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The market for new moms is a valuable one (just ask Target, one of many retailers that practically stalk customers online for news of an impending birth). But big-box store experiences can often be overwhelming, offering shelf upon shelf of options paired with little guidance.
A few women entrepreneurs have recently taken matters into their own hands, streamlining the pre- and post-baby shopping process for harried and overtired parents. This trend includes The Honest Company, Jessica Alba's green diaper and product delivery service, and the newly-launched Storq, which sells pregnant women clothing and beauty bundles intended to last them through all nine months. Yesterday, the internet welcomed one more option: Cricket's Circle, a site that offers one master list for all things baby.
Launched by Rachel Blumenthal, the former jewelry designer of Rachel Leigh and the wife of Warby Parker's Neil Blumenthal, Cricket's Circle selects the best baby products by narrowing down the top three choices.
"When I was pregnant with my son, I was frustrated I had to make 150 buying decisions within the first year, in a range of products I was entirely unfamiliar with. I didn't just know how to use them, I was [also] unfamiliar with the brand," Blumenthal told Racked. "It was overwhelming and stressful, but I had a friend who broke it down for me and help me cut through the clutter. She was my cricket who helped me understand the process."
Blumenthal, pictured right, said she got the master list idea based off what is already happening online: many women crowd source their shopping choices by posting to Facebook for friend suggestions. While she, herself, was seeking advice, Blumenthal received various spreadsheets from friends who wrote down their top picks. She realized the aggregated experience could be a beneficial online resource.
Blumenthal's team of three spent the last year doing research on baby products, sifting through editor's picks, product reviews, and friend recommendations to find the top three suggestions for each category. Three was the magic number, she said, because too many product choices can be overwhelming and confusing.
"The baby market is so fragmented: there's a lot of information, but it's scattered all over the place," she said. "Today, parents want someone to simplify it for them. Cricket's Circle is organized, simplified, and straightforward. Instead of going to a lot of sites and doing digging, we have a clean and simple model to find what you are looking for."
The site currently lists 600 products, each separated into categories, and in addition to the top three choices, products are rated by the site's community of 200 moms. Items are then purchasable by clicking to retailers Blumenthal believes have excellent customer service, like Giggle and Diapers.com.
The site also provides content for each product, with editors weighing the pros and cons. With strollers, for example, they note the strollers that are good for city living; for suburban parents, they recommend a lighter stroller that is easier to transfer to and from a car.
Registries on Cricket's Circle.
Blumenthal said Cricket's Circle will update its master lists as new products come out, and there will be room on each page review for parents to voice their opinion or add other suggestions. The website will also have an option to log in through Facebook, where friends can see each others' lists.
"We're looking to build a product that will be a fun, easy experience that takes the stress out of a process that should be fun and will give parents confidence in their decisions," she said.