SAINT JOHN – When Kiera Devine flew to New York with her baby girl, the new mom left her bulky stroller at home because she expected to be able to rent baby equipment in New York. When she couldn’t, her new business — Parental Marketplace — was born.
Parental Marketplace is an online platform that allows parents to rent baby equipment.
“My husband and I were travelling with our daughter Kingsley last year,” said Devine, who is based in Saint John, New Brunswick. “I didn’t want to take my stroller and car seat. I didn’t want to lug them around New York or risk the airline damaging them.
“I thought, surely I can rent. There should be a stroller rental on every street, but I found I needed to give 72 hours’ notice and have a fax machine.”
She decided there must be an easier way.
“By the time I was travelling home with a sleeping baby on my knee I was trying to figure out the business model,” said the entrepreneur, who is known in Saint John as the former owner of women’s boutique Je Suis Prest and men’s clothing store Ready Man.
Devine believes the growth of the sharing economy, popularized by Airbnb and now including many product-sharing options, means the time is right for her venture.
She is starting off with parents renting to parents. She is initially targeting Toronto where, she said, apartments can be so small that parents have to store bulky baby items such as car seats in bathtubs. Then she would like to get thousands of baby rental companies on her site.
“Eventually, I’d like to be the Expedia of this market,” she said. “I’d like to work with companies like Airbnb and airports and hotels to provide service to their clients.”
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