Our core mission at Whirli is to support busy parents. For me, this has always meant providing a high level of service that is convenient, flexible, affordable, and also driven by ethical values. These principles run through Whirli today, from how our sharing economy works, to our selection of toys, and even to how we provide customer service and treat all our staff.
More recently, we stood firmly by these values and principles, and served the thousands of families in our community throughout the COVID-19 lockdown from March to July. We heavily subsidised our home collection service at the fraction of cost price, so families could continue to use our service without having to leave their homes. Our staff also navigated the crisis admirably and continued to put our community of parents first, helping all our subscribers through an extremely challenging and difficult time.
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has ravaged many businesses. While we count ourselves as relatively fortunate, we were not unscathed. Whirli is largely a founder-owned small independent business (not backed by corporates or venture capital). As with all small independent businesses across the country, we have had to adapt to huge changes as well as absorb unexpected costs. Whilst this has been possible in the short term, we now need to look ahead and strengthen our community and business so we can thrive in the long term.
We’re making small changes to our subscription plans and delivery fees to address the long term impact of COVID-19 and ensure our business can be sustainable. These changes have a small impact on individual subscribers. There are no immediate charges levied or changes to the prices for our subscription plans, but standard delivery and return fees are increasing by 50p each (£1 monthly for Delivery Booster).
These small changes will help us materially improve the experience for all subscribers in our community. It will allow us to continue investing and improving our customer experience – better toy availability, a broader range of products, further improvements to the web experience, more varied delivery options, and many more things to come. All while staying true to our mission for all our subscribers and all our staff.
Value for money
We scrutinised our changes and remain confident that Whirli still represents the best value for money, by far, when it comes to children’s toys.
Our data shows that :
Over 6 months, the average subscriber plays with 400-600 Tokens of toys (worth £400-600 RRP), representing 3-5X more than they have paid to Whirli (including all delivery and return fees).
Despite the changes announced today, all our subscribers will still continue to enjoy this unbeatable value where Whirli is always better value for money than shopping for toys, no matter how frequently you swap with us.
Here are the changes to our subscription plans and delivery fees in full detail:
Token allowance changes
There have been no changes to the price that subscribers pay for the plan. However, the maximum Token allowance for each plan has reduced slightly to the following:
Each plan continues to deliver tremendous value for money, allowing subscribers to play with toys equivalent to at least 8 times the monthly plan cost at any time. There is no need for subscribers to return any toys immediately, these changes only take effect in your next swap. There are also no changes to Swifter Swaps, so customers can continue to enjoy receiving their latest orders before returning toys and be in a period of ‘overdraft’ with toys exceeding their plan’s token allowance.
We are also now able to craft bespoke plans beyond 240 Tokens. If you need more than 240 Tokens, please do get in touch and we will be able to cater for you.
‘Keep a toy’ changes
In buying a toy to keep, we consider the amount of time you’ve borrowed the toy to ensure you never pay more than retail price.
A toy never swapped
In line with the changes to our subscription plans, you can now keep a toy forever, at no extra cost, if you have had the toy for 8 months (vs 9 months previously).
Buy a toy
When buying a toy from your toy box, we will now calculate the residual value based on 243 days (8 months) rather than 274 days (9 months).
This therefore makes it cheaper to buy a toy to keep, and is a pricing improvement for all subscribers.
Pay monthly ‘Intro period’
For new customers only
For new pay monthly subscribers only, we are increasing our introductory period from 2 months to 3 months in line with many other subscription companies. This means that you will only unlock your full Token allowance after 3 months of being with Whirli.
In token terms here’s how it plays out:
No changes for existing customers in their introductory period
This introductory period change only affects new pay monthly subscribers. All existing subscribers who are still in their 2 month introductory period are unaffected and will get all their plan’s tokens available upon completing their 2 month introductory period.
Delivery fee changes
We’ve made some changes in line with price increases received from our delivery partners.
All changes are highlighted in yellow. Our Standard Delivery and Standard Return fees have increased by 50p each, and Home Collection has increased by £1.50 (this continues to be a subsidised service priced well below market rate).
Delivery Booster has correspondingly increased by £1 per month. There have been no immediate charges, the new pricing for Delivery Booster only takes place on the next renewal of your subscription plan.
Changes to our Subscription and Gifting Terms and Conditions
We’ve made changes to the formal terms and conditions for subscriptions and gifting. These were to correspond to the changes listed above, as well and capturing new features that we’ve built since we launched Whirli in 2018.
Have any questions?
As ever, please contact us if you have any questions about any of these changes or if you need any help getting the best value possible out of your Whirli subscription. We’re always here to help.
Thank you for all the positive encouragements and continued support.
Best wishes, Nigel Phan Founder and Managing Director
This is an update to my previous post at the start of the COVID lockdown which said that Whirli was operating on reduced service levels. Read here.
It is bittersweet to celebrate our country getting over the peak of the health crisis and further easing of restrictions on the 4th of July. The past few months have had a heavy toll on the nation, with tragic losses of life and devastating economic impact, and the next few months (or years) still look extremely uncertain.
Yet, I wanted to take this moment to thank all our subscribers, our partners, and our staff. Service levels have now returned to normal – that means orders are dispatched within a day, returns are processed within a day, Live Chat is back, and other customer service enquires are dealt with within a day.
Please note, we will still be conservative on estimated delivery dates as we recognise that couriers might still be experiencing occasional delays in certain areas. We thus expect subscribers to typically receive their parcels ahead of the estimated delivery date provided on checkout.
Firstly, a massive ‘thank you’ to all our subscribers for your patience over the last few months. As a business we faced huge challenges. Our suppliers were operating with reduced capacity, some had closed temporarily, and unfortunately some also closed permanently. The delivery companies operated with unprecedented levels of demand, despite seeing higher levels of staff sickness. And we too, experienced higher than normal staff absences combined with higher rates of orders and customer enquiries.
As a result, we were unable to operate to our usually high standard at all times and we did not always get everything right but having such a wonderful subscriber base and community has made all the difference for us.
Thank you for sending in notes of gratitude, for the encouragements, and the occasional chocolate and sweet delights. Thank you for being so understanding and patient with us, as orders took longer than usual to reach you or we took longer to respond to your service enquiries.
That said, the last few weeks have given us a lot to be proud of as an organisation and community:
Due to increased demand for our service, we delivered and processed over 50% more orders and returns than we usually do – helping all our subscribers access and share toys to entertain and educate their children.
We achieved this without compromising our staff’s well-being; ensuring full sick pay, safe distance working in the warehouse, and adequate supplies of protective clothing and disinfectant. We also hired where we could to help those who are looking for jobs in this climate.
We worked closely with suppliers to reduce any impact of supply disruption, and were also mindful and supportive to their own business and personal challenges.
We on-boarded new educational brands like Learning Resources and BrainBox.
We worked with our courier partners to ensure their staff’s safety and minimise delivery delays.
We kept our home collection fees low, far below market rate, so that subscribers could take advantage of this option whilst they stayed safe at home.
We also introduced label-less home collections (no need for printing!) to make returns even more convenient.
A small but mighty business
We may be a small business but we have overcome some huge challenges. Underneath these broad accomplishments are many stories of individual achievements with colleagues going above and beyond. It’s been extremely inspiring to observe and I’d like to emphasise 2 points to my colleagues and our subscribers:
Our values only matter when we adhere to them at moments of maximum risk – it is times like these, when we stand by our principles and ways of working in the face of unprecedented challenges, that really demonstrate who we are as an organisation and what we stand for.
It’s important to start like how we mean to go on – we are a small and young company with only 24 staff in total, with not much by way of vast resources or a network that larger companies can draw from and rely upon. I hope that Whirli continues to grow to a significant venture, and I hope that we never see an event like this again in our lifetimes – but if we do, we must not forget what we managed to achieve together, when we were small and had so little.
Continuing to strengthen our business
As we move forward there is a lot to be excited about. In a few weeks, we’ll be relaunching our website – this will provide a significantly improved experience, with faster page load speeds, better navigation, and better native experience on mobile phones. Shortly after, we’ll be working on new features to help customers reserve out of stock toys, and also re-engage with new suppliers to add new toys to our range. We will continue our investments in improving the service offering and the Whirli experience for all our subscribers.
We also cannot be complacent. Our service and operations need to evolve and adapt alongside the changing consumer behaviour and economic outlook, thereby ensuring we can continue to serve subscribers in a sustainable manner. We will soon announce a few small changes to help make our business stronger, more efficient and more sustainable. This includes tackling an increase in subscribers who have a token ‘overdraft’, and our heavily subsidised delivery and collection costs. These are small changes for individual subscribers, but make a big difference overall to our sharing economy community and every subscriber’s experience. I hope that you will all be there to continue supporting us to the full, as we have been here in the last few months to support you.
As usual, we are always available to speak with you regarding any questions, concerns, or help you might need. Get in touch with my team here, and as usual if you want to speak to me directly you can always ask my team to pass you on to me.
Best wishes, Nigel Phan Founder and Managing Director
These are extremely difficult and unprecedented times. First and foremost, our thoughts are with all families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope all of you and your loved ones stay healthy and well throughout the challenging months ahead.
At Whirli, we have been weighing up how best to balance our responsibilities to our staff and their families, to our subscribers and their families, and also to the general public’s health and well-being. We recognise the mental and financial strain extended periods of home isolation and school closures will put on parents, and Whirli’s potential role in helping alleviate these concerns.
We’ve taken the decision to keep ourselves operational and to continue providing our services for families, albeit with strong precautions in place.
Warehouse operating with occasional reduced capacity
All office-based staff will work remotely for the foreseeable future. Only myself and a bare bones crew of essential staff will operate our warehouse and fulfilment operations. In this critical period, I am personally supervising our in-person operations to ensure we are not putting our staff, customers, or the public at risk.
We are guaranteeing full pay to any staff who need to self-isolate due to symptoms of illnesses, however minor or whether it is directly related to COVID-19. This is to ensure all our staff make the right decision to help prevent the spread of illness, and to support them through a challenging economic outlook.
Consequently, when the infection peaks in the UK, we are likely to have reduced capacity in our operations and in our courier networks. This might mean that your orders and returns take slightly longer than usual, or that we’re slightly slower than usual to respond to you. I kindly ask for your patience and to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to maintain our high service levels.
When COVID-19 first surfaced months ago, we immediately took steps to assess the risks and prepare ourselves. As you know, all toys have always undergone a stringent cleaning and sterilising process at Whirli before we send it on to another family to enjoy. This process varies depending on the type of toy, but always includes sterilisation either through high temperatures (e.g., plush toys in the wash) or sterilising fluids and wipes. For example, we use commercial Milton sterilising fluid which kills 99.9% of germs including the Coronavirus and is safe to use on children’s toys (Milton is regularly used in hospitals and maternity wards).
We are ensuring our warehouse is kept a clean zone, with no sick staff present and regular cleaning is undertaken. We are also enforcing regular hand washing, use of masks and gloves to reduce any contamination risk.
We assessed the risks of imported goods carrying the virus and general transmission probabilities through goods in the post. Broadly, whilst it appears that transmission is possible through contaminated surfaces, the early indication is that the virus does not survive on surfaces for very long periods. The primary source of infections have appeared to be through direct exposure to an infected person, and not through goods received from online shopping or from other countries.
Nonetheless, we have taken additional precautions to enhance our processes and all toys, whether they have just been unboxed from the manufacturer or have been returned by another customer, are thoroughly sterilised before they are sent out again.
To-door deliveries and home collection services
We will continue to offer our door delivery service, postal service and a courier collection service from your home at the normal rates. We will honour these prices as we have never believed in profiting from them. As a reminder, here is what we will continue to offer:
Transparently, we do not apply a mark-up to our pay-as-you-go rates. We are charged the same rate by Royal Mail and Parcelforce.
We also offer a Delivery Booster package and home collection service to our customers at below market rate, upon which we incur a loss.
We will continue to price our collection service at below market rate. For any customers wishing to self-isolate we encourage you to use this great service carried out by DPD.
Lastly, for any customers who are worried about general goods being delivered to your home, please get in touch. We will be more than happy to share tips on sterilising and cleaning different types of products and surfaces.
New in-home toys
In light of the recent recommendations to stay at home, we have switched our attention to purchasing more in-home toys and games that will keep families occupied. This includes buying more:
Indoor toys and Pretend Play
Family / Board games
STEM / Educational toys
As always, please send through your recommendations and we will do our best to get hold of them for you.
In these worrying times it may also be comforting to reach out to our community on Instagram and Facebook and share what you have been doing at home. We will also keep you updated by email, Insta and Facebook and send through play ideas, educational tips and cleaning techniques to keep you busy and safe.
As usual, we are always available to speak with you regarding any questions, concerns, or help you might need. Get in touch with my team here, and if you want to speak to me directly you can always ask my team to pass you on to me.
Best Wishes, Nigel Phan Founder & Managing Director
Were your kids gifted lots of toys at Christmas? How’s the house looking now? Messy? We hear you. It’s one of the reasons we created Whirli.
We spoke to lots of parents and one theme really stood out. Their children get gifted a LOT of toys at Christmas. Big ones, ones with lots of pieces, some they’re likely never to play with. Or play with just once. They’re gifted out of love and are greatly received, so you don’t want to tell friends and family not to bother. But, come January, it’s clear that some simply weren’t value for money. They take up space in your house, yet they’re not played with.
What’s the issue?
So when we created Whirli, we knew we needed to offer a gifting solution. A way in which friends and family can participate in toy swapping. We started by listing common stories:
kids like unwrapping! They don’t always appreciate a voucher.
sometimes kids receive duplicate or inappropriate gifts
parents can’t always predict what their kids will like or discard
parents wish they could spread these gifts across the year
Whirli Gifting Features
We then started feature building! The must-haves were to offer:
physical toys that can be gifted alongside a voucher
gifts that can be turned into Whirli credit and fund a subscription
gifts that can be swapped
a gift list that can be shared with friends and family
So when you think of your Whirli subscription, think how it can benefit your lifestyle across the year. How you can include friends and family, how you can cut down on waste and get the best value for money.
Next year when we ask “How’s January going?” hopefully your response will be “much better thanks!”
The other is a Whirli gift, which can be turned into £11 Whirli credit.
Why buy brand new, when you can ask friends and family to buy your children a gift through Whirli, and fund your subscription?
Whirli Gift Lists
This week we launched Gift Lists. Lists created by you and shared with friends and family. You don’t even need be a Whirli subscriber to create a gift list, you just need an account.
Friends and family can buy a toy from your list, and when your child receives the toy, it comes with a code. You can then redeem that code on the Whirli website and turn it into Whirli credit.
A £10 toy = £10 Whirli credit = one month on Toy Sack
10 x £10 toys = £100 Whirli credit = Toy Sack yearly plan.
Why buy brand new when you can get better value through Whirli?
How do I add toys to my gift list?
Log in to your account (you simply need a Whirli account, you do not need to be a subscriber)
Click on the yellow heart, next to a toy.
If on a mobile device, you’ll be offered the choice to ‘Add to Another List’ at the bottom of the screen.
You can then select which list you would like to include or exclude this toy from.
How do I view my Gift List?
To view your gift list, select ‘Favourites’ from the menu at the top of the website. You will see 2 lists, ‘Favourite Toys’ and ‘Gift List’.
How do I share my gift list?
At the top of your gift list you will see a share button which will allow you to send to your friends and family using your preferred messaging app.
What happens if a friend buys a toy from my list?
The list will update for everyone, so you don’t receive duplicate gifts.
Can my child keep the toy?
Yes. Every toy bought through your gift list comes with a code. If you redeem the code on the Whirli website, it is turned into credit and will become part of your Whirli subscription.
If you don’t redeem the code, the toy is effectively yours to keep, forever.
How do I turn my gifted toy into Whirli credit?
Each gift order comes with a code. If you redeem that code, the toy will be turned into Whirli credit and added to your account. To redeem your code, just visit our website https://whirli.com/gift and tap on ‘Redeem Gift’.
Thinking about whether to catch Toy Story 4 at the cinemas? You absolutely should! Toy Story 4 was just released in cinemas on Friday 21st June 2019, and my partner and I made plans to catch it on a Saturday night screening the following day. We thoroughly enjoyed it!
We chose a late screening for 10pm at our local cinema as it was easier to get tickets. For a late screening of a family oriented film, I thought we might even have the theatre to ourselves! I really enjoy movie trailers, so we took our seats early as usual. By the time the movie actually got going at half past, the theatre was half full – pretty decent for our local cinema mind you – and impressively most of the audience were groups or couples of young adults with no children.
Such is the power of the Toy Story franchise that first gripped myself and many others over two decades ago. Such is the power of Disney Pixar’s reputation where family friendly films are not just for the children!
Check out our favourite toys from the movie here or see all our Toy Story 4 toys. These toys are perfect for getting kids fired up for a day at the cinema, or to stir their imagination and recreate the scenes once they come home.
What do I need to know before going to see Toy Story 4?
Not much to be honest. The original Toy Story was released in 1995, and the previous instalment Toy Story 3 released in 2010. Franchises that span multiple decades always risk alienating new audiences or not paying enough homage to the fans.
In Toy Story 4, Disney Pixar managed to balance this really well. Familiar faces return with the core posse of toys in their supporting minor roles (Hamm and Rex were two of my favourites and I always crack up at their lines). It is worth remembering that in Toy Story 3, Woody and the entire group of toys have been unloved by Andy. As Andy moves for college, he gives his toys to a little young girl, Bonnie, to play with.
We’re introduced to new characters including:
Forky – a spork that comes to life when he is created to be a toy using strings for arms, sticks for feet, and googly eyes (voiced by Tony Hale)
Gabby Gabby – a doll our group encounters on their adventures (voiced by Christina Hendricks)
Ducky and Bunny – inseparable plush toys that bring family friendly dark comedy (voiced by comedic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele)
Duke Caboom – a motorbike stuntman action figure (voiced by reddit’s favourite person right now, Keanu Reeves)
Lastly, Bo Peep plays a central role in this film after not appearing at all in Toy Story 3. Bo Peep belonged to Andy’s sister, and previously it was mentioned that she was given away to other children to play with.
What should I expect for Toy Story 4?
I had high expectations going in. Toy Story 4 is scoring an astounding 98% critic approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 95% audience score. For it’s first weekend, the film grossed over $238 million world wide – and somehow this was still short of analyst’s expectations.
There’s always a risk going into a cinema with such high expectations. I couldn’t put it better than the critic consensus from Rotten Tomatoes so I’ll just leave it here:
“Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending – and perhaps concluding – a practically perfect animated saga.” — Rotten Tomatoes, Toy Story 4
What did I think of the movie? My review of Toy Story 4
I loved it. It has everything you want – humour, strong characters, teary moments, and even the occasional suspense and thrill (that caused my partner to startle once or twice).
Toy Story 4 extends the core premise of the franchise as well as explore new and modern themes. Much like Inside Out (one of my all time Pixar favourites), the themes explored in this movie appeal at different depths to all ages. For children, the complexity of Toy Story 4’s character arcs will also teach about emotions and empathy.
Bo Beep is a stand-out character for me and it is great to see her take a leading role in the film. Likewise with newcomer Gabby Gabby whose arc develops and concludes majestically in the film. It’s fantastic to see two leading female figures in this Toy Story film, as the franchise that can otherwise be dominated by leading males Woody and Buzz.
Forky provides a light-hearted, more silly and slightly slapstick character younger children will adore. Yet his existential crisis about being ‘trash’, not a ‘toy’, and how he develops from the infancy of his sentience to his persona at the end, is complex and mature.
Toy Story 4 is a wonderful film. It’s overarching plot is a relatively simple frame against which many different character arcs blossom and conclude. The movie is well paced and entertaining. It’s hard to find any fault with it!
Are there post credits scenes?
I’m a big fan of Marvel films and always stay back for the post credit scenes. With Toy Story 4, there are a few mid-credits scenes and a final post credit scenes. None of them reveal any important plot points or hint at what future movies (if any) might look like.
The mid-credits scenes are pretty hilarious and certainly worth the few minute wait. Besides, I much prefer to hang about and not rush out in a human stampede. The end credits scene gives a light chuckle, but I wouldn’t wait unless you’re a huge Pixar fan.
Just under a month more to go until Toy Story 4 hits UK cinemas on 21st June 2019. It’ll mark nearly 25 years on since the original Toy Story movie released in 1995!
I absolutely adore the Toy Story franchise. In fact, one of my favourite toys when I was younger was a Buzz Lightyear Action Figure. Complete with a full range of motion, wings that pop out, a laser pointer, and his catchphrase “To infinity… and beyond!”, this toy really captivated my imagination and went everywhere with me.
As the franchise grew over the next decades, so did my appreciation for it’s core premise. Disney Pixar have consistently delivered high quality entertainment, perfectly balancing humour (for both kids and parents), emotional moments, and meaningful messages. Toy Story’s core premise focuses on a lovable set of toys who find themselves, or rather feel themselves, getting unloved and neglected by the kid who owns them, Andy. It’s no surprise that these stories have in part inspired what we do at Whirli.
Quick Preview of Toy Story 4
The fourth installment of this franchise continues where we left off in Toy Story 3 with the toys having been given from Andy to Bonnie. Some years later, Bonnie creates a new toy in arts and crafts, named Forky. Forky suffers from a constant existential crisis about being a toy, and the rest of the toys rally together to help Forky and save him when he gets separated from Bonnie on a road trip.
With this premise, Disney Pixar have set the stage up for tonnes of nostalgia mixed in with a very modern twist, and fun new characters. This movie is sure to delight fans of the previous films and create new following amongst younger children today. Great day out for the whole family!
If you haven’t already, check out the official trailer for Toy Story 4:
Whirli’s Picks: Best Toys from Toy Story 4 movie
We were so thrilled when we received our first batch of Toy Story 4 toys a few weeks ago. Mattel have done an outstanding job with the range – as usual their dolls and action figures are top notch, and their bigger play sets would delight any kid.
Here are our top 5 toys from the Toy Story 4 movie:
Oh the memories! This Buzz Lightyear action figure is everything I remembered it to be, and then some. On top of the standard fare Buzz motions, pop out wings, and laser – Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear can also activate to walk forwards, backwards, and swivel (and there is a secretive Easter egg to make Buzz moonwalk!).
This toy was so popular that we went out of stock less than 24 hours after uploading it onto our website. So we got some more! Taking inspiration from the carnival scene, kids will really enjoy setting cars racing down the spiral track. We can see why this was so popular!
If your kids like to recreate scenes using a variety of figures then this is the perfect pack for you. Kids can let their imaginations run wild and play with 7 of the key characters from Toy Story 4. Mattel has co-branded this set under their Fisher Price Little People range as the figures are perfectly sized for toddlers, and age appropriate from 1 year+. That gets a big thumbs up from us at Whirli.
If the standard iconic and realistic figures aren’t enough to hold attentions, then try the True Talkers range of figures. Fully posable with many articulations, the True Talkers range adds many realistic voice phrases from each character. Rex is one of my favourite characters, as I just love his comedic relief moments in the films!
Not going to lie… we had A LOT of fun with this at the office. The Aliens are probably the most adorable and cute characters in the franchise, with such an iconic scene in the original movie (“the claawww….!”). Get one and have hours of fun at home, or get a couple and try to have a business meeting in alien voice. Trust us on that one.
Whirli’s report on toy waste in 2021 is here! 1000 parents from across the UK reveal how much they spent on unwanted toys in Christmas and throughout the year in 2021.
It’s been a month since Christmas and it’s time for the moment of truth: how much did we spend on Christmas toys for our kids this year, and how many of those toys will go to waste?
Just over two weeks after Christmas, we surveyed 1000 UK-based parents of 0-8-year-olds to learn more about toy waste following the festive season, and throughout the year in 2021.
We conducted the same research in 2019, so we were particularly interested to see what, if anything, had changed since then. As you might imagine in a world that has seen considerable change in the past two years, the results pointed to some significant shifts in our consumption habits.
Here’s what we learned.
On average, each child received toys worth £750 for their birthday and Christmas in 2021
The estimated toy spend per child has gone up significantly since we conducted the same research in 2019. It isn’t hard to understand why: with kids spending far more time at home during the pandemic, it’s only natural that parents would spend more on ways to keep them entertained.
On average, parents estimated that each child received 22 toys throughout the course of 2021, coming in at a total value of £750 (which works out at £32 per toy).
Parents themselves spend an average of £430 on toys for each of their children, breaking down to £180 on birthdays and £250 on Christmas. They estimated that friends and relatives combined spent around £150 on birthdays and £170 on Christmas for each of their children.
Over half of parents say that one of more of the toys gifted to their child was unwanted
Of the average figure of 22 toys each child received in 2021, only 43% of parents said that all of them were wanted. 57% of parents said that one or more of the toys gifted to their child was unwanted for the following reasons:
The toy wasn’t age appropriate
The toy was a duplicate (i.e. the child already had this toy)
The child didn’t like the toy
The toy did not fit the parents’ ideals or ethics
The toy was too gender stereotyped
We’re already visualising all that clutter (and garish pink plastic) piling up, and we haven’t even got to the most shocking part of our toy waste report…
In the UK, an estimated 25 million Christmas toys are neglected by the end of January
Parents estimated that each of their children received an average of 14 toys under the tree this Christmas. Yet a sizeable 26% of these toys are already neglected by the end of January. This rises to 40% three months after Christmas, and 66% by summer. What’s more, 13% of these toys are never played with. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
In the UK, over 120 million toys are neglected over a year
When we look at the year as a whole, over 120 million toys are neglected across the UK. Shockingly, parents confessed that of all their children’s toys, nearly 20% had been neglected in days and nearly 10% were neglected within a matter of hours. After one year, 77% of toys were estimated to have been neglected, with only 23% still being played with by their children.
Pretty staggering, isn’t it? Which might leave you wondering…
How can we spend less and waste less in 2022?
From our research, we’ve seen that an incredible amount of money is wasted on toys. On top of that, toy waste has some big implications on our lives and livelihoods. Not only is it a pain in the neck (quite literally, if you trip over them!) to have so many toys cluttering up our homes, but it also ramps up plastic production and waste in landfill – two things most of us strive to reduce in order to build a better future for our children.
At Whirli, we’re on a mission to transform toy consumption by swapping instead of shopping. Our business is built on the circular economy, creating a shared library of toys that parents and children can borrow and return whenever they want.
When you sign up for a Whirli subscription, you’re given a token allowance that lets you rent toys from our library of over 1000 must-haves. You can choose toys to be delivered to your door and keep them for as long as you like (including forever, if you have the toy long enough or buy it back from us at a discounted price). Once a toy is no longer loved, you can simply return it to Whirli for another child to enjoy, then swap it for something “new”.
Tokens let you borrow toys worth four times as much as what you pay, meaning parents have saved thousands of pounds renting with Whirli. And for that percentage of toys that are neglected within a few months, days or hours? Our swapping service eradicates the problem of toy waste by letting you return them.
Join us today to get more for your money, cut down on clutter and “shop” more sustainably. Who knows? If more of us start borrowing rather than buying, our next round of research could look very different indeed.
Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of toys that go to waste in your home? You’re not alone. Check out these surprising statistics on toy neglect and learn how to reduce waste in 2022.
The holidays are a time for treating ourselves and the people we love, which is all part of the magic of Christmas. However, come January, a lot of us begin to feel uneasy about all that indulgence and excess, vowing to make some changes for the year ahead.
If you’re a parent, there’s one thing in particular that’s likely to be on your mind — and coming out of your ears — right now: toys. Naturally, toys are a go-to present for kids at Christmastime. However, there are only so many storage bins you can squeeze into your home, and only so many toys that can hold your little ones’ attention. The result? Unwanted and unloved toys…everywhere!
Not only does the clutter drive you mad, but it’s also a huge waste of time, money and energy to buy toys that don’t get played with. On top of this, unwanted toys tend to end up in the landfill, which, considering how many toys are made from plastic, isn’t good for the environment at all.
The problem is, most of us don’t think about toy clutter until it’s staring us in the face. As with many other aspects of parenting, we’re not prepared for it! So at Whirli, we’re on a mission to raise awareness about toy neglect and improve playtime for everyone.
We’re passionate about the circular economy and zero waste living, so we decided to ring in the new year with some tips to help your family live more sustainably in 2022. Before we get to those, let’s look at the facts around toy neglect.
10 facts about toy neglect
We interviewed over 2000 parents to better understand our habits around toy consumption. Here’s what we learned about the realities of toy neglect.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of parents think their kids have too many toys. We spend a lot of money on toys, and the clutter is piling up as a result.
69% of parents say that their children have too many toys.
Parents estimate that they spend an average of £250 per child throughout the year on toys, and children receive over 30 toys each year. On average, parents will spend up to £25 on a toy as a gift for someone else’s child.
77% of parents say that toys are cluttering up their homes. 1 in 7 parents feel this toy clutter is out of control.
The reason this feels wasteful is because most of these toys either don’t get played with at all, or they’re quickly forgotten about — and the following stats probably will surprise you.
In total, 61% of children’s toys are un-played with. That’s 27 toys going neglected at any given time.
On average, 35% of toys are neglected or forgotten within a month.
Parents estimate that 15% of toys their kids receive for Christmas are neglected within a matter of days. Within one month, this increases to 23%, then 50% within 6 months.
So why do so many toys go to waste? Part of the problem is other people getting it wrong, but even parents struggle to choose toys their own kids will like.
The most common reason for unwanted gifted toys is gender stereotyping. More than a quarter received 6 presents of this kind in a year.
71% of parents choose toys based on their or their partner’s taste, rather than their child’s.
Lastly, we all feel that something’s got to change; we’re wasting our money and harming the planet through our toy consumption habits.
56% of parents think high street prices for toys are too high.
52% feel packaging for toys is excessive.
So what can we do to reduce waste?
Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. A new year is the perfect time to reassess our values and kickstart new habits. Luckily, there are plenty of ways parents can stop toy neglect, save money, cut down on clutter and reduce waste.
This mindset goes far beyond toys, so we’ve also included other areas of life where you can make meaningful changes. To make sure you’re off to a flying start, we’ve partnered with four of our favourite waste warriors to bring you some exclusive offers.
3 ways to reduce waste in 2022
Toys: swapping is the new shopping
As we’ve seen, constantly buying your children new toys creates an endless cycle of wasted money and clutter. To break the chain, choose swapping over shopping.
We created Whirli as an affordable and sustainable alternative to owning toys. When you become a subscriber, you get access to our library of over 1000 must-have toys. Your subscription plan will give you a token allowance that lets you borrow toys for however long you like, then send them back and swap them for something else if your child loses interest.
Not only can you cut down on toy clutter, but you also get to play with toys you might not be able to buy at retail price, with lots of guidance on the best toys for your age group. If your child doesn’t like a toy, somebody else’s child will, and no one wastes any money or sends more plastic to the landfill. A win-win all round!
Kids grow at an alarming rate, so in addition to toys, they go through clothes like there’s no tomorrow. Keeping up with their wardrobe needs can take a toll on your wallet, and then there’s the environmental impact of fast fashion.
The good news is that we’re now seeing a rise in thoughtful brands who are on a mission to reduce waste.
Babies outgrow seven clothing sizes in their first two years — that’s pretty alarming when you consider that just one babygrow takes 250 litres of water and 2kg of carbon emissions to produce. A study found that 180 million pieces of outgrown baby clothing are cluttering up UK homes, and first time parents spend an average of £997 on baby clothes in the first year alone.
This is where renting, rather than buying, saves the day once again. For parents with very little ones, Bundlee is a subscription service that lets you rent your baby’s wardrobe and swap clothes as they grow. Their model saves 86% of the CO2 and 96% of the water usage in comparison to buying new baby clothes (and saves you money too!).
Then there’s Dotte, the UK’s first fully circular marketplace for kids clothing. Their goal is to overcome the toxic addiction that is fast fashion.
As humans, our brains are hardwired to seek out the newest, shiniest thing. This typically looks like a trip to the high street or a quick ‘add to basket’ moment. But the reality of all that newness is pretty bleak.
In the UK, the carbon footprint of new clothes bought every minute is greater than driving a car around the world six times (Source: Oxfam). It’s also estimated that more than 50% of fast fashion is chucked in the bin in under a year (Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation).
When there’s already so many great clothes that have already been made (and loved), Dotte suggests shopping “new to you”. With shopping second hand, you get that immediate pleasure of bagging a bargain, without the long term guilt.
What’s more, reseller platforms offer the missing ingredient in online shopping for fast fashion: connection. Finding a community of like-minded people brings the human emotion (the joy!) back to shopping.
Kick your fast fashion habit today and discover something “new to you” on Dotte. You can get £5 cashback on your first purchase, when you sign up using our exclusive discount code.
Food: go zero waste
Food production and food waste play a huge role in climate change — something, as parents, we feel increasingly worried by. However, trying to shop ethically and sustainably in the average supermarket is difficult. Let’s face it, poring over every ingredient list or working out which product has the least packaging ain’t easy when you’ve got a screaming toddler strapped into your trolley.
That’s where Good Club, the online zero and low waste grocery store, does the legwork for you. Their mission is to help everyone live more sustainably, by providing carefully sourced groceries and household items straight to your door.
Their zero waste products are delivered in returnable, reusable and BPA-free pots inside a returnable, reusable box, completely cutting out single-use plastic and packaging. With 350+ of zero waste items and 250+ lightly packaged products, you can get all of your household staples with carbon-neutral delivery and collection — helping you reduce waste, and cut down on plastic and CO2.
Try Good Club
Get £15 off your first order when you sign up to Good Club using the code below before 31st July 2022.
When it comes to making sure your family gets their five a day, Oddbox is another fantastic option to fill your belly and save the planet. Over 40% of all food grown goes uneaten, wasting a huge amount of CO2 and water in the process.
Oddbox rescues delicious, fresh fruit and veg that may otherwise have gone to waste. They pick it up directly from farmers, then deliver it to your front door in a weekly or fortnightly subscription.
If you want to reduce your impact on the planet by taking action on food waste, join Oddbox’s mission and get 50% off your first box using the code below at checkout (offer ends 31st March 2022).
One step at a time
Of course, we’re just scratching the surface of all the different ways we can reduce waste in our daily lives. However, it’s important to remember that you’re only human, and you’re just one person.
When trying to live more sustainably, it helps to focus on one or two areas of your life and make small, incremental changes that all add up in the long run.
We hope that this guide will give you the inspiration you need to live that little bit greener in 2022. As always, we’d love to get your opinions and perspectives.
What changes are you making for the New Year and how does your family do its bit for the planet? Our email inbox and DMs are open.
As 2021 draws to a close, Whirli Founder and Managing Director, Nigel Phan, reflects on what we’ve achieved in the past year, and what’s next for 2022.
I can’t quite believe another year has passed — and what a year it has been. 2021 gave us fresh hope and a return to some semblance of normality. At Whirli HQ, we’ve been grateful to be able to spend time with our colleagues, friends and family again, and see our customers do the same.
The year hasn’t been without its own twists and turns, and it’s closing off with renewed uncertainty over future restrictions and lockdowns. As preparations for the worst keep us busy, it’s easy to focus on the negative and forget all the progress and how far we have come as a team and community.
I wanted to take a moment to share my reflections on the year we have had. I also wanted to thank you all for your support, your kind words of encouragement, and the role every one of you plays in giving us at Whirli continued vigor to overcome challenges and pursue our mission.
In order to deliver on that, we welcomed many new colleagues to our team including a Category Manager (Natalie) who manages our range/stock, a Head of Operations (Craig) who handles all fulfilment logistics in our circular economy, a Head of Product (Katie) who oversees our customer experience and new features on our website, and many many more.
I couldn’t be prouder of what our expanded team has achieved this year; every individual in our team has made important contributions to your Whirli experience as a customer. I’m also very thankful on a personal level, as I used to do what are now Natalie, Craig and Katie’s responsibilities, and I never had enough hours in the day to do the best we could for you.
A few key highlights of the year include:
Opening our new warehouse in July, which gave us 4-5X more space for toys and improved processes
Over the summer, we said goodbye to the rail arches at Bethnal Green, London, which had housed our office and warehouse for nearly three years. We moved half an hour eastward to our new location in Rainham, where there is plenty of large warehousing space for us to grow into. Our new home has allowed us to fully retain our existing team and provide a comfortable workplace environment for them.
It didn’t take us long to make full use of this space! Over the second half of the year, we added more than 200 new product lines to our library, including new brands and licenses like Strider, Green Toys, Tender Leaf, Bluey, Classic World, and HABA. We still have a lot more to come, and our focus continues to be on selecting high quality products that provide a fun and learning-rich experience for your child.
We also improved our core operations processes to ensure a consistently delightful unboxing experience for our customers. This included a review of our supplies and, thanks to our work with Sourceful, Whirli’s packaging is now 100% recyclable and sourced sustainably.
Launching our learning through play framework and other improvements to the Whirli website experience
We pored over research and worked with experts to craft a learning through play framework that is holistic. This framework is now one of the primary lenses we use in selecting products to ensure we offer a wide range of opportunities for your child, and we hope to go further in helping parents navigate early years child development.
Early in the year, we also launched the ability for customers to rate their experience with each individual toy they have borrowed. As always, customer feedback remains a crucial input to our product selection. Importantly, I think it also helps other customers in the community decide what products they might want to borrow — so thank you for tapping on those stars and sharing your thoughts!
More recently, we have started integrating with our couriers to provide better delivery communications and order tracking. There have been some delays and teething issues (transparently, the couriers’ technologies aren’t the easiest to work with), but bear with us and you’ll soon see this making it easier and more convenient for you to manage your swaps.
Seeing all the Christmas buzz and customers talking about Whirli so enthusiastically
In the last couple of weeks, we were so proud to see ourselves featured across major websites, newspapers, radio, and TV programmes. There is certainly a lot of growing attention on the climate crisis and sustainability following COP26 in Glasgow, and it’s so good to be recognised for the work we’re doing in this space.
We literally couldn’t have done this with you. Thank you to a few kind customers who were more than happy to share their Whirli stories with the press at short notice. You can read and listen to stories from Natasha, Patsy and Jen, not forgetting customers like Sarah, who got us in print.
Not to dwell on this too much, but there are of course things we could have done better and things we ran out of time to do this year. Rest assured that after a short Christmas break to recharge, we will be back at it in the new year.
Looking forward to 2022 at Whirli
So, what’s next? Improving the Whirli customer experience continues to be at the forefront of our minds. Here’s what you can expect from us:
An improved experience on our website – including easier ways to manage your subscription, track your swaps and get the most value out of our service.
More curated and personalised toy discovery – helping you discover products from our library that your family will enjoy, including suggestions based on our learning through play curriculum.
Engaging and thoughtful content and guidance for parents – supporting you on your journey with expert and community contributions.
An even bigger range of products to choose from – making sure we can cater for you no matter what specific interests or needs your family might have.
Smoother delivery and returns including more innovative and frictionless ways to swap from your doorstep – further enhancing convenience so you can receive and return your toys with ease.
Thank you again
Again, we wouldn’t be here without the support of our community, who have gone above and beyond to spread the word about Whirli and get more people swapping over shopping. It’s truly inspiring to share our success with so many people who are passionate about making positive changes to the world we live in — especially in challenging times.
As always, we’d love to hear from you. Is there anything Whirli can do to improve our service and make your life easier as a parent? We’re all ears, so feel free to reach out at any time.
Struggling to find sustainable Christmas presents? Need some inspiration for eco-friendly gift wrapping? We’ve got you covered in this ultimate guide to having a green Christmas.
As a toy company, we know that Christmas is one of the most magical times of year for families with little ones. However, it’s also one of the most wasteful (and often stressful) times of year.
It’s natural to want to create special memories for your children around Christmas. You try to give them the best of the best, so you rush out to buy the latest toys to put under the tree. Yet how many times have you found those same toys forgotten under the bed come January?
According to research we conducted among parents, an estimated 23% of Christmas toys are neglected within one month. This is around five toys per child and the equivalent of 32 million toys across the UK. After three months, it’s estimated that the number of Christmas toys neglected increases to 40%.
And we adults are just as guilty of chucking away unwanted presents (no offence, Uncle Bob). Not to mention festive food waste and wrapping paper — let’s face it, it’s not fit for repeat use once a five-year-old has torn into it!
Welcome to Whirli’s Green Christmas guide
That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate Green Christmas Guide, which we’ve compiled with three things in mind:
We want to challenge the mindset that Christmas means “stuff”. We think it’s important to question our habits as consumers during the festive season, when brands are capitalising on our need for shiny objects. So we’ve included some alternative options to physical presents.
When we are giving physical gifts, we strive to reduce waste and cut down on plastic by shopping with eco-friendly brands.
By introducing our loved ones to greener alternatives to their favourite things, we hope to spread that warm and fuzzy, waste-free feeling.
Our Green Christmas Guide is packed full of ideas for sustainable gifts for kids and parents, as well as some tips to help you reduce waste during the festive season. We hope it helps you have a greener, but no less magical Christmas.
Green Christmas gifts for kids
Green Christmas gifts for parents
Ways to reduce waste this Christmas
Green Christmas gifts for kids
Borrow toys from Whirli
If you’re already a Whirli customer, Christmas is a great time to make the most of your subscription. Parents spend an average of £135-150 per child on Christmas toys — and they don’t come with a guarantee on how much your little ones will want to play with them.
So instead of trekking around the shops this Christmas, why not borrow toys from Whirli’s library? You can still give your children the toys of their dreams, but with one important difference: you can swap them for something new at any time. Plus, we’ve got toy sacks to rival Santa’s! Just make sure to order your toys before 20th December to get them in time for Christmas.
Sign up for a Whirli subscription here from £9.99 a month. Browse our toy library here.
Buy toys from Whirli
If you’re not a Whirli customer or you’d like to give a Whirli toy to someone who isn’t a customer, you can buy a toy from us rather than renting it. Just in case someone’s enthusiasm wanes (!), all gifted toys come with a gift card that can be turned into Whirli credit, ready to start swapping. They can redeem the gift card and spend the credit on a subscription, then swap the toy for something else. Otherwise, the toys can be kept forever.
For those with budding fashionistas, we love Baby Mori’s clothing ranges for babies and kids. Baby Mori combines ethically sourced, organic cotton and bamboo to make the softest fabrics, which are kind to your baby’s skin and the planet. Careful craftsmanship means their clothes are designed to last, so they can be worn and passed on again and again. For an extra special green Christmas present, check out their personalised gift range.
Catering to a slightly older age range, Eco Alf makes kids clothing from recycled PET (polyester). This reduces water consumption by 20%, energy consumption by 50%, and CO2 emissions by 60%. They also run a nonprofit organisaton called the Eco Alf Foundation. They work with the fishing industry to clean the oceans of marine waste and to give a second life to plastic waste through recycling and closing the loop. We love their slogan tees for mini eco warriors.
Wearth is an online store of curated eco-friendly and ethical brands, making it easy to shop according to your values. We love their “Gifts for little ones” edit, where you can discover lots of fun gifts for kids. Activity sets, like this seed pack by Sprinkles Creations UK, make the perfect green Christmas stocking fillers, as well as providing engaging ways for your little ones to learn about nature.
Festive bath bombs from Lush are a surefire way to make washtime fun. Lush is built on ethical business and fair trade, which includes their environmental policies. Their products are made from thoughtfully selected raw materials and natural ingredients, and their packaging is made from 90% recycled materials. We’re big fans of their cute and playful Christmas gift sets.
Speaking of splashing around, meet Rowdy Kind. They’re on a mission to create a better bathtime: better for kids’ skin and better for the planet.
Handmade in the UK using the highest quality ingredients, Rowdy Kind’s unique formulations are made specifically for kids’ sensitive skin. The range includes: the bestselling ‘Hair & Everywhere’ bars, shampoo and conditioner bars, and even a plastic-free bubble bath and moisturiser. Rowdy Kind bars are sulfate, paraben and PEG free, and perfectly pH balanced.
The entire Rowdy Kind experience is plastic free. Not only are the bars zero waste, their cleansing, conditioning and moisturising bars save two plastic bottles each. All of their ingredients are ethically sourced, cruelty free, and vegan. Plus the minimalistic shipping packaging is 100% paper and fully recyclable.
Join Rowdy Kind in raising the bath bar for the next generation and get 10% off full priced products for the month of December 2021 using the code WHIRLI10 at checkout.
Experiences are the gifts that keep on giving. Activities make for exciting and memorable presents that can give the whole family shared moments of joy. A subscription to Little Cooks is the perfect way to get kids having fun in the kitchen, teaching them about cooking and real food in the process. All of their ingredients are organic and free from refined sugars, flours and anything artificial. Packaging is compostable and recyclable, and each box bought pays for a vulnerable child in the UK to attend a Healthy Holiday Club with Feeding Britain. Bon appetit!
Gift a Little Cooks subscription here.Get 50% off their first kit using the code WHIRLI50 at checkout until 31st January 2022.
Go Ape offers treetop adventures for kids aged four and above in a range of locations across the UK. They’re on a mission to encourage everyone to live life adventurously, while being socially and environmentally responsible, and always doing the right thing. Values we can get behind! Activities like tree climbing and zip wiring can help build kids’ confidence and nurture a love of the great outdoors. Bonus points if you’re brave enough to get up there with them.
The WWF’s adopt an animal scheme makes a fantastic gift for kids. Funds go to species protection projects across the world, and your child can learn about conservation and the environment in a meaningful way. Kids get a fun welcome pack with a cuddly toy and receive updates on their animal three times a year — another gift that lasts well beyond Christmas.
It’s not just kids who benefit from Whirli! If you know any parents who could use some decluttering, money-saving and greener habits, you can buy them a Whirli gift card for your chosen amount. They can then redeem the gift card against their subscription cost. Trust us, they’ll thank you.
Bundlee’s baby clothes subscription is the perfect gift for a sustainably-minded new parent or parent-to-be. After all, babies outgrow seven clothing sizes in their first two years, and most gifted clothes are outgrown before they are even worn… but not with Bundlee! When you gift Bundlee, parents can activate their subscription whenever they are in need of clothes and, ta-dah, a set of premium baby clothes will arrive at their home. And just like magic as their little one grows, they simply swap their set for the next size up.
For kids that are a little older, thelittleloop lets you rent clothing from sustainable and organic brands. Did you know that renting instead of buying their clothes can save up to 80% of the carbon and water footprint of buying new? Not to mention all of the waste. For guilt-free Christmas presents, check out their gift cards to recruit more pioneers for the rental revolution!
Toilet paper might seem like quite a weird Christmas present. That’s until you’ve discovered Who Gives A Crap. Their mission is to ensure everyone has access to clean water and a toilet within our lifetime, and they donate 50% of their profits to make that happen. On top of that, they’re B Corp certified and make their toilet paper from bamboo, recycled and forest friendly paper.
To cut down on plastic and stay hygienic, Who Gives A Crap individually wrap each of their loo rolls. Ideal for Christmas, which is why they’ve launched a limited “give” edition featuring artist-designed patterns — not only can you gift the rolls, but you can also reuse the paper to wrap other presents.
Know someone who puts Mrs Hinch to shame? They’ll love smol, the eco-cleaning brand founded on the belief that you don’t have to sacrifice performance or spend a fortune to clean green. They designed the first 100% plastic-free packaging for laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets, and make surface sprays using refillable bottles for life. In addition to reducing plastic waste, they’re cutting down on chemicals by formulating super-concentrated products (that’s why they’re “smoller” than your average).
Signing up for a subscription is mega-flexible and mega-convenient. Just answer a few questions to determine how often you need your pack of 24 capsules delivered to your door. No contract, no commitment; you can cancel at any time.
Order a trial pack of 9 free washes for just £1 to cover the cost of the postage, then get 50% off your first pack using the code WHIRLI4 at checkout.
HERD bags are for people that need to carry stuff — whether for themselves or others! Made from recycled plastic and sturdy cotton handles, HERD bags are practical, durable and stylish. Choose from punchy designs that have been described as “the fabulous love child of Henri Matisse and Luis Barragan” (we had to Google Luis too). For each bag sold, they fund 1kg of ocean plastic clean-up.
Haven’t you heard? Single use plastic in the bathroom is over! Kankan is the body wash brand making refills mainstream. Their body washes are vegan and free from sulphates, parabens, silicone, palm oil and artificial ingredients, and scented with relaxing natural essential oils. You buy a starter kit containing a Forever Bottle, which you can fill up when you need to, using their recyclable refill cans. This year, they’ve teamed up with other brands on Christmas gift sets for every family member, friend or work Secret Santa.
Shop Kankan here. Get a free pack of Kankan Christmas cards, designed by Supermundane, with your purchase using the code WHIRLI KAN at checkout.
Perfect for new mums, Little Herbs botanical skincare is founded on the principle that we should use the natural ingredients that surround us. Their 100% organic products for mums and little ones use traditional English country garden plants, seed oils, honey and beeswax, and nothing else. Made in Frome, Somerset, all of their products come packaged in glass or lined aluminium tins, both of which can be recycled.
If you know any eco-conscious fashion lovers, a gift card from By Rotation is guaranteed to be a hit. By Rotation is a fashion rental app that lets you discover and borrow designer fashion at a fraction of the retail price. Their goal is to cut down on textile waste and transform the way we consume fashion, empowering you to do good for your wardrobe, your wallet and the planet at the same time.
Get 15% off all purchases with a minimum spend of £20 using the code WHIRLI15 at checkout.
Mouthwash might not immediately spring to mind when it comes to Christmas presents, but we love new kid on the sustainability block, Waken. Created by the founder of Bulldog Skincare, Waken provides an eco-friendlier alternative to traditional plastic- and chemical-heavy mouthwashes, toothbrushes and toothpastes. Their vegan essentials are made from botanical extracts and come in chic, reusable or recyclable packaging (their mouthwash is also carbon neutral certified). Their Christmas gift sets are the perfect stocking fillers to make someone smile. Although we advise reassuring your loved one that their breath smells fine!
Similarly, deodorant may not be your usual go-to for Christmas gifting, but Wild is another game-changer. Firstly, their all-natural deodorant formulas actually work, and come in delicious scents to make your morning underarm routine a little less boring. Secondly, they’ve cracked the sustainability code by making deodorant refillable; simply buy one of their sleek aluminium cases, then get refills delivered to your door whenever you need them.
Know The Origin prides itself on being the home of a rich selection of certified sustainable and ethical brands. Selling everything from clothing and beauty through to homeware, they’ve got a great selection of recycled wrapping paper, recycled plastic ribbon and eco-friendly paper tape, as well as Christmas cards.
Clothing brand Fat Face are encouraging mindful wrapping this year by creating shopping bags that double up as wrapping paper. Simply cut out the festive design, et voila — you’ve got yourself some wrapping paper. There’s even a section for you to cut and fold to make a tag, which is pretty neat if you ask us. Keep an eye out for other brands jumping on the trend!
Reusable cloth wraps
You may have spotted furoshiki, the art of Japanese fabric wrapping, on social media. It’s a smart and sustainable way to dress up Christmas presents, without resorting to single use wrapping. Vintage clothing brand Beyond Retro always has a great selection of preloved scarves that are perfect for wrapping, plus their staff will be on-hand if you need a quick how-to.
For families with several mouths to feed, Oddbox is a great way to get your fill of fresh fruit and veg, and do your bit to reduce global food waste. Their USP is rescuing “odd” fruit and veg straight from the farm, whether it’s ugly pears, bendy peppers or curvy cucumbers. Your Oddbox is delivered straight to your door on a weekly or fortnightly basis, cutting down the time you need to spend food shopping. A great option for sourcing ingredients for your Christmas roast, plus they do gift cards if you want to spread some wonky veg magic.
Get 50% off your first box or a gift card to the fellow food-waste fighters in your life using the code WHIRLI at checkout.
No matter how good your intentions, it’s really difficult to shop sustainably in your average supermarket — especially when it comes to Christmas with all the trimmings. Thank goodness for Good Club! They’re here to do the legwork for you, delivering zero waste and sustainable groceries that help you reduce your environmental impact. They’ve curated over 2000 eco-friendly brands on their store, 150 of which come in reusable packaging. What’s more, you can get all of your household staples with carbon-neutral delivery and collection, helping you save waste, plastic and CO2.
Use the code WHIRLIXGOODCLUB at checkout for £12 off and free delivery on your first Good Club order before 31/12/2021.
When you’re running from party to party or have spent hours slaving over the main affair, you might find yourself scratching your head over those pesky Betwixtmas meals. As a result, it’s tempting to reach for fast food, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to have a green Christmas. We recommend turning to allplants, who are revolutionising the ready meal with healthy and planet-kind plant-based recipes, delivered to your door. Stock your freezer with their tasty seasonal menu and put your feet up!
If Oddbox has got you acting the hero, wait until you try food-waste-fighting app, Too Good To Go. You can imagine how much delicious, fresh food goes to waste at cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops and manufacturers every day, just because it hasn’t sold in time. Too Good To Go allows you to buy this food at a fraction of the price and go and rescue it in a “magic bag” — you won’t know exactly what’s in your order until you pick it up, which is all part of the magic. Another great option if you’re charged with rustling up some food, pronto.
Got more festive food than you can shake a turkey sandwich at? The OLIO app connects you with neighbours and local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. If you’ve been gifted one too many boxes of chocolates or overdone it on the mince pie shopping, you can stick it on OLIO for someone in your community to collect and enjoy. You can also use it for non-food household items, making it a good option for unwanted Christmas presents.
If your Great Uncle Bob didn’t get the memo on age-appropriate clothing sizes or Cousin Susan insists on heavy gender stereotyping, head over to Dotte, the kids fashion marketplace. A solution to the alarming rate at which children grow out of their clothes, Dotte makes secondhand shopping for kids’ clothing accessible and fun. Depending on the quality of the clothing, you can either sell or donate and recycle.
Fancy swapping a present for something else? Sign up to Dotte using the code WHIRLI and get £5 cash back when you make a purchase.
For grownups who’ve also been subjected to ill-advised styles and sizing, look no further than Depop, the global community of fashion buyers and sellers who are making fashion less wasteful. As well as championing the circular economy, they’ve committed to making Depop carbon neutral by 2021 and provide educational resources and mentorship to entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups.
If the idea of selling your unwanted clothes is a bit of a headache, Thrift+ makes it super easy. Simply send off for one of their ThriftBags and they’ll do the work to sort, photograph and sell your items online. You can then earn credits to spend or donate to charity.
Everyone knows kids need a lot of space to explore, and a lot of toys to join them in their journey, but this can lead to cluttered rooms. While your child sees an epic land comprised of Teddy Bear Island, Bed Mountain, and the magical portal of Wardobia, you might see little more than a monumental mess. If you’ve decided it’s time to declutter, then here are some top tips for going about it!
How to Declutter Your Child’s Toys
1.Discuss It With Your Child
No one wants to enter their room and find that a fraction of their things have disappeared, so don’t force your child to experience the same! Explain to your child why you need to declutter, and how it’s important for you both that they keep things neat and tidy, and aren’t hoarding more than they need. It’s a great way to introduce little ones to the concept of recycling, as well.
We’ve found that kiddies lose interest in toys is as little as five weeks*, so you may find your child isn’t as averse to letting go of some of their playthings as you think. Plus, everyone knows kids (and maybe some adults, too!) only want what they can’t have, so it might be better to work in tandem with your little ones rather than lay siege to their toy box while they’re at nursery or school.
2.Evaluate Each Toy
And we don’t mean guess what they’re worth on eBay! Kids like their toys for different reasons, so maybe you think they’ve outgrown their Mega Bloks and are ready for big-kid Lego, but they actually just love creating with the colours. This is also why it’s important to get little ones involved, so you can gauge which toys have the most value for them — you might be surprised!
You should also consider things like educational and creative value. A cuddly friend is nice, but an educational toy or one that lets them express their individuality might have more longevity and continued relevance to their development.
3.Set a Rule
You could try setting a rule for your child to help minimise clutter and ensure they make the most of the toys they do have. Try setting a limit like a ’15 toys rule’ so if your little one wants a new toy, they need to recycle or donate one they already have. This may seem like a harsh limit to impose on a child, but really, it’s teaching them great life values and they’ll learn to treasure what they do have. After all, we all have memories of building hideaways out of bed sheets on the line because we couldn’t have a swanky tent like the kids next door. By encouraging little ones to make the most of what they have, you might just spark some real creativity.
4.Remember, They’re Toys
With the rise of the decluttering trend on social media, it’s far too easy to decide that your whole home needs to be a picture-perfect Instagram-able masterpiece with not a thing out of place. Unfortunately (or, we think, fortunately!) a spotless home where everything is always in place is not normal, and it’s not much fun for little ones, either. Don’t impose your new minimalism rules on your child’s room because, simply put, it’s not going to work, and even if it does, it’s not going to last.
The main lesson here is to not go to the other extreme and declutter toys that your child genuinely enjoys or needs. Remember, these things are toys, they have value to your child and they are key to their development. You may think that they don’t need three dolls, but maybe they each play a very important role in your child’s playtime games. Going in too strongly when it comes to organizing toys to the point that you only see them as a mess that needs sorting can seem less like decluttering and more like actively depriving your child of opportunities to play, learn, and create.
Maybe you’re wishing there was a helping hand to all this, an innovative service that could just let your little ones enjoy toys for that magical five week window of interest and then replace them with brand new toys when needed. Luckily for you, there is! Whirli is a clever new way to keep kiddies entertained and parents safe from cluttering and costly piles of neglected toys. Our subscription service lets you pay a fixed fee per month which gives you a set number of Whirli tokens to spend on toys.
Choose which toys you want from an ever-changing selection of over 1,000 products, including books, cuddly toys, and educational toys. We send them to you and your little one can play until their heart’s content, with no deadline on when to return them. If your child decides they aren’t interested in their toy anymore, no problem, post them back to us, and receive tokens in your account which you can use to rent your next toy. And if your little one has decided they simply can’t be parted from their new play thing, that’s fine too — you can purchase the toy from us for less-than-retail price. Plus, because we love it when a toy has found its forever home, any toy you keep for 8 months is yours!
Whirli has saved almost 240,000 toys from the landfill, for a more sustainable way to play. Plus, it could mean big savings for your wallet, as well — for every £10 Whirli customers spend with us, their little ones play with £40 worth of toys.
Share the Clutter
So, if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by play things, try cutting down on toys, without cutting down on the fun. Whirli lets little ones enjoy a toy for as long as they like, while parents can enjoy knowing there’s an easy, cost-effective, and sustainable way to swap them out for something new when they start being clutter. Get started with your Whirli subscription today!
Every child loves toys, and for good reason! As well as being fun, or cute, cuddly, even educational, they’re important as your child’s key to a little bit of freedom. So what if daddy says it’s time to stop talking to friends on the phone? There’s no curfew on talking to Mr Teddy under the covers! And maybe they have to share the TV remote with their older brothers and sisters, but their dollies are theirs and theirs alone. Unfortunately, while toys have limitless ways to help your child develop all sorts of key life skills, money isn’t quite so unlimited.
But what if there was a way to balance the fun with finances? What if we told you your little one could play with £200 worth of toys for just £50? Read on…
1. Go old school
It goes without saying that the true value of toys is never in their price tag. Remember back to when you were little, or even when your own parents were little and take a leaf out of the history book! Why buy an expensive art kit when you can do a bit of finger painting or a potato print? Why splash out on costumes when you can have fun creating one together from clothes destined for the bin? So, don’t always assume buying the latest and greatest toys is the only answer — there are endless ways to have great fun and make great memories without the price tag.
2. Find opportunities in the community
Most of us had hand-me-downs as a kid, getting to enjoy toys that still had a lot of life in them even if their former owners were too old, and why should that change for your little ones? Swapping and exchanging toys is a great way to greener-minded play. Talk to other parents, friends, and family members who might have toys from their own little ones that they would love to give a new home to. Check out your local area to see if there are any bargains or freebies out there for you. Whether that’s hitting up charity shops, school fetes, or the local social media marketplace, you might be surprised to see how many affordable (even free!) playthings you can get your hands on. And of course, it goes without saying that for books, your local library will be happy to have you!
3. Make it a teachable moment
Of course, we all love getting something new that we really, really want — that’s something even adults can agree with. But, as all adults can also concur, that doesn’t mean we can always have them. Remember, no one can have everything they want, and if they did, all those things would probably start to seem a little less special. Take a moment to talk to your child and tell them precisely why you can’t always buy them all the toys they want, while also explaining that they shouldn’t always expect to get them, either. Life’s tricky moments are always great ways to teach invaluable life lessons.
4. Make it about their finances
If being able to afford a new toy is your top worry, a problem shared is also one halved. Do you give your child pocket money? Here’s an amazing opportunity to teach them money saving habits and to make saving up for that toy something you can do together! For more affordable toys, you can have them save up until they can buy it all by themselves. You can even make this fun by creating a count-down calendar for the wall and marking off each milestone with a stamp, sticker, or fingerprint (see? We told you finger painting is still fun!). And when the big day comes, make a special event of going to the shop to buy it, or being extra clever and ordering it online.
5. Try Whirli
Now, if you are already our customer, you know exactly how much you can save. Our average subscriber plays with £200 worth of toys for just £50 so you can ensure your child has big fun, even if you don’t have big funds.
Whirli is super easy to use:
Pick a subscription plan — they’re billed monthly, half-yearly, or yearly. Your account will be credited with Whirli tokens which you can use to order toys. Our plans start from as low as £9.99 which gets you 80 Whirli tokens*.
Pick your toys — settle in for a few hours of excited toy-picking with your little one, because we have over 1000 of them! Every Whirli token is worth £1 of a toy’s retail price, so a £20 toy will cost you 20 tokens. Our lowest-cost subscription gets you 80 tokens*, and just like that, you’re getting more for your money!
Play time! — We’ll send your carefully chosen toys to you and your little one can play for as long as they want, there’s no return time! Any time they feel like something new, just send them back to us. We’ll credit your account with tokens and you can pick the next toy.
Our toy range covers just about everything your little one can want, accommodating new-borns to those who are around 8 years old. Discover books, scooters, cuddly toys, building toys, educational toys, musical instruments and much more!
We love helping little ones find toys they just don’t want to be parted with, so if they don’t want to return one, we’ll let you buy it from us for less than retail price. And, if your child keeps it for 8 months, they can keep it forever!
Like we said, our users get to watch their money go further thanks to Whirli. For every £50 spent with Whirli, your child can play with toys worth up to £200. It’s a great way to save toys from the scrapheap, and save on money, too.
The last 2 years since we started have been really exciting here at Whirli as we have been growing our range of toys, and more and more families have been subscribing to Whirli. However, much like having children, we have now run out of space at our ‘starter home’.
That means it’s time for us to move to a bigger warehouse!
Brief Delivery Changes
Unfortunately we won’t be able to hit our normal high standards of deliveries whilst we are moving, but rest assured we will be back to normal in a few short weeks! Things you will notice between 12th – 26th July:
We won’t be offering express delivery or nominated day deliveries
Our standard deliveries will take 1 – 2 days longer
New returns labels
We will soon be sending out returns labels with a new address in Rainham.
Don’t worry if you use an old ‘Tent Street’ label, we’ll still receive your parcel. However, you may experience a slight delay in processing your return.
Great customer benefits
By having more space and being in a better location, customers will soon get to benefit from:
A growing range of toys
Heaps of stock availability
A slicker operation to turbo boost swaps and make sure you continue to get the same speedy service.
A note from our Head of Operations
Hello! I joined Whirli in May of this year, and I’ve been amazed to see how many families are already enjoying swapping toys, and the amount of toys that we are preventing going into landfill! It gives me so much joy to see families sharing their experience on social media and the inventive ways they play with their toys.
My sustainability mission
When it comes to being sustainable, I’m passionate about us walking the walk. We are already reducing the amount of toys that end up in landfill, with around 50,000 toys circulating within our community. But there’s always more we can do. This year I’ll be ensuring we use the most sustainable, reusable and recyclable packing currently available.
I’m also continuing to look at how we reduce our carbon footprint. One way we’ve done this is by moving our warehouse closer to our couriers depots which in turn means there’s less distance to drive. In the not so distant future, I also have my eye on electric vehicles and how they can help Whirli take a giant step towards emission reduction.
A new warehouse also gives us the chance design and create energy efficiencies in our warehouse. Here, it’s the little things that make a big difference. Such as making sure that we are using renewable energy to power the warehouse, and we install motion sensor LED lightbulbs.
As well as moving our warehouse, 2021 is going to be an important year for us in upgrading our operations. We are developing technology that will allow our warehouse team to process orders accurately and at speed. Plus we can expand our toy range to include some exciting additions later this year (I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag just yet as to what they are!).
Treating people fairly
I am also hugely passionate about treating our team fairly. To create a comfortable, supportive working environment and develop opportunities for good people to progress. Not just within Whirli, but looking at our supply chain and ensuring our suppliers hold these same values.
Finally, a big thank you from all of us for continuing to support us and our mission to make playtime better. A thank you in advance for bearing with us as we settle into our new home, and we’re looking forward to you benefitting from a better Whirli service!
Every year at Whirli HQ, we take a moment after our busy Christmas period, to reflect on our progress towards our mission to help parents live more sustainably without breaking the bank. Similar to every business and every family around the world, 2020 has been full of surprises, uncertainty, and overall it has been incredibly challenging for us.
I have been incredibly proud with how our team responded to these challenges. Most of all, we have been so delighted to have received so much support from our subscriber community. Thank you for continuing to believe in our mission, for recommending us, for buying gifts for your friends, and thank you for all the kind notes of thanks and encouragement we received throughout the year. It means a lot and shows that what we’re doing has mattered to thousands of families and children across the UK. We will continue doing our best and going the extra mile for you.
This level of customer love and support has meant that, despite a challenging year for business and fundraising, we have been able to secure a substantial investment in our business, in a Seed funding round led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from MMC Ventures.
It’s an incredibly exciting time for us, as we have so many ideas and plans for the business that will make it even easier to use, more flexible, offer more choice, whilst still offering amazing value for money. Some of the first things we are likely to do include:
Adding more toys and products to our range: we loved hearing all your suggestions for products you’d like to borrow from us. With plans to open a larger warehouse underway, we’re really excited to turn to this shopping list and having more brands and products available to borrow through your Whirli subscription.
Better delivery/return convenience and control: adding more courier networks to give subscribers more choice about how and when to receive their parcels or return them. Better platform integrations to give you more visibility, notifications, and control for upcoming deliveries.
More engaging content and guidance for parents: helping you with advice and recommended toys for learning through play
Improved product feedback and suggestions: helping you discover new toys your family may enjoy based on your feedback of toys you’ve borrowed
Better overall operations: to ensure a consistent and high level of service for every parcel delivered to every customer
Again, a big thank you to all our subscribers and to all our staff who have gotten us to this point. Together, we have truly demonstrated the demand and strong potential for a different way to shop and consume – one that is better for consumers, better for children, and better for our environment.
In three years, my husband and I have gone from £16,000 in debt, to debt-free with savings. In doing so, we’ve completely overhauled our lifestyles, going from purchasing mindlessly to consuming intentionally. Shortly after I had our son, Leon, we discovered Whirli and it was a game-changer.
Babies grow so quickly, and their needs develop on a weekly basis. Before Whirli, we often purchased new toys to keep up with Leon’s development. This is so expensive and comes at a huge cost to the planet. Think of all the plastic toys that also come with a mountain of plastic packaging!
One might argue you can buy secondhand, and this is something I fully advocate. However, it’s likely that a toy is only passed from one home to one or two more before being thrown away.
So when I heard about Whirli from another mum, it was a revelation. This is the solution for parents who want to live more sustainably and save money.
Saving money using my subscription
I was so excited when my first Whirli box arrived. All the toys were in great condition and specific to Leon’s development stage. I love that I can exchange the toys when we are ready to move on to the next stage.
We’re currently on the Toy Box half-yearly plan which costs £81 and this allows us to play with toys worth up to £120 at any one time. This year, I plan to use our subscription to order all of Leon’s Christmas presents, meaning that Christmas is already paid for. I’ll also use Whirli for his birthday presents! I usually swap toys every month, so after 6 swaps, Leon would have played with £720 worth of toys!
Saving money using my referral code
I belong to several parent groups so naturally I’ve raved on about Whirli and shared my referral code with them. Therefore, I get to save money (Whirli adds £20 credit to my account for every referral) and help out other parents too.
Saving money through Whirli gifts
For Christmas 2020, many of us are turning towards gifting our loved ones with vouchers to limit purchasing unwanted gifts. This year, I’ve asked Leon’s grandparents to gift him a Whirli voucher so we can continue our subscription next year. Receiving the gift of Whirli means you aren’t just getting one gift, you’ll get a new one every time a new box arrives. It is the ultimate present for any parent or child who wants the gift of choice.
Whirli has allowed us to cut our plastic consumption and save a lot of money. It has truly been a joy to discover, and I recommend it to any parent out there.
For Christmas 2020, more than any other year, you probably want to treat your kids to something extra special. Being a ‘re-commerce’ retailer, we can offer parents, friends and families the luxury of ordering a desirable toy or gift (desirable for the adult often means expensive, beautiful and purposeful….desirable for the child usually means bright, flashy and plastic) but only paying for the time it has actually been played with. A natural money saving and enviable space saving, not to mention landfill avoiding, choice.
So our Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2020 list is slightly different to those you may have seen from more traditional toy retailers. We naturally have a preference towards the responsible and sustainable, as well as an understanding that millennial parents are keen to offer their family choice and swerve outdated stereotypes.
Millenial parents are keen to swerve outdated stereotypes and offer their children life goals that are not destructive, unrepresentative or limiting. So naturally Lottie dolls were an obvious choice for us. Lottie dolls were developed on the basis of positive messaging for kids. Each doll is inspired by a real life child and is designed using real life children’s body proportions. They do not wear make-up, jewellery or high-heels and have childhood focused interests, not adult ones. They represent children who are bold, creative, innovative and curious.
Whilst traditional playgrounds are only accessible for confident walkers and climbers, Pikler triangles are designed to promote motor development in much younger children. Those who are practising to grasp, reach, stand and climb, all in their own time.
With upper weight limits of 50kg (that’s 7 stone) they are also suitable for older kids too. Plus, they’re not limited to climbing. With just a dash of creativity and unbound imagination, our subscribers have turned their triangle into a den, tunnel, baby gym and so much more. These toys are responsibly and sustainably made by small businesses so no wonder they are hands down one of our most popular toys.
Playmobil encourages creative play and this zoo enclosure set is perfect for the little ones. The pieces are sturdy and large enough for their little hands to play with. We also assemble all the pieces together before sending them out so the kids can play with them straight away.
Fun fact: Nigel, Whirli’s founder, loves building Playmobil sets for our subscribers.
Plan toys are made from rubber trees that no longer produce latex. These trees are reclaimed and made into chemical free toys. They are really hard wearing, super durable and are even waterproof so make great bath toys. In recognition of our NHS heroes we’ve popped their Doctor Set in at number 5.
The kids just got over their Peppa Pig phase, but now they are obsessing over PJ masks. You are now worrying when will they stop re-watching all the episodes. It’s ok, we got your back. Why don’t you gift this action-packed Fold N Go Headquarters Playset? It will help them take a break from the screen and recreate their favourite scenes instead. The best part about this playset is they can pack it up so there’s no toy-clutter in sight.
Kids love nothing more than pretending to be a grown-up; no wonder this is one of our most popular toys. The little cute shop keepers will have ample hours of fun, scooping and serving different flavoured ice cream. This is a great imaginative playset to help develop their communication (and business management) skills.
Scooters kept many kids active during the lockdown. So you have probably seen Micro scooters everywhere and now you are wondering if they are worth it. Yes, they are! These scooters are light, durable, easy to use and the handlebars are adjustable. It is the best scooter for a safe and smooth ride while helping the kids develop their coordination and balance.
You can keep your little ones active inside the house too with the VTech 2-in-1 Sports Centre. When they score using the football net or basketball hoop, fun animations will light up and it will play encouraging sounds. This is one of those bright, flashy and possibly annoying toys you might not like but your kids will love! It’s ok…you can swap it when they are done with it.
This is the best present for kids who are obsessed with Lego or construction sets. They will love using their imagination to build colourful structures, improving their creative thinking and motor skills. The pieces easily connect to one another so you won’t hear any frustrated sighs during their play. Another amazing toy that is guaranteed to give you some peace and quiet for a couple of hours.