Written by: Stuart Foxman

When Matt Cass and his wife had their first child 2½ years ago, they had to stock up on baby gear. Like many new parents, they were struck by two things.

“We were blown away by how expensive it is, and how quickly kids go through it,” says Cass.

He recalls browsing for a beautiful bassinet that he loved, but the $500 price tag was hard to justify. That same bassinet is now available to lease on his company, StorkSupply, for less than half – under $200.

The company, which launched in November 2017, offers high-quality baby gear on demand.

Selections range from cribs and cradles, to rockers and strollers, to high chairs and developmental toys. Customers find can just what they want on storksupply.ca/, and lease the item for the period the suits them. There are a few short-term rental options (weekly), and a larger menu of monthly lease options.

The baby gear tends to be non-trendy and gender-neutral, to fit in with anyone’s decor and lifestyle. (It also means one less decision, says Cass.) StorkSupply has the items delivered right to a customer’s home, and picked up when they’re done with it. Customers can always extend a lease.

Cass says shopping this way saves parents time (a curated selection means less research), saves space (for storing the gear after you don’t need it anymore), and saves money – about 50-60% off retail for a typical lease term.

This is just the sort of service that the Toronto dad was looking for but couldn’t find anywhere. Sure, you can search for second-hand baby gear on the likes of Kijiji and Facebook buy-and-sell groups. But if you’re seeking a specific model in good condition, it’s hard to find and is snapped up quickly.

StorkSupply features a selection of top brands, which Cass sources new directly from manufacturers. The company thoroughly cleans, sanitizes, inspects and maintains everything between uses. All baby gear meets the most current safety standards.

After an item is used 3-4 times, StorkSupply won’t lease it again (the company will donate or sell it), so the gear is always in excellent condition.

Cass figures that StorkSupply is the only business in Canada (and maybe North America) that focuses on long-term baby gear leases, as opposed to short-term, vacation rentals.

Before he started the company, Cass was an associate director at the Ivey and Rotman business schools, working in the executive education program. Once he had the plan for StorkSupply, he enrolled in the Founder Institute, a seed stage accelerator.

“The idea is to help refine products or services and get them ready for investment,” he says.

In the back of his mind, Cass figured that he’d start a business one day. He just didn’t know what it would be. Not until, that is, he faced a real challenge as a new parent, imagined the ideal solution and created it. It’s a reminder that you never know where you’ll stumble onto the birth of a great business idea.

Photo credit: Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real