Foot Locker’s latest partner is a start-up kids apparel brand

Foot Locker continues to invest in digital-first companies.

The footwear retailer announced it has made a $12.5 million investment in New York City-based children’s apparel brand Rockets of Awesome. Foot Locker's investment is part of the start-up brand’s $19.5 million Series C capital raise.

As part of the investment, Kids Foot Locker will create Rockets of Awesome in-store shops and be the largest retailer of the brand’s products in the U.S. Rockets of Awesome merchandise will also be sold on the Kids Foot Locker’s website. The brand is expected to open its first freestanding store later this year.

Rockets of Awesome launched in 2016 as a quarterly subscription box of on-trend clothing for the under-12 set. It now also sells individual items from its website. The goods are designed in house, and made from materials that are super-soft but durable enough to handle play, according to the company. Everything can be easily mixed-and-matched, and all items are priced under $40.

Foot Locker’s investment in Rockets comes on the heels of its much larger investment earlier this month in Goat Group, an online premium sneaker resell marketplace. Other recent investments by Foot Locker include women’s luxury activewear brand Carbon38, tactical play and children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic and footwear design academy Pensole.

“Rockets of Awesome is advancing the way parents shop for their kids and Foot Locker is committed to evolving with the ever-changing retail landscape and adjusting to the speed of our customers," said Richard Johnson, Foot Locker chairman and CEO. "We are excited that our partnership with Rockets of Awesome will enable Kids Foot Locker to deliver new, innovative products and experiences. We look forward to collaborating with them on brand development, product collections, and go-to-market plans to help realize additional growth for both companies."

The investment by, and partnership with, Foot Locker provides Rockets of Awesome with additional resources to build out an integrated omnichannel customer experience. The funding also enables the brand to continue scaling at an exceptionally fast rate, leveraging Foot Locker's expertise and resources to engage in opportunities beyond what is possible through traditional venture investments. Rockets of Awesome is expected to open its first freestanding store later this year.

"With Foot Locker's support, we look forward to bringing our unique, high-quality merchandise and convenient shopping experience to even more families everywhere,” said Rachel Blumenthal, founder and CEO of Rockets of Awesome.