Toys, childcare: when parents opt for rental

FIGARO TOMORROW – To avoid accumulating, to save space or for ecological reasons, the rental business is developing and gaining followers among parents.

“When I got pregnant with my third child, with my husband, we said to ourselves that we didn’t want to have things everywhere that we didn’t use as for the first two”, remembers Laureen. While she must dive back into the tedious and expensive purchase of childcare equipment, she discovers the startup Manny. Strollers, portages, deckchairs, or even baby beds … all items are available for hire for a period of one to six months.

A godsend for Laureen and her husband who have opted for a “co-sleeping” bed, a deckchair and a high chair. “I knew I would get out of bed after six months so I didn’t want to pay a crazy amount in such a product”, she explains. Regarding the transatlantic, she finally thinks of sending it back, seeing little use in it. The offer is non-binding, the 33-year-old mother can return it before the end of the six-month rental period. “That’s the advantage. Childcare equipment is expensive and we take the risk of buying something that will not be useful to us and that we will then have to resell ”. It is from this observation that Manny was born, created last July by Floriana and Olivier Lapommeray, parents of three children. “The products we offer are often the ones you buy during pregnancy and it is sometimes difficult to know what you will need after the baby is born. We can make a mistake and choose something that does not suit us “, explains Floriana.

The couple obtained their supplies directly from French brands in order to offer “New and quality products” and each item is “Cleaned and checked between each rental”, comments Olivier. For two years, they can be rented before being donated to associations or resold second-hand. “The goal is to constantly have recent and modern products”, he adds.

Bring novelty

Floriana and Olivier are not the only ones to have embarked on this new business. Petite Marelle, a company created two and a half years ago by Adrien Valentin and Baptiste Hasbrouck, allows parents to have a box containing five to fifteen toys. Every month, they can choose to stop their subscription, change certain toys or keep them for an additional month. If you fall in love, it is also possible to buy them at a reduced price. Intended for children aged 0 to 8 years, Petite Hopscotch offers board games, awakening, construction, or motor skills mainly in wood, natural rubber or recyclable cardboard. “By becoming a dad or uncle, we have noticed that children grow up quickly and constantly need to be stimulated. They quickly tire of toys that pile up unnecessarily. We therefore wanted to create a concept that brings novelty and simplifies the life of parents.», Details Adrien Valentin who also emphasizes the ecological dimension of the rental. This is essential for Sophie Pin and Audrey Bernard, founder of Petit Sioux, which also offers toy boxes for hire for one, two or three children aged 0 to 4. “We wanted to do something useful for society and the planet and contribute to changes in consumption patterns», Testifies Sophie Pin.

Complete but not replace

There is also a financial argument, assures Adrien Valentin de Petite Marelle. “We wanted to create an offer that is accessible to all and not more expensive than the purchase», He specifies. According to a Yougov study carried out for the Cashback and Poulpeo discounts site cited by LSA, the average French budget for games and toys is 237 euros per year and reaches 258 euros for a family with two children. The boxing of five toys offered by Petite Marelle comes back to 234 euros per year. The one proposed for a child by Petit Sioux costs between 120 and 240 euros, depending on the age and 360 euros for a boxing intended for 2 to 3 children.

However, it is difficult for some parents to limit themselves to toys offered for rent. “They complement those we already buy for our daughter», Testifies Anne-Laure, follower of the Petit Sioux boxing for a year and a half. If she says she is totally seduced by the concept, especially for its ecological dimension, she admits that she does not want to limit herself to the products received every month: “It allows us to make discoveries and not to accumulate too much. But I would find it a little hard not to buy any toys for my daughter“. Like her, Laureen, who rents childcare equipment from Manny, does not claim to be a financial winner. “As I rent the products over six months, at the end of the rental I would have paid their purchase value but that allowed me on the one hand to spread the payments over six months and if I want to return an item before the end of the rental, I would only have paid for the time of its use», She nuances.

A booming market

Parents also benefit from a breakage and wear guarantee included in the price. “But this happens very rarely”, assures Adrien Valentin. According to him, only 1% of the toys made available by Petite Marelle came back to them unusable. In total, the young company has already rented 50,000 items. From around twenty boxes in its early days, it has grown to around 350 sent each month, favored in particular by the health crisis and the closure of schools and nurseries. “We have found our economic model which allows us to be profitable and develop our turnover”, says the co-founder of the company, which has just signed a partnership with the Cultura brand. “Many rental initiatives are even emerging in sectors other than toys. We are convinced that this will last and even accelerate ”, he adds. Si Petit Sioux and Manny, for their part, are still “growth” and hope to quickly achieve profitability, all share this same optimism and rely on word of mouth to make new rental followers.


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