Tessa Checovich stared at her daughter’s bassinet. It cost $300 and she only used it for three months. Then there was a conversation with another mom who was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff she’d accumulated in the first year of being a parent. A light bulb went off—why buy and store baby furniture if you can rent it? Briefly Baby was born.
“There are companies out there that have baby rentals for short-term travel needs, but nobody out there does what Briefly does,” Checovich says.
The Edina mom launched Briefly Baby in November 2019. The service allows parents to rent high-end baby gear for up to six months. Items range from bassinets to bouncers, jumpers, Bumbo seats and more.
“As a new parent, I didn’t want to fill my house with baby things,” Tasha Schultz says. “I really wanted to be conscious of our purchases when our little girl arrived. We rented the Le Toy Van play gym and Bumbo seat for two months. I love that they get to be returned when she outgrows them. One other thing I love about Briefly Baby is they have a well-curated inventory, not ugly plastic things I didn’t want in the house.”
Schultz belongs to the millennial generation, and Checovich says they are her largest client base because they care about their environmental impact. She also says millennials are used to renting clothing and furnishings.
“Millennials are known for placing less value on ownership. They seem to care a lot more about minimalism and accumulating less material items,” she says.
Checovich realizes a major issue for parents is safety. Most secondhand stores and charities do not accept used baby equipment due to liability concerns. She says her previous job was in risk management, and she takes safety seriously. Briefly Baby requires parents sign a document saying they will read all instructions and manuals provided to them. Once equipment is returned to Briefly, it undergoes inspection.
“We have at least two people from our team independently inspect each item,” she says. “They use a checklist to make sure all of the pieces and parts are accounted for, that there’s no damage to the item, that everything is structurally sound and secure.”
Items are cleaned in house with natural and chemical free cleaners. All items at Briefly are sourced with safety and cleaning top of mind. For example, any upholstery needs to be completely removable for proper cleaning. If something is beyond repair, they replace it.
“Before it goes out for another rental, we do another final check to make sure that the gear is still in good condition,” she says.
Schultz suggests taking the plunge on rentals. “Just do it,” she says. “We don’t need to fill the landfill with products we’re only using for a short period of time. Plus, you save money. It’s silly not to rent.”