us to move more quickly and create a strong vision together. This is extra exciting because Kendra started her Rent-a-Romper journey as a customer. She fell in love with the brand and the idea of a community closet, and reached out to share her ideas with me. It is incredible to have her join the team full-time and bring her skills, experience, and ideas to the table.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Lauren: There are small failures and bigger ones every day as a founder. It is easy to get stuck in the details and get down on yourself. But I find, you just need to pick your head up and look at the bigger vision and remind yourself how far you have come and where you want to go. One example of this recently is launching our add-on products. We selected some items to sell along with our memberships that we thought customers would love (bibs, baby sunscreen, stain remover, etc.) After a month we sold only about eight items total. This was additional revenue, but not what we wanted to sell. All of these failures are lessons and you have to keep adjusting and trying new strategies. Next month, we will try a new sales technique and sell more!
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Lauren—it’s been an honor!
Lauren Gregor is a Strategy and Operations leader with more than 15 years of experience. Prior to Rent-a-Romper, Lauren served in leadership roles that required exceptional communication, planning, and organizational skills. She brings her vast experience in business and as a mom to her goal of making life easier for parents and the planet. (Nominated by Charlotte Michailidis at Parenthood Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on November 22, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.