LENDING LIBRARY INVITES LARAMIE FAMILIES TO PLAY
In the early months of the pandemic, Rhianna Handschu had a newborn baby and a vision for a small business in support of Laramie’s home-bound children and parents. The former preschool teacher knew that young families needed access to quality toys and experiences, so she launched The Nest Toy Library, a membership platform for renting a carefully curated selection of toys, puzzles, and games to support early childhood development.
The online platform features different membership levels, offering various toys for up to two-week rental periods, with three weekly opportunities to return for new toys on “swap days.” Handschu created the lending model to encourage intentional and educational experiences for children. Additionally, it intends to instill a responsibility in parents to offer ranging, age-appropriate toys while saving money and cutting down on environmental impact.
Handschu was directed to the Wyoming Women’s Business Center’s COVID-19 Support Program in the Spring of 2020. She was introduced to an array of free business resources to assist in launching The Nest’s online presence and introduce the new business to Laramie’s families.
“I don’t think that the business would have even been possible without Wyoming Women’s Business Center (WWBC). It was pivotal in getting us what we needed to become a legitimate business,” Handschu said. “Being able to work with a website developer was huge and really the backbone of our business.”
She was partnered with a local website designer to build The Nest’s online library and rental hub and worked with a professional photographer through the WWBC’s B2B Digital Design Services offering. Additionally, she worked one-on-one with Outreach Business Counselor Jessica Brauer on social media and digital marketing.
“Rhianna came to the WWBC with a clear vision of the business she wanted to create,” Outreach Counselor for the COVID-19 Support Program Jessica Brauer said. “Because of this, we were able to point her in the right direction to get started and find resources that best supported a busy mother in tackling the necessary outreach efforts to get a small business off the ground. She was a quick study and dedicated to her new venture, and it shows!”
“I feel more confident in myself as a business owner. It’s been life-changing to have that support. Otherwise, it would have been a much harder road to get where we are at now,” Handschu said. “I feel like if I do hit bumps in the road, there are options. I have people who know what they’re doing in my corner if I need it.”