DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Necessity is the mother of invention, and Rachael Classi knew she needed a solution to the seemingly endless toys piling up in her home.
So, the mom founded the Durham-based startup company Tiny Earth Toys.
It’s a toy subscription service.
“I saw a really big need in my own home for access to high-end educational toys for my kids that weren’t just gonna add to the unbelievable amount of clutter in our house,” Classi said.
Classi started the company after leaving her job at a software analytics company to care for her children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Families pay a monthly fee and receive age-specific toys geared towards newborns through 5-year-olds. After children play with the toys for a few months, they are sent back for different ones.
The subscription can be canceled at any time.
“We’ve seen a lot of demand from families who are looking to do the holidays a little bit differently, take a sustainable twist on what they’re doing and also try to have Christmas that can be refreshed in a few months,” Classi said.
From cars to puzzles, all the toys are made of wood and are recycled to a new family.
According to ecoBIRDY, 90 percent of children’s toys are made from single-use plastic, and 80 percent of them end up in landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.
“Those are staggering statistics when you are thinking about a $91 billion industry,” Classi said.
Last holiday season, the company ran a pilot program with 15 families. This year it has hundreds of families across 40 states, starting to outgrow its stockroom almost as fast as kids outgrow toys.
“We never imagined it would scale and grow as quickly as it has,” Classi said.
Click here for more information on how to subscribe to Tiny Earth Toys.