When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Launching Burnley mum's business venture was simply child's play
SETTING up a business is a pretty tough job; just having a viable idea in the first place can be tricky enough.
But for Alison Chesworth it was child’s play – literally.
Mum-of-one Alison, from Burnley, was inspired to set up www.toyboxlive.co.uk by her quest to keep daughter Theia, two-and-a-half, entertained and educated.
“We just kept accumulating more and more toys which Theia would play with for a month at most,” Alison said.
“The development of children in the early years is so fast, I wanted to be challenging her – as a mum at home you want to do the best to educate them.
“Toys were stacking up and I thought it would be good to rent some. I looked into toy libraries, which are an option, but the safety and cleanliness put me off, also the quality wasn’t great.
“I wanted toys that looked like new, and that was really where the idea came from.”
The added bonus of renting from the web-based business is the ease of internet shopping – as opposed to the stresses of high street outings with a toddler in tow.
Launching from the Empire Business Centre, Burnley, in January, Alison, 28, is already seeing success for the business. It has been shortlisted in the finals of the Mumpreneur Awards, under the green business category which recognises eco and ethically friendly products and services.
For £24.99 families can rent their choice of three toys for a month, choosing to return them or extend the rental at the end of the month – in a system Alison likens to DVD rental. And if a child becomes attached to their new plaything parents can even buy it at a discounted cost.
“Our customers are loving what we do,” Alison said. “We get parents with multiple children coming to us – if you’ve twins it’s expensive to buy two of everything, or grandparents ordering for when their grandchildren come to stay.”
Popular choices are the classic children’s offerings from brands such as Fisher Price as well as outdoor games, which people have been reluctant to buy with the poor summer, and Alison is predicting big interest in the re-released Furby later this year.
One thing standing in the way of her stocking the soft-furred mini robots is the strict cleaning process all the toys go through, including steam and anti-bacterial cleansing.
“The cleaning process makes parents feel safe – kids are kids after all,” she said.
Toyboxlive.co.uk was the UK’s first toy rental business, and former Mansfield High School pupil Alison says her customers come from across the country, despite it being a new concept for many families.
She also blogs on new toys and advice on playing with children, as well as having completed a course in children’s learning development.
“As a parent you aren’t always taught to play, you have to think like a one-year-old, and you don’t always realise what a toy is good for,” Alison said.
Comments are closed on this article.