Baby gear rental in the Quad Cities

Published: Sep. 30, 2018 at 10:00 PM CDT
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Platform economies have been disrupting almost every industry. And some major corporations are starting to take notice. For example, Avis acquired Zipcar in 2013.

“The effect is much greater potential for innovation and growth than a single product-oriented firm can generate alone," Karlie said. "It's a great opportunity for me to have a side business while being at home with my kids. So I can make the business into whatever I'd like it to be."

Karlie is the Quad Cities first and only provider for a new platform called Baby Quip.

"Think AirBnB but for babies and toddlers," Karlie said. "You can rent the equipment wherever you're traveling. You can do that nationwide and I wanted to be that service here in the Quad Cities."

Karlie says she first learned of BabyQuip when she became a client. During a trip to Denver, Colorado Karlie and her husband thought instead of lugging the car seat with them, why not rent on locally.

They used BabyQuip to rent the car seats for their two children who were both under the age of two. After being a client, Karlie decided she wanted to bring this service to the Quad Cities.

She says about one-third of her clientele are grandparents expecting visitors and other clientele include people who are visiting the area.

Everything she rents, she owns. Whether it's a purchase or gently used products.

"All the car seats are new," Karlie said. "Then BabyQuip has standards I meet according to their safety standards and clearing standards they trained me on."

Some clientele choose to use BabyQuip for special occasions. Megan Linehan says she first learned about BabyQuip through a sponsored ad on Facebook.

"What we choose to rent we were only going to use for my daughter's birthday party," Megan said. "So for a one time use, it was easier to rent it."

Karlie says she started her business in July and is hoping to see it grow.

"The average provider makes 650 a month, but I'm definitely still building up my business," Karlie said.

She hasn't yet had any clients who were renting equipment to try it out before buying it in store but thinks it's another way BabyQuip could be helpful or useful to its clientele.

Karlie says she travels as far as Iowa City and Cedar Rapids for some pickups and deliveries, and that working in a platform economy allows her the freedom and flexibility to set her own hours.