I recently wrote about how you can rent upscale baby clothes Netflix-style, so I thought it would be interesting to feature a new website for renting special occasion kids clothes. Here is the story of Wooky Baby by founder, Melissa Gayhart.
It all started with a pink Oxford Ralph Lauren dress with lace trim. I was desperate to purchase this dress as part of my daughter’s spring photos. I eagerly watched it on the website and waited for it to go on sale. Eventually, I was able to purchase it on sale for around $35.00 (regular price was $50.00).
Sad to say, while we do have it forever in the photos, she only wore it twice. The idea of Wooky Baby — a clothing rental service — was born.
As I thought more seriously about the idea, I wanted to ensure it was in line with my values and beliefs. The concept of renting children’s clothes not only seemed economical but also supported the idea of living simply.
In my own life, I strive to find ways to simplify and wanted Wooky Baby to do the same for clients. I try to keep the clutter in the playroom to a minimum by purchasing toys resale and then passing them along. I try to minimize the amount of time and energy packing away bin after bin of children’s clothing by buying only clothes that are practical and will get good use.
A clothing rental business seemed like a great way to make unique and fun clothes accessible for those who want to try new outfits, without their child having to wear it repeatedly (which can be difficult to do in the early years) in order for it to be cost-effective. I find that I continue to squeeze my daughter into dresses that are a little too short so that I make sure she is getting a good deal of wear out of them!
While I wanted the concept to be practical for customers, I also wanted it to be fun. We search for unique clothes, which is why not all of our clothes come in every size.
This emphasis on fun is also how the name came to be. The first part of the name, Wooky, actually came from the surname of a family friend. Putting that together with Baby had a funky and fun ring to it that communicated the whimsy I wanted to convey.
What Can You Rent from Wooky Baby?
The final detail I had to carve out was what kind of inventory to rent. Play clothes seemed too accessible; the specialty items (formal wear, costumes, holiday outfits) made the most sense.
For example, my grandmother often buys my daughter gorgeous dresses that she, unfortunately, doesn’t have the occasion to wear more than once or twice (unless she ends up wearing that same outfit for every birthday, holiday, and wedding in one season!). If I could spend $8 renting a dress for the holidays instead of $40 on a purchase (which is conservative for some), I figured I could then use that extra $32 on the important stuff like taking her to a play or registering her for swimming lessons.
A friend of mine used to talk about the cost-per-wear of the boutique items she purchased for herself when we lived in Chicago. But life has changed since then.
Instead of stressing about what I’m wearing out on a Saturday night, I’m focusing on what my daughter is wearing to our next family event. These days my goal is to reduce the cost-per-wear not only of my own daughter’s outfits but all children’s clothes!
How Does Wooky Baby Work?
The Wooky Baby online catalog looks like most retail websites. You can add items to your shopping cart and then check out. There is a $5 flat rate shipping fee which includes the cost of a label to return the items when your child is finished wearing the clothes.
We offer clothing in sizes from 0-3 months to 3T. If the outfits don’t end up fitting your child, no worries. For a one-way shipping fee, we are glad to send you a replacement item.
When you are ready, the clothes can be returned with the supplied shipping bag and label provided via email. All you have to do is put the shipping bag in your mailbox, and it will be picked up by the U.S. postal service.
The items are to be returned after one month. If you would like to keep the items for an additional month, feel free! Your credit card will be charged a monthly recurring fee (per item) until it is returned.
Note from Amy: Melissa would like to offer Frugal Mama readers the rental of 5 free outfits at Wooky Baby. Use coupon code FRUGAL-MAMA by November 14. Thank you, Melissa!
Melissa Gayhart started as a consultant in information technology working in the telecommunications industry. After completing a Master’s in Counseling, the next six years were spent in the field. These two careers, along with becoming a mom, provided a unique perspective that facilitated the launch of Wooky Baby. She is the mother of a spirited three-year-old daughter with a baby on the way in April.