Don’t want to shell out big bucks for a bassinet or a stroller? A new DC company allows parents to rent high-end baby and toddler gear. JoyLet was founded by local entrepreneurs Alli Cavasino and Natalie Poston, who came up with the idea while in Georgetown’s business school.
While other services have focused on short-term rentals for travel and vacations, longer-term rentals were less common. Then the high-tech, celebrity-endorsed Snoo bassinet rocked parents to their collective core with its $1,700 price tag, and the brand began offering month-to-month rentals. JoyLet now offers the Snoo for rent, too, along with a host of other popular and higher-end baby gear.
Here’s how it works: Hop on their website and check out pages of baby gear—bassinets, bouncers, strollers, carriers, wagons, bulky climbing toys, etc—place a rental order, schedule delivery, and begin using the equipment. From there, you can rent it for as long as you’d like, or, if it’s not working for the family, swap it out for something different (with a home pickup, no less!)
Pricing is based upon the retail price of each piece and the estimated length of use, with the goal, says Poston, of saving parents at least 40 percent off retail prices over the duration of their rental. So if a typical bassinet is used for four months, it’s priced so that renters pay less than 60 percent of its retail cost while renting for four months.
But it’s not just about the price tags, says Poston. JoyLet’s customers are also interested in renting so their homes don’t become overcrowded with baby stuff that’s used for just a few months. Instead, they can borrow the equipment while they need it and then get it out of the house quickly.
“Our goal is to make rental more attractive than turning to the secondhand market, even if the savings are similar,” says Poston. “When you rent, you don’t need to watch your house get overrun with baby and toddler gear, we take the gear away as soon as your little one grows out of it. This is a huge differentiator between rental and the secondhand market.”
This month, the company will launch its new membership program. The membership will require an annual fee (price TBD), but members will get free shipping on rentals/returns and on unlimited swap-outs and 10 percent off all rental pricing. Members will also have exclusive access to a try-to-buy program, which will allow customers to purchase any gear they especially love and want to hold on to, at a price that will equal the difference between the retail price and the monthly rental payments to date.
“Renting as a way to try before buying is a really smart idea for parents who don’t want to commit to those big-ticket purchases before seeing how a piece of gear fits into their family’s lifestyle. No matter how many reviews you read, it’s impossible to know what will work for your family until you try it,” Poston says.
Poston adds they’ve tried to make the offerings super curated to help renters from falling down the selection rabbit hole. Each category features only their top three recommendations. The company also offers free consultations for parents that want even more help in deciding what they should rent, what they should buy, and what they should skip altogether. “We source the best baby gear from parents and pros. In fact, we just went to Germany for the world’s largest baby gear expo,” Poston says.
Though it began with infant and some toddler gear, Poston says they are planning to grow: “Our long-term vision is for JoyLet to become a parent’s one-stop shop for gear and large toys from birth to kindergarten.”