One of our Tradle parents’ favourite things about our service is the ability to keep up with their quickly growing little ones. No more buying clothes and having them sit useless at the back of the closet after they grow out of it in only a few weeks. Our rental service eliminates that financial burden and the burden of stockpiling all those outgrown clothes. This week, we are featuring a business that offers a similar service but instead of renting clothing, they rent toys! Toy Share Experience is a toy rental service based out of Port Coquitlam. We sat down with the founders of Toy Share Experience, Santiago and Ruth, to learn more about their business.
What inspired you to start Toy Share Experience?
Ruth and I saw this opportunity to avoid waste. If you take a look at families, the toys are being used by their kids for just a few weeks. By renting toys, you only have the toy for the time your child is enjoying it. You also give the kids the opportunity to focus just on that toy in that period of time. Many studies show that children that have too many toys also have challenges from an educational point of view. This model of renting toys is not new, you can find businesses with the same model around the world - England, India, New Zealand, Spain, and Australia.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
For us, the best part is when you arrive at the house of our customers and the mother usually opens the door and the kid immediately shows up behind their mother. To take a look at their faces when you arrive with a box full of toys is a magical moment.
We also love seeing comments from our clients on social media. That’s a happy moment when you read a positive comment with all the effort Ruth and I have been putting in.
Tell us about your Toy Tidying & Swap service.
Many parents that we’ve talked to as we’ve begun our business say “Hey, we love the idea but unfortunately, we are full and we cannot accept any new toys”.
To solve this problem, we offer a tidy and swap service. With the tidy service, we advise parents how to organize the toys for the room to looks nice and have everything in order. All toys should have a space to put them. Secondly, we help parents to get rid of what they don’t use anymore. at the end of the session, we locate all the toys that their kids don’t use anymore and we analyze what toys we can rent in the future and we give the parents coupons for future rentals.
How do you ensure toys are cleaned between each rental?
We take the cleaning process of the toys very seriously. We have strict protocols for a complete cleaning with soap and special sanitizers to make sure the toy is clean between uses by different families. We also use an eco-friendly soap.
How are the toys delivered to families?
All the toys that our customers select are through our website. We have a shop near downtown Port Coquitlam with a few toys on display and parents can also come in to order. Clients can then come to the store to pick up or we offer delivery with free shipping over $30.
What are your dreams for Toy Share Experience?
Our dream that Ruth and I have for the future is to replicate this experience in other parts of Canada. To have more branches around the country so that more people can enjoy the toy share experience.
How do you recommend toys for your customers?
We created a Developmental Skills Chart & Toy Rental Guide with a child therapist to recommend different toys for age groups and skill levels. It’s a file with all 75 different toys that we manage and offer and each toy has a skill that your kid will be using and learning with each toy. If your child begins to improve in their balance, then you can look for toys related to balance. If your child begins to work with hand-eye coordination, then you can find toys to support that. All our toys are educational.
What are each of your favourite toys in the inventory?
Ruth: My favourite is the teeter popper. It is cool because the kid stands on the toy and on the back of the toy it has special suction cups so the kid can balance and play at the same time.
Santiago: My favourite is the treetop adventure for kids 1-2 years old. It has many activities that the kids can play with and it’s made of wood. For me, it’s very cool that you can play all around the toy.
We are so impressed with Ruth and Santiago’s business mission to reduce waste and improve the lives of kids and families by eliminating clutter and providing educational toys. Learn more about their services at https://www.toyshareexperience.com and follow along with them on Facebook and Instagram.