Innovation That Matters

Whirli also offers parents the option to buy the toys at a discount, and children can keep any toys they have played with for eight months | Photo source Whirli

A subscription rental service for toys


A toy rental startup is betting that parents will welcome a more sustainable approach to toy making

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Spotted: Even when parents try to cut back, it is difficult to keep the number of toys bought for and loved by their children down. But this means a lot of waste, once the child grows out of them – which can often be within weeks. Now, London-based subscription service Whirli wants to help parents cut down on both the waste and cost produced by this surplus.

Whirli allows subscribers to borrow toys rather than purchase them. The toys can be kept for as long as parents like, and once the child is finished with them, they can be returned and swapped for new ones. The service uses a proprietary tech platform to track the 50,000 or so toys that it has in circulation.

Whirli also offers parents the option to buy the toys at a discount, and children can keep any toys they have played with for eight months. Subscriptions start at €11 a month. Once parents subscribe, their account is credited with equivalent tokens, which can be spent in Whirli’s library of rental toys.

This year, as many people face an uncertain financial situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have also been changing their consumption habits. People are saving more, focusing on spending money on essentials and on sustainable options. Rebecca Hunt, an early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, pointed out: “The toy market is huge, but it remains mostly stuck in the dark ages of e-commerce 1.0 and offline retail. We believe there is a real opportunity for a new entrant like Whirli to disrupt with a new approach.” 

Whirli is just the latest entrant in what is fast becoming a rental revolution. At Springwise, we have covered a number of other recent innovations in this space, including a subscription service for appliances and smart rental rooms for household essentials.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Retail Innovations | Sustainability Innovations



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