Canada’s 1st Baby Gear Marketplace Secures Major Expansion Investment

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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Rebelstork, Canada’s first managed baby gear marketplace, has recently raised $2 million in seed funding from a group of ultra-high net worth investors that will fuel the company’s future growth.

The concept allows the online buying and selling of expert-curated quality baby gear at reduced prices.

“Parents today are looking for affordability and sustainability, without having to compromise on style, convenience or safety standards, and Rebelstork is able to deliver,” said Emily Hosie, CEO and Founder of Rebelstork, which is based in Toronto. “Our investors recognize that Rebelstork is well positioned to own part of the growing $2.1 billion Canadian used baby goods market and our month over month growth has demonstrated our ability to do so.”

The concept launched July 8, 2019. Hosie said the online marketplace enables the buying and selling of overstock, open box, and quality used baby gear.

“We basically take the haggle and the hassle out of the transaction. We have our custom algorithm. So from a seller’s standpoint they book a pick up, we go pick up their items and all of the items are priced using our proprietary algorithm that I built. It sets fair market value based on market demand for that brand, the age of the item, the condition of the item, a whole bunch of things and as soon as their items are sold we obviously ship it out to the new buyer,” said Hosie.

“And from a buying standpoint it’s just like the convenience of shopping online at any retailer.”

Hosie has an extensive background in retail trend buying and merchandising with Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks off Fifth in New York City, Holt Renfrew, and TJX Canada (Winners & Marshalls).

When she was pregnant with her first son and on maternity leave, she had items that she wasn’t using and was trying to get rid of them.

“I thought this was actually insane. The only options I had were Kijiji or Facebook marketplace. I didn’t want to do that. So that’s where I kind of built the idea and then it took me obviously a while to go from business plan to raising capital to actually launching it,” explained Hosie. “The idea really came from my own personal experience and just knowing the retail environment and wondering well why if everything else can be so convenient and new parents are the ones so starved for time, this is crazy that these are our options.”

She said the recent seed funding allows the company to scale and to grow. The company is hiring and has hired six people in the past six months.

“COVID has actually been amazing for our business and so who knew I was building a pandemic-proof business when I set out. We already ship products nationally but we’re going to be expanding our pick up services nationally so it’s really to scale across the country for the most part. And marketing of course,” she said of the investment.

The company says Rebelstork’s engaged buyer base means that the average Rebelstork seller makes $400 on a four-item pickup within a short 48 hours of the listings going live.

Rebelstork is a certified pending B Corporation with a mission to reduce the “stuff burden” on the next generation and make parenting lighter.

Hosie said the vision for the company includes being a household name and being a destination for parents to shop for their babies or kids.

“But also a household name for when you’re ready to part with your items,” she said. “That’s a goal. At the same time, I think the whole baby industry is quite old school and I think it needs to kind of step up with the times of what’s happening in the rest of the retail industry which is people don’t just shop all one avenue. They don’t just shop all brand names. They don’t just shop all second hand. It’s a mixed bag.

“So if we can be a destination where people are able to do that and they can buy overstock items at a deal that it’s brand new but also in their cart they’re buying something that’s quality used that’s kind of the way new parents are shopping today anyways so we’re just allowing it to happen in one spot.”

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