The First Toy & Equipment Library in Carinthia: borrowing instead of buying!
It’s a truly innovative concept! Nancy Wang from Canada has created the first Carinthian library of toys and equipment for children 0-11 years old: Picoclan. The main idea of PicoClan is to “borrow instead of buying”. For just a few euros a week, you can borrow an array of interesting products for your child. It's an environmentally friendly way to give your kid more choices (more than 300 different items are currently available in the library), while saving time and money. How did this idea come about?
Nancy Wang (32), the founder of PicoClan, moved from Vancouver to Villach with her husband in 2011. She now has a 2-year-old daughter and is expecting a son. “My husband and I like travelling. At first we planned to stay in Austria for only 2 to 3 years, but Carinthia is so amazing that we are still here almost 6 years later! I had my first baby here and I don’t see any reason to go anywhere else.” When her daughter was young, Nancy met many new mothers, one of whom was Marta Alomar (35) from Barcelona. Marta has also been living in Villach since 2011 and has a daughter 3 months younger than Nancy’s child. With Marta's help, along with feedback from many parents, a new children's business idea was born.
“We realized just how much equipment and toys parents were buying”, Nancy says. “Every age group has its own needs. Parents, grandparents and relatives spend a lot of money on products which are only interesting for children for just a few months or even weeks! Everybody has too many toys at home, but also never enough. What do you do with toys that are now boring and take up space in your home? How do you maintain a good supply of age-appropriate toys to keep children stimulated and entertained, without wasting money? A toy library is the solution.”
Nancy worked at IBM as a software engineer in Canada and had success with an internet business afterwards. The foreign Austrian culture and community was a challenge at first, but European friends like Marta were happy to lend a hand and provide some advice. After gathering thoughts and insights from many parents and friends, PicoClan was developed. Its goal is to encourage children’s development in a fun, clean and sustainable way, without the stress of time, money or space.
How does it work? Join the “community of little people” (this is how the name “PicoClan” can be interpreted) at www.picoclan.at. Borrow the items you like, enjoy them, and return them when they are no longer interesting. Items can be borrowed starting from 0,33 € per week. Hygiene is of utmost importance! Before each rental, PicoClan cleans and sanitizes the items using eco-friendly solutions in a 3-step process that guarantees safety for children.
To help parents further, it is also possible to pay for this service with… your own items. PicoClan will accept branded toys or equipment purchased within the last 3 years and in good condition. You can trade them in for 40% of the current market price, paid in PicoClan credits.
Once or twice a month, PicoClan organizes “toy parties”, inviting parents with children to play and chat together. PicoClan is not just a library, but a sharing club for parents with a new, environmental way of thinking. “We understand that such a new concept needs time to grow. PicoClan is changing every day: we are always searching for new ways to be convenient, attractive and sustainable. We hope that more and more Austrian and international mothers and fathers will believe in the same values, and choose to borrow toys instead of buying them.”