Save The Planet Playing

Green Leaf Toys

As they prepared for their baby’s arrival, Larissa Tedesco and her husband Jean looked for sustainable alternatives for everything they would need as new parents. As a passionate environmentalist, Larissa was excited to continue her sustainability journey into parenthood, but they struggled to find toy rental options in Australia. Having discovered similar businesses in other countries around the world, they set out to introduce the idea closer to home and Green Leaf Toys was born, Australia’s first toy rental service with a curated library of sustainably-sourced toys. Their circular system helps parents worry less and enjoy their kids more with less clutter at home and easy access to high-quality, sustainable and safe toys. Offering open-ended play, their toys allow for more engaging, creative and happy children, while helping save the planet at the same time. Here Larissa talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the passion behind Green Leaf Toys and their hopes and dreams for the future.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?

I’ve been a passionate environmental activist for the past 10 years, and when it was time to start our family, I was looking for alternatives for the impending doom of toys I could see scattered through our living room. Here on the Gold Coast, Australia, there aren’t many toy libraries and I knew that a toy rental existed here before but I couldn’t find it. I was looking for options and found something similar in the US and UK, so I thought, why not bring it to Australia too? Green Leaf Toys is now Australia’s first sustainable toy rental subscription and I’m very proud to bring this concept to life here. I truly believe Australia has great potential to become more sustainable and we want to be a part of that.

The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?

It took me a while to get started, mainly because I needed to build a website and inventory in order to offer a functional rental service. It took us 9 months to launch so I guess that’s why I feel like it’s my second baby. We launched in November 2023 so things are still quite slow, but I know that it’s a slow process for small businesses, especially when there’s just so much education on our part to provide to our customers. It’s a new concept and although people are used to subscriptions by now, we are also facing a cost of living crisis, so there are a lot of barriers to break and minds to change.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?

I think I’m still waiting for my biggest breakthrough but already knowing that we are so well received by the public is what makes me believe in our mission and future. Renting toys seems a little foreign for some people, but as parents, we know the toys we buy for our kids live very short lives, so offering a more sustainable option to buying new is something I think is enticing to parents. Plus, as the circular economy starts to go mainstream, people will naturally look for circular solutions for their everyday problems. We are just trying to pioneer this concept here in Australia.

Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?

It’s tough at the moment as I’m still juggling full-time work with working on my business and looking after my family (our 3-year-old daughter). It’s especially hard because as mums we always want to be there for our kids, but the mum guilt is very real! I also hope I find a balance where I can include some extra room for rest. It’s not easy and it’s a constant juggle but there’s a lot of room for improvement and I’m optimistic that we will find our groove soon.

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