Small Business sat down with Katie Hanton-Parr, co-founder of Baboodle, the UK’s first baby equipment subscription platform, and one of the three winners of the Small Business x Sage pop-up shop competition.
Baboodle was one of three winning businesses chosen by our expert panel to occupy a pop-up shop space in London’s busy Oxford Street earlier this month.
Baboodle rents short-lived and expensive baby equipment to parents. Items are delivered straight to the customer with a minimum one-month rental period. Baboodle’s catalogue primarily caters for children aged 0-2 – an age when babies outgrow items at a particularly alarming rate. Every baby needs a pram, a highchair, a carrier, a crib and a cot – and the list goes on. These necessities are outgrown and replaced multiple times during those early years. Indeed, each week, the UK spends £7 million on quickly outgrown brand-new baby and nursery equipment.
Katie Hanton-Parr sees the benefits of Baboodle as being primarily sustainable and also saving parents money. It taps into the circular economy as well as the increasing trend for parents to buy second-hand when it comes to nursery and baby equipment.
Katie Hanton-Parr set up Baboodle in October 2022 after having hr first baby the year before. She got the idea for Baboodle when trying to kit out her baby in an environmentally conscious way and on a shoestring. That meant hours spent trawling marketplaces, collecting baby gear, cleaning them and, on several occasions, having to mend it when its second-hand condition was worse than described. In the end, they ended up having to resell half of what they bought. “I thought, okay, there must be a better way to do this,” she says.
What is Baboodle?
Baboodle is a baby equipment rental platform for all the short-term or longer-terms items that you don’t know if you’re going to use for very long. It’s just a way of saving parents money, hassle and time while being a bit more sustainable option compared to buying as well.
Where did the idea for Baboodle come from?
The idea came from having a baby and living through that first year of that constant churn of products and waste and all the hassle that comes with that. It’s very much a lived experience led me to the idea.
How long has the company been going?
We launched in October 2022, so we’ve been going for about eight months now. It’s all very fresh. The customer is so ready for this. It feels very timely and has been getting lots of positive feedback, which makes you feel good about what you do.
Why did you want to enter the SmallBusiness x Sage pop-up shop competition?
I just thought, that’s the perfect opportunity for us to have a physical presence. We’d been thinking about pop-ups anyway. Plus Oxford Street is the hub of mass consumerism!
What’s your experience been of the pop-up shop and have you enjoyed yourself?
It’s been really good. You get out there and you chat to customers and get an idea of what the customer wants. That’s been nice. It’s also been good being here with other businesses. I’ve met loads of interesting people.
What advice would you have for anybody thinking of entering next year’s Sage pop-up competition? Should they go for it?
A hundred per cent. All the support around it has been brilliant as well – all the workshops, it’s a bit of a gamechanger. You won’t even realise for a bit how important it’s been … it’s a trickle-down effect, so, absolutely. Go for it.
More on the Sage pop-up shop competition
Sage pop-up shop winner #1 – Deborah Maclaren, LoveReading – Deborah Maclaren, managing director of LoveReading, sits down with SmallBusiness to talk about what winning one of the three coveted spots in the Sage pop-up shop competition means to her
Sage pop-up shop winner #2 – Katie Cross, Cake or Death – Katie Cross, director of vegan bakery Cake or Death, sits down with Small Business to tell us about her experience of winning the Sage pop-up competition