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Changes to our subscription plans and delivery fees from 4th August 2020

Our mission

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.

Looking ahead

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

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COVID-19: Whirli is operating at normal service levels

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.

Thank you

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.

Proud moments

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

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COVID-19: Whirli is operating as usual

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.

Toy sterilisation

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.

Imported goods

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

Price freeze

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.

Home collection

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.

Our community

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

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How’s the January toy explosion going?

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!”

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Gifts that fund your Whirli subscription

Spot the difference

One gift is bought from the high street.

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.

For example:

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’.

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Toy Story 4: Movie review and everything you need to know before heading to the cinemas

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.

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Toy Story 4: Our five favourite toys from the new movie

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:

Disney Pixar – Toy Story 4 Final Trailer

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:

1. Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear (35 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear Toy
Photo of Toy Story Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear Toy

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!).

2. Carnival Spiral Speedway (40 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Carnival Spiral Speedway Toy
Photo of Toy Story Carnival Spiral Speedway Toy

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!

3. Fisher Price Little People 7-Figure Pack (20 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Fisher Price Little People 7-Figure Pack Toy
Photo of Toy Story Fisher Price Little People 7-Figure Pack Toy

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.

4. True Talkers Rex Figure (18 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story True Talkers Rex Figure
Photo of Toy Story True Talkers Rex Figure

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!

5. Alienizer Voice Changer (16 Tokens)

Photo of Toy Story Alienizer Voice Changer Toy
Photo of Toy Story Alienizer Voice Changer Toy

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.

5 Ways To Declutter Your Child’s Room

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.

5.      Try Whirli

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!

How to Save Money on Toys

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:

  1. 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*.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

So, ready to let little ones play in a big way? Get started today!

*80 token allowance is available once the introductory period is completed. 

We’re moving (ware)house

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. 

Always improving

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.

Thank you

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!

Craig Simpson
Head of Operations

Whirli Announces Seed Funding Round

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.

Merry Christmas!

Nigel Phan
Founder & Managing Director

How I saved money with Whirli

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. 

Leon with his toys from Whirli

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.

Our top 10 toys for Christmas

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.

Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2020

1. Lottie Dolls

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.

2. Pikler Triangles

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.

3. Playmobil 1 2 3 Zoo with Penguin Enclosure

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.

4. Fisher Price Zebra Walker

This is a Whirli classic. A toy that may only be needed for a month at best and then is no longer needed. It is very popular, affordable, durable and the perfect Whirli swap.

5. Plan Toys Doctor Set

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.

6. PJ Masks Fold & Go Headquarters Playset

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.

7. Melissa & Doug Wooden Ice Cream Counter

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.

8. Micro Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter

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.

9. VTech 2-in-1 Sports Centre

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.

10. Magformers 30 Piece Set

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.

Guest Post: Borrowing things for your home

WHIRLI INTRO: As part of our Ownership is Overrated series we have been chatting to the team at The Library of Things. We want to encourage our customers, who may themselves be new to the circular economy, to think about other areas of their home and lives that they can borrow rather than buy.

The Library of Things is a London based community-led library of…well, things! Things for adventuring, hobbying, cleaning, DIY, cooking and more. We’ve been speaking to them about their London successes and their recent drive to expand across the UK.

Borrowing in a pandemic world

During lockdown, we’ve all spent a lot more time than usual at home. And without our usual activities to keep us busy with friends, we’ve all had to find creative ways to keep busy. From clearing out the house, to giving growing a go in the garden, or even bringing the cinema home, like Laura and her partner.

We love going to the cinema and we’ve really missed it during lockdown. We’re also trying to find interesting things to do on the weekends to mix it up a bit, so we decided to borrow the projector to watch Hamilton and create our very own movie theatre.” 

It’s now almost three years since we opened the very first Library of Things. If you wander down the high street in Crystal Palace, South London, you’ll find our kiosk in Upper Norwood Library Hub. Here you can borrow everything from fun stuff to get started with a hobby or activity like Laura – we’ve got a sewing machine and ice cream maker – to tools like a drill, carpet cleaner, or strimmer. There’s even camping equipment for a weekend getaway, like tents and backpacks too.

We were inspired by communities across the globe who had set up lending libraries in Berlin, Toronto and beyond, to share items with their neighbours and cut down on waste. We knew our community would love to get involved with this, so we brought Library of Things to London.

Since then we’ve been helping our neighbours cut down on the clutter in their kitchen cupboards and garden sheds by making it easier and more affordable to borrow, rather than buy, the useful things you only need occasionally for your homes, projects and adventures.

You can borrow items for as long as you need them and drop them back once you’re done for another neighbour to use, and because you’re borrowing, it’s a fraction of what it costs to buy something new.

But it’s not just our purses that stand to benefit. Borrowing means that we produce, buy and waste fewer natural resources.  Together, our Crystal Palace borrowers have saved a whopping 15,900 kg of waste from going to landfill by borrowing rather than buying.

Sharing is more important now than ever

Over the years we’ve seen how powerful sharing can be as a way of bringing local people together. As well as borrowing items from Library of Things, you can join or host practical events like repair parties and sewing classes. Something simple and practical like borrowing a drill can become a transformation – making friends with your neighbours and learning skills that change your outlook on life.
 

During lockdown, sharing has brought our community closer together, even though we’ve had to stay apart physically. When the Library Hub closed back in March, lots of our members got in touch to say that they couldn’t do the activities that were important to them, because they couldn’t get the tools they needed. So we floated the idea of trialling a home delivery and collection service and we got a big thumbs up.

A fantastic bunch of volunteers signed-up to run our community-powered delivery service to help their neighbours get hold of the things they needed. This is what Lucy, one of volunteers had to say:

“I’m no longer working due to Covid, so I wanted to spend my time supporting the local community and helping people stay entertained during lockdown. It’s also a great excuse to chat to people and meet our lovely neighbours (from a safe distance, of course!)”

92% of people who borrowed during this period told us it has helped them feel closer to their neighbours and community. Now, more than ever, sharing has the potential to change how each of us live and relate to our communities and the planet around us.

Ready to give borrowing a try?

We’d love it if you’d be up for giving borrowing a go. If you live in South East London, browse our catalogue of things and make a reservation for delivery.

There’s good news for other Londoners too. We’ll be extending our delivery service to reach more of South London and new kiosks will be opening in the autumn across the city. You can already sign-up to become a founder member in Dalston.

And if you are interested in setting up your own Library of Things in your community, register your interest and see if there are any other people interested in helping in your area.


Guest Post: Making Kids Clothes Circular

Collaborating with Whirli

I’m Charlotte, the founder of The Little Loop kids clothing company. We have many shared values with Whirli and when they asked if we would be interested in collaborating with them on their Ownership is Overrated series, we jumped at the chance.

If you, like many people, have a house full of majority ‘owned’ things and would like to borrow more of the things that you only need for a short time, then you may be interested to learn about what we do at The Little Loop.

The truth about children’s clothes

Your littlest family member will outgrow over 1000 items of clothing before they are fully grown. Their voracious need for new clothes from ages 0-12 (about every 3 months due to growth and changing seasons) means the average household in the UK will spend around £11,000 on clothing each child.  Ouch!

And what do we do with all those clothes when they’re done? 

But why is that a problem?

Kids’ clothing has the potential to be worn by up to 4 children.  Compared with one use, that would reduce its carbon and water footprint by up to 75%. 

Or think about it like this…for every garment which isn’t re-used or handed on, 3 more brand new garments have to be bought. This takes 3 times more cotton, thus 3x more carbon and 3x more water. 

So the knock on impact of that 183million item clothes stash is the purchase of 549 million garments which didn’t need to be manufactured; creating 2 million tonnes of CO2e…the equivalent of powering 200,000 homes for a year! 

It would take 33million tree seedlings to grow for 10 years to absorb that much carbon

So what can we do?

Reducing the environmental and financial burden of clothing our children is getting easier and easier.  There are several ways to tackle it and we cover the full list in our most recent blog “5 ways to dress your kids for less”.  But of all of them there’s one thing which is guaranteed to have the greatest impact.  Moving away from ownership and toward a world where we treat things as a service to be borrowed as and when we need them.  A circular economy powered by rental.

Kids clothes rental ensures that every garment reaches its maximum potential and is never left to languish in a cupboard until it is no longer usable or desirable. Clothing can be reprocessed, professionally laundered, repaired where necessary, and circulated until it reaches its rental life end.  And even then, it can be up-cycled into new products.  All things which cannot be guaranteed or controlled in the world of ownership. 

If you were to rent just 6 items of your child’s wardrobe for three months you would prevent another 18 from being manufactured, saving 67kg of Co2e, and up to 58,000 litres of water. The carbon saving alone is equivalent to driving 166 miles in a car.  

Increase that to a modest indoor wardrobe (4 trousers, 6 tee shirts, 4 dresses/dungarees, 2 cardigans/sweaters, 2 sweatshirts), for a whole year, and you’re looking at a saving of 877kg CO2e and upto 756,000 litres of water. That’s the equivalent of 1/10 of your household’s annual energy.

OK,  but isn’t rental harder than ownership? It seems daunting…

Not at all. In fact there are many other benefits to rental besides environmental ones.

Quality and Value

Because of the cost saving from buying new, you can generally access more expensive ethical and sustainable clothing, from the best sustainable brands, for far less than their retail price.  And you’ll no longer have to:

  • Buy too big so they’ll ‘last’
  • Compromise on style, quality or ethics for the sake of cost
  • Buy gender-neutral in case of future babies

Plus you can exchange items your kids don’t like, or that don’t work as you’d expected. No more unworn items hanging in the wardrobe making you feel bad. And no more wasted money.

Convenience

Every time your kids grow, you have to sort through, pack away, and dispose of their discarded clothes. It takes a LOT of time and energy, not to mention precious storage space. Renting takes the pain out of clothing your children.  You send back all of the clothes you’re done with. And get another set with just a few clicks of a button. No more stress, no more guilt, lots of time back to spend with your little heroes.

Feeling like a super hero.

Our children are our world, and we’d do anything for them. But they’re streets ahead of us in their quest to save the planet from the impact of over-consumption, pollution and waste. Rent their clothing to support them in their quest to save the planet. And you can feel like a hero too!

So what are you waiting for? Check out thelittleloop.com to see what rental is all about. Here’s a little taster of how it works.

Ownership is Overrated

With the recent news that Selfridges and John Lewis are the latest retailers to join the rental revolution, and with Ikea set to launch its rental offering at the end of the year, it is clear that Generation Rent is driving the shift towards rental.

Millenials and Gen Z’ers are defined more by ever-changing experiences, careers and lifestyles, than their parents’ were. They are more likely to move home, change jobs and make ever-evolving lifestyle choices. They have also realised that owning everything they need to support this lifestyle is expensive, wasteful and more of a commitment than they would like.

Customer challenge

To mark the shift towards a Rental Revolution we would like to challenge our customers to consider which areas of their homes are filled with things they own or borrow. We’ve created a list which you can go through. Mark each category with a %. 100% means you own 100% of the items within that category. 0% means you own 0% of the items in that category and rent them all.

Other Rental Businesses

To compliment the list, we’ll also add a link to any rental businesses we know of that you may want to consider in your quest to own less and rent more.

The Rental Lifestyle List

Women’s clothing

Hurr at Selfridges – peer to peer luxury clothing rental

My Wardrobe HQ – peer to peer and brand to peer luxury fashion rental

Rotaro – a fully centralised clothing rental service

Men’s clothing

Watch this space!

Home interiors

John Lewis Furniture – rent instead of buy your favourite household furniture

Harth – design-led interiors rental

Rise Art – original paintings for sale or rent

Household and personal items

Fat Llama – a peer to peer lending platform for electronics, tools, bikes and more

Library of Things – London based local community library offering ‘things’ across DIY, gardening, hobbying etc.

Kid’s clothes

Bundlee – a pre-bundled capsule wardrobe to rent for 0 – 24 month babes

The Little Loop – a choice of clothes to rent for 2 – 5 year olds from brands such as Frugi, Mini Boden and more

Kid’s toys

Whirli – us of course!

Baby stuff

Buggi – a UK buggy subscription of reconditioned buggies

Pets

Borrow my doggy – want a dog but not full time? The borrow a local dog for the weekend.

Car

Zipcar – the UK’s largest car sharing club in London, Bristol, Oxford & Cambridge

Working at Whirli

Every couple of months we like to give some insight into our business. A opportunity for anyone who may be interested to see how we do things.

Last time on Insta we shared details of our small and multicultural team. At the time there were just 24 of us. We have heritage from 12 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, and there’s a fair gender distribution across departments including our technology and warehouse operations.

Flexible working hours

This time, we want to share with you our working hours and what that means for everyone at the company. Traditionally, companies operate a 9am – 5:30pm policy. Anyone sneaking in the door past 9am is often considered to be late and anyone finishing before 5:30pm, a “part timer”.

Over the years, some business have evolved and we are one of them. We operate core hours between 10am – 3pm and outside those hours, everyone can start or finish when it suits them. It means we can collaborate, pair up and discuss things quickly and easily, without having to schedule every conversation. But it also gives flexibility to those that cannot start at 9am or need to finish before 5pm.

Never late

Something that has been a huge relief to me, especially as a parent, is that I am never late. Turning up a 9:45am is perfectly acceptable yet it isn’t a special privilege given to just me, a parent. The entire company can come and go as it suits us. There is no ‘being late’.

Multiple morning drops off and evening picks ups with small children is not without stress. But taking away the added stress of ‘being late’ for work has made such a difference.

Making work work

I started working at Whirli after I’d had my second child and the core hour policy created made full-time possible. Had the policy been stricter, I’m not sure me and my husband would have been able to make it work. We equally share our family’s needs between us which has meant he has a career that he has an equal opportunity to succeed in and so do I.

A post-pandemic working world

Now our World has been flipped on its head, I’m curious to know how all businesses will adjust. Working from home was always a possibility at Whirli. But perhaps they’ll be more of it or it will be structured differently. As a business we’re doing really well. We’re growing quickly, hiring more people. We’ve launched a new website, built a heap of new things and it was all done from home.

But many of us are missing face-to-face contact. So it’s likely, post-pandemic, there will be an even blend of office-based and home-based working. Perhaps readjusting the reasons for location-based activities, especially as the team grows. Most screen time work can be done from home, especially if it is quieter and less distracting. Perhaps office based work prioritises face-to-face contact, such as meetings, break-outs, collaborations and socials.

It will be an opportunity for every company to re-write the rules and create a working environment that is flexible. Support the person that needs quiet, focused time or encourage people to collaborate and interact more. Support the person that is simply not a morning person and does their best work later on. Or support the person that has responsibilities that don’t fit the 9am – 5:30pm structure.

And maybe, just maybe, our roads and trains will be less congested. I think we’d all vote for that!