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Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed according to the law of conservation of mass, but this principle does not only concern chemical reactions. In fact, it seems that the world of toys is experiencing a phase of change, or rather of adaptation to the new demands of the market, such as greater environmental sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of the product, but also of lighter and more efficient business models in line with a rapidly growing society. In this article we return to talk about this topic (if you missed the last article, you can find it here) and we present you a sustainable service in the toy market.

When we talk about toy market demands, we mainly mean all those needs or elements that parents evaluate during the purchase phase and that lead to choose one product instead of another. Parents have changed, the new generations of mothers and fathers are millennials and of course the purchasing factors are no longer (only) aesthetic or economic but also take into account the environmental impact or flexible economic models, different from those traditionally used up to now. This is because new fathers and new mothers have grown up hearing about the sharing economy and, even if they are not directly interested in the topic, they are surrounded by it in everyday life so they consider it normal to move around the city with a car just parked by a stranger or to spend the holidays in an apartment normally peopled by someone else.

If we exclude ‘informal’ exchanges between relatives or friends, this business model had not yet been applied to toys, until the arrival of Whirli, a sustainable service in the toy market. Whirli buys the games directly from the manufacturers, like any traditional store, but instead of selling them to the end customer, it activates a loan mechanism. Any toy now forgotten by the child can be returned to Whirli and exchanged for something new, creating a winning system for everyone. In fact, parents will save on the purchase of a new product and children will still have a new toy to grow up with. But let’s go into the details of the experience of using this service. The first step is registration, by choosing a plan you are entitled to a certain number of Whirli Tokens to spend; With these tokens, you can choose various toys from the site, which will arrive directly at the subscriber’s home.

Once received, the child can play as long as s/he wants, once the nine-month threshold is passed, the toy becomes his/her. However, it is rare for a child to become viscerally attached to all his/her games, in fact most of them often have a very short life, so parents can send back those that are less interesting for him/her. For each toy returned, the subscriber receives the equivalent number of Whirli Tokens to be spent again on the platform. The products return to Whirli where they are sterilized and prepared for a new life, in a virtuous cycle that ensures reliability, convenience and hygiene.

Whirli was founded in 2018 in England, and has captured the interest of investors precisely for its different approach to the market, openly aimed at the new generation of parents. The business model earned the company a € 4.3 million investment round, and it is interesting to read the words of Rebecca Hunt, investor of Octopus Ventures, which go straight to the point:

“The toy market is huge, but it remains mostly stuck in the dark ages of e-commerce 1.0 and offline retail. We believe there is a real opportunity for a new entrant like Whirli to disrupt with a new approach. What’s particularly exciting is that Whirli is good for parents and the planet. By enabling parents to ‘borrow’ only the toys they need for their children’s current life stage they avoid the clutter and expense of toy ownership, while the planet benefits from removing the toxic cycle of cheap plastic toys being purchased which then end up in landfill.

Finally, the brand image reflects the identity of the company in a dynamic, fun and extremely clear way; It is designed by Ragged Edge studio, which developed all the touchpoints of the service, from naming to packaging, from the website to the social pages, it is worth investigating all the achievements on their site. Whirli, in addition to being useful and innovative, is a sustainable service in the toy market; for now it is only active in England but we hope it can expand and be inspiring for an entire industry!

edited by Carlo Sabbatucci

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