Mar 21 2011
TOYconomy became more of what we might call TOYrecession. Its service no longer appears available. We’ll always fondly and kindly remember the laughter they shared with us. Along with the joy and love. Thank you for reminding us of a time when life was simple, life was young. Fair well TC.
Kids can be a fickle bunch. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. I’d, say, give a friend’s kid a new toy, and he’d be excited for about, oh, thirty seconds. He’d play with it, and then within four minutes his interest would wane. By minute six, he moved on to a new toy entirely, leaving me bewildered and feeling like a failure.
Makes you wonder: you can rent everything else in this world – DVDs, cars, houses – why not toys? Well, my wonderment has been answered by TOYconomy. It’s a very cool toy rental and exchange site- a virtual toy store online.
TOYconomy works because last I checked, toys aren’t free. And in today’s day and age, any little bit of financial belt-tightening is a good thing. In other words, by allowing you to rent toys, rather than buy them – and let’s be honest, they’ll be either obsolete or completely ignored within six months – you save money. And that’s a good thing.
TOYconomy’s premise is simple: Add products to your cart, checkout through Paypal, receive your toys, and return them. Sound familiar? If it does, it’s because it’s the same business model of every other provider that rents out stuff. So there’s nothing to “learn” here – pure muscle memory!
The home page immediately grabs you. Towards the bottom, it features three new products, each with a short blurb – including the applicable age group, which is nice – plus price and the “Add to Cart” button. When you click on “More details” for a toy, you get precisely that. What’s of particular interest is that you can see both the rental and retail prices. I quickly realized that we’re talking some serious deals here.
At the bottom of the “Toy Details,” you can select a rental period – 30, 60, or 90 days. The latter two options have additional costs built in, and justifiably so. But let’s look at a toy called Melissa and Doug Classic Chess Game. The retail price is $29.99. I can rent it for 30 days for a mere $7.49, 60 days for $8.99, or 90 days for $10.49. Do the math! That’s a great deal!
It gets better. TOYconomy also provides themed party rental packages, where you can get a bunch of similar toys for birthdays, weddings, corporate events, or more. The themes are great: Ahoy! Pirate Play, A Royal Ball, and Let’s Bake! All party rental packages include delivery, set up, and take down. This will be a complete smash for any kid’s birthday party, and one big (and affordable) sigh of relief for the parents – hours and hours of planning avoided.
TOYconomy’s Buy Now, Trade Later option is also tremendously family-finance-friendly. They understand families’ need to buy toys, but as I alluded to earlier, the kids may not attach to them. If you’re Sigmund Freud, you may feel that this lack of attachment is not a bad thing. But if you’re a parent, it can get costly. Well, fear not: if no attachment occurs, you can simply trade in the toy and try something new in its place. Easy.
All in all, TOYconomy synthesizes a bunch of principles that constitute a fantastic start-up: a great cause, a wonderful and familiar business model, and a model that saves families money. Its Buy Now, Trade Later option is particularly unique and will undoubtedly be of great benefit to parents, while its party rental packages are just plain cool.
Thinking of the latter, I can’t help but imagine a room full of “suits” dressed as pirates for some “team-building” exercise…hitting the rum-spiked punch, engaging in mildly dangerous sword-play, and slowly losing their inhibitions.
It’s true: with the help of TOYconomy, even the most hung-up, boring corporate HR person can find their inner child-pirate!!