I am a believer that the toys you buy your kids should have either good educational value and/or be “old fashioned” – like Leggos and Tinker Toys. Yet, despite my “philosophy” I have been known to indulge many a child with toys and games that are for the “here and now”. How many Power Rangers and Polly Pockets does one kid need? Is it possible that my family has actually purchased not one, not two but three versions of MONOLPOLY? (Well, the Star Wars version was really cool!) It is because of the excess of toys and games that now are hiding out in the closets of my “empty nest” basement, that I was overjoyed to have discovered TOYconomy. This idea is nothing short of brilliant. Simply enroll in their very reasonable and inexpensive membership for the TOYconomy club and “rent” away. Love it!
I was so fascinated that I asked to do an interview with TOYconomy owner, Shannon MacAfee. She not only gave me great insight in to her business, but also asked me to make this great offer to my readers:
Sign up to become a TOYMember for $1.00 and get your next two months free OR get 25% off a NON-Member order. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with Louise’s Blog in the subject line.
Here is the interview with Shannon – great info for anyone starting their own business.
Louise: How and why did you decide to start your own business, TOYconomy?
Shannon: I am a mom of three girls. My oldest is 8 years old. As you can imagine, over the span of 8 years, we accumulated a LOT of toys in our house. We had an entire room (our living room) reserved as a “play room”. It was so cluttered that you could barely walk through it. One thing I observed over the years was, even with all of these toys at my kids’ disposal, they had a tendency to play with only a few things at a time. Some toys that they received as gifts, they never played with at all. I just felt like I was surrounded by waste. We held on to toys thinking that our younger kids would at some point play with them. But, what I realized was that we rarely ever pulled them back out once they made it into our storage! I just thought there had to be a better way to provide our kids with the toys they need and want, without the frustrations that many parents feel from the clutter and the high prices of toys that kids grow bored with very quickly. Toy rental seemed like the perfect solution to me.
I initially created my own website to get the idea out there and see what kind of response I would get. I launched my first website in May 2010. The response was very positive, but there were three main factors I had to address: 1. sanitation, 2. parents’ fear that their child will break a “rented” toy, 3. cost/convenience of the service. I did a lot of research (and continue to do so!) to figure out exactly how to create a toy rental program that would address these three main factors. TOYconomy has and will continue to change to ensure that we’re addressing the needs of our customers. TOYconomy is about providing the most convenient and cost-effective service for families who believe in the concept of renting for the benefit of their wallet, space, and the environment – I believe we are on the right path and am excited about the growth of this business. Read how it actually works here: http://www.toyconomy.com/how-toyconomy-works
Louise: How do you juggle being a working mom?
Shannon: First and foremost – I have a wonderful, supportive husband. Without him, none of it would be possible. Life is a constant juggling act – some days you’re up, some days you’re down, some days you fall right in the middle (balanced). The most important thing to me is that I never lose sight of my first priority and the most important thing in my life – my kids and my family. However, I am very excited because I feel like I have a second family growing – my TOYMembers! My life is consumed by many late nights, early mornings, and work on the weekends. But, to me it’s worth it. I like that my kids see me working hard at something I truly believe in. I love that I’m helping other families and providing a service that is beneficial to them, not to mention, beneficial for the environment too!
Louise: What are the most popular toys rented from your catalog of great items!
Shannon: I have a lot of requests for wooden and “green” toys. The most popular rentals so far:
1. VTech Sit to Stand Dance Tower
2. LeapFrog handheld game systems
3. Discovery House
4. Melissa & Doug Classic Bead Maze
5. iPlay Super Spiral Play Tower
6. Rody Horse
7. Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles
8. iPlay Build A Road
9. Fisher-Price baby toys
There you have it.. great and green information for parents who wish to save money, get good product for their dollar and help the environment. Thanks for sharing, Shannon!