Two Female-Led Triangle Startups Partnering To Help Make Parenting Easier

Nurtured Nest Founder and CEO Kathryn Dunn (left) and Tiny Earth Toys Founder and CEO Rachael Classi are teaming up to bring parents insights into their children's development and needs.

Parenting will always be hard. But a new strategic partnership between two Triangle-based, female-founded, parent-focused startups aims to make it easier and more fulfilling for both parents and kids. 

Durham-based Tiny Earth Toysa subscription toy rental service—is teaming up with Holly Springs-based Nurtured Nest, an online service that provides parenting classes based on a wide variety of parenting and child development topics. When users subscribe to Tiny Earth Toys’ service, they will now also have the option to choose Nurtured Nest’s classes. 

“The classes from Nurtured Nest are what I wish I had when I started my parenting journey,” said Rachael Classi, Founder and CEO of Tiny Earth, in a press release. “Led by truly exceptional leaders in early childhood health and education, you will walk away with new knowledge to help you in your parenting journey.”

Tiny Earth Toys’ mission is to eliminate mass-produced, plastic toy waste and build a society of environmental stewards. As the world’s first circular toy subscription business, parents can purchase affordable and sustainable toys to not only grow their children’s development, but also to build toward a more eco-friendly future for toys. (We previously featured them in January 2021 and they were honored as one of GrepBeat’s Startups to Watch in 2021.)

Nurtured Nest provides online, on-demand parenting classes—created by child development and health experts—that are full of highly accessible and sustainable information to help parents find joy and understanding instead of overwhelm during their personal parenting adventure. The startup offers a wide variety of classes and topics about stages from pregnancy to preschool. (We previously wrote a profile on Nurtured Nest in Oct 2021).

Toys play a crucial role in children’s development. Since Tiny Earth Toys offers a convenient and cost-effective way for parents to provide their children with a variety of educational toys, its partnership with Nurtured Nest will allow parents to enhance their understanding of their child’s growth and development. 

Nurtured Nest’s Founder and CEO Kathryn Dunn said this collaboration can transform the way parents not only shop for their children but also understand them. Parenting is hard. As much as parents are told it comes naturally, Dunn said that it can be especially difficult for parents of babies and toddlers, when it’s often hard to interpret what a child needs.

That’s why she wanted to offer classes that deep-dived into topics about child development. But she has discovered that there’s also a need to educate on the potential value of parenting classes in general, aside from the specific content of a given class.

“There is a stigma around taking a parenting class because that must mean they are horrible parents, because it’s supposed to come naturally,” Dunn said. “It doesn’t work like that and it never will. Our kids will have that same realization when they’re parents, too.” 

Through this partnership, Dunn and Classi hope to drive stigma away from the idea of parenting classes and increase the accessibility to courses and information that will help parents connect to their children better. With Nurtured Nest’s research-backed courses and Tiny Earth’s educational, age-specific toys that grow alongside children, the pairing will enable parents to better understand their children’s growth and development, all while promoting a reduced carbon footprint and decluttered spaces in homes. 

Tiny Earth Toys is currently offering Nurtured Nest classes on its website as additional products that users can add to their cart. Nurtured Nest is also offering a Tiny Earth Toys-sponsored course where parents can gain deeper understandings of their baby’s brain, utilize the new awareness of the daily interactions their children need, apply new skills of play, and feel confident in their interactions with their kids. This sponsored course can expand Nurtured Nest’s access to the ever-growing baby toy market, which is projected to reach $19.8B in 2023. 

“We hope this partnership ushers in additional resources for caregivers whether that is classes, live events, coaching and content support,” Classi told GrepBeat via email. “Overall our goal is to provide the most supportive environment for new parents. Early parenthood was incredibly stressful for me. I felt like I was constantly researching every new thing I encountered as a parent. In the absence of family nearby I could have used a supportive community just like Nurtured Nest is building.”

About Kaitlyn Dang 50 Articles
Kaitlyn is a reporter covering tech startups and entrepreneurs. Before starting at GrepBeat, she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in media and journalism in May 2023. She has written for The Daily Tar Heel. In her spare time, she likes going to concerts and going on nature walks.