Being able to rent a stroller, crib, and other childcare equipment when you travel would make taking a trip with little ones just a bit easier. Francis Maier, the founder of BabyQuip, joins Startup Savants to discuss her baby equipment rental business.
- Startup Savants is a business podcast that tells the stories behind up-and-coming startups.
- Francis Maier joins Startup Savants to discuss launching her baby equipment rental business.
- BabyQuip ships all the equipment you need for a trip to wherever you need it – the airport, a hotel, or even your kids’ grandparents’ house.
Meeting a Like-Minded Soul
In a previous career, Francis provided advice to various startups. However, in 2016 she decided to look into founding her own company that would capitalize on the growing gig economy. At the Women’s Startup Lab, a female founder-focused pre-accelerator met the owner of a local baby gear rental business that was looking to expand nationwide. Francis liked this idea because, at the time, no other national company was doing it.
“At that point, there were a lot of companies doing property management and cleaning services and those kinds of things,” she said during her interview with Startup Savants. “But there was nobody else doing [nationwide baby gear rental]. And so she goes through her pitch, and I say, ‘Hey, I think I should be your CEO.’”
They eventually worked out a deal. “I had the gut feeling that this was a startup that I knew I could make successful,” Francis said. “And again, there wasn’t really a whole lot of competition, nothing national. I know how to build trusted brands and, at that point, had … a good network of people who could potentially invest in us. And I did get some really good investment really early that, honestly, I don’t think [my business partner] would’ve been able to get.”
The Importance of Trust, Partnerships
BabyQuip’s mission is to help ease the load on parents who normally would have to travel with a truckload of equipment for their infant or toddler. Instead, they can just rent it. BabyQuip will deliver whatever is needed to the family’s preferred destination.
“Traveling with babies and all that baby gear, car seats, strollers, et cetera, is really, really hard,” Francis told Startup Savants. “And families, especially millennial parents, really want to travel, want to take their kids, want to take those photos, want to have those Instagram memories, want to spend time together, and of course, especially post-pandemic. And what we do is make it easy for families to pack light and travel happily.”
Of course, when you’re talking about renting childcare equipment, trust is paramount. Parents need to know that the gear they rent is safe, clean, and properly functioning. “From the very start, I knew that trust was the number one thing that we had to deliver on,” she said. “And so we put a lot of investment into developing trust.”
BabyQuip has had a great year, and it’s looking to expand even more in 2023. “We want to be where our customers are traveling, wherever they’re traveling,” she said. Right now, the company has clients in most of the US, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. It would love to expand into the Caribbean and even Australia. One strategy that will help, Francis said, is to form partnerships with other national brands. For example, BabyQuip is currently working with VRBO, Destination Hotels By Hyatt, and other hospitality companies.
Startup Savants Podcast
The Startup Savants podcast is a business podcast created by The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC). Listeners can hear the stories behind startups, as told by their founders who are in the midst of growing their companies.
Ethan, an entrepreneur, and Annaka, a branding expert, host the Startup Savants podcast. They bring disparate skills and life experiences to their interviews, providing listeners with important business insights and a holistic perspective on the startup ecosystem.
Hear from a variety of real startup founders from around the globe and with varying backgrounds, making their startup idea a reality. Learn from experts sharing their industry knowledge on venture capital, securing funding, and more on the Startup Savants podcast.
In her interview with Startup Savants, Francis Maier talks about her journey in founding BabyQuip. She discusses where the idea came from, how the company has grown, plans for the future, and valuable lessons learned.