To change the way that consumers buy age-appropriate toys, subscription services are focusing on offering specialized collections of play items designed for specific stages of a baby’s life. The core business for Lovevery, for instance, are play kits for those 0 to 24 months old. Co-Founder and President Rod Morris said the company sees the play kits as a one-click solution: “We pare down and serve up the best of it,” Morris told PYMNTS in an interview. As a result, Morris said, there is “no need to purchase a slew of excessive toys.” Instead, everything a consumer would need for their children comes with that kit.
The kits also come with content that Morris says consumers can’t get anywhere else on what their children need at that time. He also pointed out that the company designs and produces all of the items in the play kits — it doesn’t curate them from other manufacturers and makers. The company takes published scientific research on what skills a child in a given age range is trying to learn at that time across many different areas such as problem-solving, communication, creativity and social-emotional learning.
In some cases, Lovevery has invented a new kind of product. The company, for instance, invented a magic tissue box, which is effectively a wooden version of a tissue box with so-called organic cotton tissue that links together so children can pull them out and learn about containment. (And they can do that sustainably, as opposed to tearing through paper tissues and making a mess while wasting paper.) Other products, Morris says, have been inspired by Montessori curricula that have existed in other forms in Montessori classrooms for more than 100 years.
Other products were inspired by items the company sees people making in their homes that might not be available for a parent who is less craft-minded. The company also provides a play guide in every play kit. Morris says it’s like “a miniature booklet on child development” for that age period. It goes through the products — the science behind them — and distills down the need-to-know research for that stage of the child’s development. He says Lovevery does the homework for the parent and makes tips for creating meaningful playtime moments. (And also gives them ideas beyond ones that only involve the company’s products.)
To buy a play kit, a parent enters a baby’s date of birth (or an adjusted date of birth), and the company recommends the right play kit for that date. Consumers can subscribe and they can pay as the boxes ship or they can receive a discount to pay ahead for a full year. The company accepts credit cards and debit cards as well as PayPal for payments. The company also offers a play gym — a single product — that complements its play kits through its site in addition to Amazon.
When it comes to the company’s market, Morris says its transaction volume is highly dispersed across the country. (And he noted that different aspects of its products motivate different customers, but they come together around an interest in giving their baby or toddler the best experience that they can.) In other words, Morris says that is genuinely a kind of mass-level customer to which it markets — and with which it has a strong market fit.
Beyond customers buying the company’s products for themselves, they can give its items on their own or as a group. The company, Morris said, is especially proud of its group gifting option. It knows that a gift subscription to a product like a play kit is exciting to be a part of — whether it is for a relative or co-worker. At the same time, however, that kind of product is a meaningful investment. As a result, the company modeled its approach over one it saw from GoFundMe and took a similar approach in allowing multiple people to participate in gifting a subscription together. (The company also offers a registry option.)
With the help of gifting options and payment options, eCommerce platforms are providing parents — and others — with an opportunity to subscribe to toys as well as advice to cater to children at different life stages as they develop and grow.