Happy Third Birthday: Here are Some Surprises!
BabyQuip was born 3 years ago to solve a growing problem: Traveling with babies, luggage and all the baby gear you need to have a safe, fun and restful family vacation is challenging. Sometimes it’s impossible. I knew from my own experience renting rooms and homes on Airbnb that how we work and travel was changing. What would happen if we tapped into these changes with a laser focus on making family travel easier? Could we also design a better paying and more rewardable way to side hustle.
The answer was BabyQuip, a fast-growing company that offers a meaningful side hustle to Quality Providers and goes above and beyond to help families more easily travel to destinations across the US and Canada. BabyQuip is continuing to grow as quickly as any healthy, happy and curious three-year-old.
Here are some milestones we hit as a two-year-old.
- 400+ markets across the US & Canada
- Nearly 500 amazing Quality Providers (QPs)
- More than 20,000 orders served
- Over 1,000,000 hours of peaceful baby sleep in our cribs and pack ‘n plays
- 485,000 miles experiencing a vacation destination
- 400,000 hours of happy playtime
- Average income for QPs: $500 per month
- 82 Net Promoter Score (that’s world class!)
I’m often asked, what has surprised you about the BabyQuip journey? So here we go:
Building BabyQuip is as much fun as building Match.com!
You may not know it, but Match was my first startup back when only five percent of US adults were even using the internet. No doubt, launching and building the leading online dating business and forever changing the way people find love was a blast. We made history, and were responsible for a lot of new babies in the world too! That was fun. There’s a new book out called The Players Ball chronicling building Match during those wild early days of the Internet. You’ll see me described as a “brash young mother.” BabyQuip reminds me of Match in many ways: Not only are we a marketplace but we are having a real impact on people’s lives.
BabyQuip’s Quality Providers (QPs) are amazing!
One of the key questions I had, when we started BabyQuip, was how hard would it be to find great Providers? The big surprise here is that we’ve got an amazing group of dedicated, innovative, service-oriented and collaborative Providers. If I’m feeling the need for a bit more motivation, I go to BabyQuip’s private Mastermind community and read their posts about how they’ve helped families in need or worked together to solve a problem. Sometimes they share a new idea, like “Egg My Yard,” an Easter holiday service where Providers stuffed eggs with candy or toys and scattered them in a customer’s yard for family egg hunts.
I love seeing their families too and pics showing how they packed their cars, which can be a Tetris-like challenge. In addition, our QPs are a diverse lot, and their different perspectives and backgrounds help us better meet the needs of our equally diverse customers. This is the most happy surprise!
BabyQuip’s customers share their love for our service.
One of our investors was a customer first, experiencing BabyQuip several times on visits to his and his wife’s parents’ homes. He described to me that it’s “an amazing sense of relief” to know that they and their small children will be able to have the baby gear they need to enjoy these visits. I also read the reviews and parents and grandparents continuously praise our Providers. In a recent customer survey, 62% said they felt BabyQuip “saved their vacation.” Should this have surprised me? I remember how difficult it was traveling with young kids. Travel is so important to Millennial parents. They love the ability to pick up and go and they are more than comfortable with “sharing economy” services.
Every market is a BabyQuip market.
BabyQuip’s first market was Santa Fe, NM, population 85,000, a tourist destination to the “City Different.” Many people assume BabyQuip is just needed in big markets and big tourist destinations – yes these are good markets for us, we love Florida, Hawaii, California and New York. But Santa Fe remains one of our strongest markets and is joined by other markets such as Reno, Charleston, Cle Elum, Savannah and many more mid-sized to small cities. Families travel everywhere, and traveling with babies presents unique challenges.
Name changing is really hard.
Seems like it was years ago, but it was only in early July, that we changed our name. Our name change was certainly BabyQuip’s “terrible twos”! It was difficult and at times frustrating, but a necessary part of our growth. Other founders warned me that a name change would be hard, and I somewhat dismissed them. I was wrong. It was both painful and expensive and yet absolutely necessary. Changing our name to BabyQuip forced us to revamp our approach to SEO which will have ongoing benefits. As we move more aggressively to build our brand and form new partnerships, we need a name that works hard for us.
So what’s next as we move out of toddlerhood?
Like most three-year-olds, we are continuing to learn and grow, and we love adventure! You’ll see some new product enhancements this year and more strategic partnerships. You’ll also see the continued growth of the BabyQuip business and brand.
Our goal is to make sure all parents know that they can turn to BabyQuip to “Pack Light. Travel Happy.”
On a final note, it takes a village to build a company, introduce a new business category and quickly grow the leading brand. The village behind BabyQuip is a talented, passionate and hard working team. Nicole heads up our thriving and busy community and also drives business to our providers with her excellent demand gen work. Jen drives our brand through her great content and social media work. Joe, Tania and the offshore team keep our site running and looking terrific, add new features and improve our back office for our Quality Providers. Ana does critical work with onboarding and so much more! Sarah F. grows our distribution partnerships and Trish handles the press. Some of BabyQuip’s QPs have also stepped up and made spectacular contributions this year. These incredible women include Sarah H., Bethany, Blair, Kaylee, Kathy, Kim, Jennifer and Amanda, to name a few.
Fran Maier is CEO and Founder of BabyQuip, the leading baby gear rental service and marketplace. She is a serial entrepreneur and brand builder with nearly 25 years experience in B2C and B2B internet businesses. She is best known for her 10+ years leading TRUSTe (now TrustArc), the leading privacy trustmark and solutions provider, and as Co-Founder and first General Manager of Match.com.
Fran speaks widely on several topics relating to women in business, including opportunities for women in the collaborative economy, addressing the lucrative family travel segment, women in entrepreneurship and on boards. She serves as an advisor to many start-ups including Ruby Ribbon, Portfolia, Women’s Start-up Lab, Sign-up.com, Kango, and Dabbl.