Renting toys! Think of all the advantages: no toys to clutter your home, once your kids are done playing with certain toys, you can take them back and choose new ones. We had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth, the founder of Toylend USA – a toy renting company, the first in the Twin Cities – and she was very nice to take the time and present her business to our readers.
My name is Elizabeth Wilcox. I came to the Twin Cities from China more than 12 years ago and have stayed here ever since! I went to the University of Minnesota and spent a decade there before I got my doctorate in Evaluation Studies from the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. During those 10 years, I took a 3 year sabbatical from study and worked as a founding first grade Chinese immersion teacher in Minnetonka Public Schools. I have been teaching for my entire professional life. I joke that my career is “going down” because I started teaching college students, then middle school and high school students, and later elementary students. Now I am running this toys and baby gear rental business for little kids from birth to five years old! I love to interact with my students. I love to communicate and stay connected with their parents. I love my career. I will always, first and foremost, be a teacher, or “Laoshi” as it is called in Chinese.
I started this toys and baby gear rental service while raising my own daughter. She is now 2 years old. When I was a new mom, I kept buying brand-new toys and baby gear for her. I soon learned how quickly she outgrew her toys. She always needed something new to keep her interested. As she has grown I have found that she needs toys and gear that are age and developmentally appropriate: from colors and sounds, to singing and moving, to riding and building, and so on. I didn’t think that it made sense for me to keep buying her new toys and gear when she would outgrow them so quickly. I thought about how many items I had bought that were no longer being used and could be shared. I realized many families have been down on the same path. I thought “why don’t we rent from each other?” That is how the Toylend idea came to me. At Toylend USA, we want to use the toys and baby gear that are not currently being used and could be shared among families, so that young children can access a variety of toys and baby gear at a fraction of the cost.
To use Toylend’s rental service, there are six simple steps: (1) Reserve your toys and baby gear online or contact us via email or phone, (2) we send you a confirmation via email with delivery date and time, (3) we deliver the toys and baby gear to your home, (4) enjoy the toys and baby gear for the rental period you choose, (5) close to the end of the rental period, we will send you a pick-up reminder to arrange pick-up date and time, and (6) toys and baby gear will be picked up from your home at the scheduled time. The rental periods start on the 1st and the 15th of each month. The rental period is usually one month, except for travel items, which are rented on case-by-case basis. If you have any question on how the rental works, you are welcome to check out the detailed information here .
You don’t need a membership to reserve toys and baby gear at Toylend. But members of Toylend enjoy additional benefits (e.g., free delivery and pick up, 50% off of the same toy or baby gear for subsequent months, the ability to rent or sell through us, and discounted rates for classes, etc.). There are two kinds of memberships: Toylender Club Membership and Toylender Club Rewards Membership. The Toylender Club Rewards members enjoy $10.00 cash back for every $100.00 spent on toys and baby gear rental, and one free birthday party rental of up to 5 toys. To find more information on the memberships, please visit our website .
At the end of 2014, Toylend set up a private playhouse, called Playlend. Playlend is a totally private playhouse. That is to say, if you reserve it, it will be yours, with a few of your friends too, to use for the time period you reserve. Playlend is a converted two-bedroom-townhome, and has a gross motor room, two learning rooms, a reading nook, a full kitchen, and two bathrooms. Recently we have also been hosting Toylend’s monthly rental parties at Playlend. The Toylend monthly rental party is usually on the last Saturday of each month.
We have also recently added a “Toyscription” option to our services. Toyscription is a monthly toy subscription service. For $25.00 each month, your child will receive 2-4 new rental toys each month, which have retail value up to $250.00. Toyscription subscribers enjoy free delivery and pick up. Upon signing up, you will be asked to provide your child’s birthday. Your child will receive developmentally appropriate, high quality toys that encourage creativity and physical activity. For those who have 2 or more children under 5 who need different toys, we will work out an individual package for them.
Finally, Toylend shares practical advice and research-backed tips on parenting, and offers fun classes taught by parents with unique talents for other parents and young children. At Toylend, we believe that every parent has unique talents to share, from story-telling to foreign languages, from couponing to teaching yoga. In addition, Toylend is rolling out educational classes for preschoolers. We have partnered with Dr. Melheim, founder of RICH Learning to develop and pilot a series of RICH Learning classes for preschoolers with music, dance, stories, and arts. RICH Learning is brain-based learning on arts-based platforms. RICH stands for Recognize, Identify, Comprehend, and Harness. RICH learning studies the psychology, sociology, and neurology of early learning and applies music, dance, play, and art at the core of all of its methods, models and materials. Being an educator for over 15 years, I couldn’t be more excited about this highly engaging curriculum for our young learners!
I hope more and more families will get to know the Toylend ideas. I hope more and more families will join Toylend to rent toys and baby gear to and from each other, to enjoy active play, and to learn. Rent. Play. Learn.
I want to thank Non-Toy Gifts for giving me the opportunity to write this guest post.
Dr. Elizabeth Wilcox
Founder and Owner
Toylend USA LLC