Tara Ghei ’01 Launches New Business

A pandemic might not seem an auspicious moment to start up a new business, but that didn’t stop Tara Ghei ’01. In September 2020, she debuted Romp + Tumble, an online platform that curates and rents bundles of clothing for babies and toddlers.

Called Romp + Tumble, the start-up is on a mission to help busy parents tame their time while adopting sustainable consumption models.

“I spent most of my adult life as a finance leader,” she says. “On paper, it looked great: my resume didn't show the string of burnouts that I pushed through regularly after having kids. My friends and family didn't understand why I was perpetually exhausted.” Still, that experience provided a strong grounding for life as an entrepreneur. “My career was focused on driving business transformation (capital raising, integrations, and the like) so I have always been attracted to entrepreneurship in terms of building something.”

Here’s the way Romp + Tumble works: subscribers fill out a detailed questionnaire about their preferences—not just the statistics (age, size, weight) but also color preferences, weather, and developmental stage (i.e., crawler, walker, potty-training). Bundles are gender-neutral and include 22 seasonal, eco-friendly daily-wear pieces for babies and toddlers. Subscriptions are available for one, three, and six months. (They also offer gift cards.)

On the supply side, the Romp + Tumble is built on a sharing model that prioritizes sustainability. Subscribers receive a combination of new and like-new clothing that has been rigorously cleaned using biodegradable and allergen-free detergents. (Once taken out of circulation, clothes are sent to thrift stores and textile recyclers to further minimize waste.)

Clearly Ghei was onto something. Within the first two weeks of operation, she says, “We were already shipping orders and had a number of gift cards purchased, including customers I am not connected to (important for early stage businesses). We are looking to grow through word of mouth as well as partnering with companies through their wellness and benefits programs.”

As for Ghei, although she’s working longer hours, she’s energized about making a difference. “My intention was to wait until the end of 2020 before going full steam with Romp + Tumble,” she says, “but when I realized the pressure the pandemic was putting on working families, I decided to pivot and leave my company sooner to launch.”