Sure, there have been several toys that have been around for generations – Lincoln logs, Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels – but few have been as popular as Legos. In fact, the iconic plastic bricks, which are played with by children all over the world, recently starred in their own movie.
Looking to carve out a niche in the sharing economy, startup company Pley has launched a subscription service centered on the interlocking bricks. Described as a “Netflix for Legos,” Pley rents Lego sets to subscribers and allows them to play with the bricks for as long as they want. Once a subscriber is ready for something “new”, they return the Legos and are sent another set. To ensure cleanliness, Pley sterilizes the rental Legos with an eco-friendly solution that kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria and is not harmful to children.
Currently, the company offers a 15-day free trial for families who would like to try out the service. Once the trial period has ended, parents and kids who like the service can select from one of three different subscription plans that include all shipping costs. For $25 per month, families can rent out smaller Lego sets. For medium- and large-sized sets, families will pay $35 and $45 per month, respectively. Although the rental fees may seem a bit pricey at first glance, a membership could be considered a bargain compared to the high price tag – $400 for the Star Wars Death Star, for example – of Lego sets sitting on a toy store shelf.
In addition, to the cost-saving benefits of renting Legos, the company’s model also has a positive impact on the environment. According to their website, Pley says it has prevented over 90,000 pounds of ABS plastic from being manufactured which has prevented 3.9 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the company also helps subscribers dispose of their unwanted Legos in an environmentally responsible way. Customers can ship old Legos to Pley for free in exchange for a credit towards service.
Since launching in 2013, the San Jose-based company has signed up 15,000 members and shipped 75,000 Lego sets and has expanded from a two-person team to a staff of 23 employees.