Ian Coffey, of Alabany, N.Y., speaks with spectators during round 3rd of Brick Factor at the Boston Public Library. (Jeremiah Robinson / Metro)
Toy rental company Pley is laying down Lego foundations for global expansion. The US-based startup — dubbed the “Netflix for Lego” — is growing brick-by-brick after receiving millions in investment.
Mother of two, Elina Furman, set up the company to cut the cost and clutter caused by children’s rapid consumption of toys. The 15,000 members of Pley can rent and receive door-to-door delivery from a choice of thousands of Lego sets for a fee between $15 and $39.
The founder explains why this venture is providing the educational building blocks for the future.
When did you see the gap in the market? Eighteen months ago I had an avalanche of toys because of my other job as “A-List Mom” (children’s advice and ideas website). I thought how can I manage this and reduce our footprint and at the same time give children access to educational toys rather than just cluttering our lives. So I started looking for an opportunity to rent.
What are you trying to teach children? I’m moving away from the old consumer model based on material possessions and creating a community based on a sharing experience. Children have the responsibility of separating bricks, checking all the pieces are included and thinking about their ecological footprint. Also, parents want to get their children into Lego because of the cognitive and spatial awareness skills that can be gained by playing with the toy. We see ourselves as not just a rental service but a company that will develop a platform for renting educational toys and leveraging the sharing economy.
Is this as much a green issue as a money-spinner for you? Yes. We’re saving an immense amount of waste: 200 pounds of EVF plastic and reduced CO2 by 3.9 million pounds. On average, one subscription saves one tree over the course of a membership.
Are you affiliated with Lego? We’re not affiliated with them. However, we’ve increased brand awareness for Lego. We’re looking to expand into STEM (science, technology education and mathematics) products such as LittleBits, Plus-Plus and Playmobil but not necessarily things like Barbie because we want toys that will inspire children’s imaginations.