An Irish mother who was pregnant when she brainstormed an innovative toy rental scheme has launched an environmentally friendly way of helping children switch toys.
enel Sanders (35), from Bandon, Co Cork, was living in Dubai with her husband, Didier (39) and expecting their first child, Orlando, now aged two, when she came up with the plan.
“I was pregnant with Orlando when the idea to create a toy rental club came to me,” Ms Sanders said.
“When you bring new life into the world, you start to see the lifestyle and environment that you live in through a new lens.
“I became more eco-conscious than ever, especially when it came to choosing everyday essentials like nappies, wipes and baby clothing.
“Then I looked at the expense of toys, their value to a child’s learning and development and their impact on the environment.”
The Sanders, co-founders of Clever Tots Toy Club, are now renting toys suitable for children aged from three months to three years old.
A monthly toy box delivery includes a set of four toys, replaced each month.
Ms Sanders said: “The whole premise is to provide a more sustainable way for caregivers and children to enjoy their toys within the home environment.
“We believe membership and support will inspire parents to spend even more quality pockets of time playing with their young children.”
Rental is €39.99 a month, with discounts for purchases of three, six and 12-month memberships, which could result in an average saving of €60 a month, in comparison to if parents had bought the toys, the company claims.
The start-up said it is prepared for the situation where children become particularly attached to a toy and will allow parents buy the item at a discounted rate.
Ms Sanders said she realised how important it was for families to have the choice of buying a favourite item, after witnessing Orlando grow attached to a toy in Dubai.
“Thankfully, when he did get attached to a recycled plastic fire truck, I was able to keep it for a small additional sum of money,” she said.
“We’ve worked this into our model for Clever Tots Toy Club too, as we know that occasionally children won’t be able to understand that a toy has to go back in order to be shared with another child.
“Although this can be a good learning opportunity for them as they get older.”
Charges can also be incurred if a toy or toy part is lost.
Ms Sanders had joined a toy rental club in Dubai and for the period between Orlando hitting six months old and celebrating his first birthday, the family received a box of toys every month.
She decided to bring the idea to Ireland and offer the initiative to parents who are concerned about the environmental cost of consumerism. The couple moved back to Cork at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She believes her company is the perfect go-to service
for parents who do not have the storage space for lots of toys. The company also provides a membership service to allow customers to tap into online and video resources which are designed to support children’s development.
See Clevertots.ie for more information.