Inside Rockets of Awesome's Colorful NYC Offices Filled with Space Ice Cream & More
Introducing Mamas at Work, a new Fashion Mamas Journal series that takes a peek inside the stylish offices powered by inspiring mothers.
Photos: Julia Hirsch
When a company features the word "awesome" in its brand name, you can bet its offices are anything but dressed up in neutral corporate decor. In the case of kids styling startup Rockets of Awesome, its cool New York HQ houses "9,000 square feet of awesomeness," according to founder and CEO Rachel Blumenthal. Now that we've already seen inside her whimsical abode, we asked the Fashion Mamas NY member and mother of two to give us a peek behind the scenes of her business, where the ROA team designs the brand's boys and girls clothing collections.
Founded two years ago as a way to for parents to streamline shopping for their kids' wardrobes, the fashionable brand offers clothing in sizes 3 to 12 and delivers a box filled with handpicked items four times a year straight to your family's doorstep. There's no membership charge, just a $20 service fee that can be credited towards your purchase: Simply pay for the items you want and send the rest back for free. And since ROA's team keeps track of each customer's "rejects," you can expect even more tailored selection the next time around.
Here, Blumenthal tells us more about what happens behind Rockets of Awesome's cool doors and more. Read on to find out her favorite spots in the space, how her design team stays inspired, the unique office perks that employees enjoy (there's even an Awesome Committee!), how the startup has evolved their customers' shopping experience, and what's coming down the pipeline for the company (hint: There are some major offline plans).
How has your office space evolved as the company has grown?
We started in a tiny space — all circling a large table, trying to figure out where the heck we were going to store all of our design boards and samples. We quickly moved into a much larger 6,500-square-foot space, which felt enormous at the time. Two years later, we knew it was time to move when we were living on top of each other with racks of clothes everywhere and the stairway doubling as another conference room!
Do you have a corporate mantra?
We're anything but corporate but we're very much a work awesome, play awesome-er environment.
What was your overall goal when designing the office space?
We wanted our office to feel open, airy and also comfortable. It was important to create unique spaces for team members to work in collaboration, take meetings and have privacy when needed. Visitors will immediately feel our brand when they enter from the elevators, but we also have unexpected surprise and delight brand moments throughout the space.
Do you have a favorite piece of decor in the office? What's the story behind it?
We have a wall of astronaut ice cream in our entryway for guests to grab when they visit the office. It's such a fun item for kids to engage with when they're here and it's my version of the perfect snack between meetings!
What's your favorite area in your HQ?
I love working in The Clouds, our most central conference room. It's right in the center of the space, so it’s the perfect place to see what is happening the whole office. No matter what you're working on, you feel like you're right in the middle of it all — which is exciting when all of our teams are working on so many different initiatives.
I also love the Creative Nook, especially when our clothes are out on display for styling before a photo shoot! That is also where we hold our weekly team meetings. Seeing everyone come together to share their work and ask questions about the business is by far the highlight of each week.
How do your designers stay inspired? Are there any interesting company activities or rituals?
Our designers take regular trips to Europe and Asia to see what's happening in other areas of the world. It's so much fun to see what they find, what they're inspired by and how that translates into future designs. We have a shared iCloud account so the team can live vicariously through the design team on their trips.
They recently hosted open studio hours where they invited the entire company to come look at their inspiration boards and samples for an upcoming season. Our team loved it so much that other departments have started creating a version of their own to share ideas and projects across the company. It is a great opportunity to pull our team together to get feedback and brainstorm together to create something truly awesome!
What are some of ROA's unique employee perks?
Our team is special in that they've really created our office perks for each other by building an environment where everyone shares their talents and interests. For instance, our office book exchange was born out of my New Year's resolution to read more and we have free weekly yoga classes taught by my assistant who is a certified yoga instructor. My favorite perk is our Awesome Committee. We assemble a new team each quarter to plan everything from fun office surprises (like rainbow bagels and massages) to our epic company outings. We are known for some pretty serious scavenger hunts.
What's coming up in the pipeline for Rockets of Awesome?
So much! I'm obsessed with connecting with our customers to understand how we can continuously improve the customer experience — from what we're designing (more flip sequins! endless cozy sweatshirts!), the assortments we send to customers (the more outfits the better), how much control we give customers (we launched a feature called Peek last season that now shows customers what we're going to ship so they can swap out items they'd prefer), and even how we involve kids in the buying decision.
I'm very focused on how we continue to evolve the experience and meet our customers where they want to shop. Shopping from the comfort of your home with the box and leaning on us to do the work for you has been a game-changer for our customers. Others text us when they need something through our pilot text shopping program. And we have our e-commerce site for our members to stock up on more of their favorite items. I'm really excited by some offline experiences we're concepting as they bring together everything Rockets of Awesome stands for into one physical location and enable us to create an experience for our customer that's not yet in the market. Stay tuned — it's going to be... Well, AWESOME!