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The Shed is a startup out of Virginia trying to revive the rental-for-everything business

Reducing consumption by expanding the notion of the rental economy and giving people access to tools and equipment has been something of a startup holy grail for some time.

It’s a model that’s worked famously well for fashion and accessories (just ask investors in Rent the Runway), but has had not had the same resonance for white label goods.

The Shed, out of Richmond, Va., hopes to change that.

Launched by Karen Rodgers O’Neil, a longtime marketing executive, and Daniel Perrone, a serial entrepreneur and technology executive whose previous company, BroadMap, was acquired by Apple; The Shed hopes to take the rental model that Home Depot has turned into a billion dollar business line and take it to the masses.

Unlike Home Depot, The Shed touts its presence in eight categories. Stanley Black & Decker is a marquee early partner and the company’s executives said that others have come on board.

“We don’t buy product,” said Perrone. “We take delivery of all the products and rent them out in the local marketplaces where we do business.”

The only thing the manufacturer provides is the products and some servicing starter kit so that The Shed and its employees can manage and maintain the product.

The Shed founders Karen Rodgers O’Neil and Daniel Perrone. Image Credit: The Shed

Since its launch in April the company has expanded beyond its Richmond, Va. home base to Denver — and will be looking to expand further into Portland, Austin, and San Jose, according to Perrone.

Among the features that the company intends to roll out as it expands is a dynamic pricing capability that will enable manufacturers to wring the most out of their goods when they’re in high demand.

Rodgers O’Neil came up with the concept back in 2012 when she was working as a marketing executive for General Electric out of Boston.  Perrone met Rodgers O’Neil at a networking event in Boston and became convinced that her notion of offering more rental options to encourage a more circular economy and reduce consumption was something that could resonate with consumers.

To be sure, The Shed isn’t the first company to attempt to bring the rental business to a broader array of consumer products in an effort to cut down on consumption. The Los Angeles-based startup Joymode was attempting to do much the same thing. That company sold to an early stage investment firm out of New York.

Joymode’s chief executive, Joe Fernandez spoke about the difficulty of running the business. “Part of the thesis was that by making things available for rental, people would want to do more stuff,” said Fernandez, but what happened was that consumers needed additional reasons to use the company’s service, and there weren’t enough events to drive demand.

By contrast, The Shed isn’t owning any of the inventory, just acting as a broker and managing inventory between local retailers and manufacturers who want to take advantage of the company’s service.

In addition to Stanley Black & Decker, companies like Primus camping equipment have placed their products on The Shed along with Mobility Plus, which added wheelchairs and mobility scooters; and Replacements, the largest china dealer in the country, which is offering a “Party in a Box” for dinner, cocktail or tea parties.

To date, the company has raised $1.75 million from investors and entrepreneurs from the Richmond, Va. area. Now, with 60 manufacturers on board and another 15 to 18 vendors signing up monthly, the company is looking to expand even further.

“I joined with Karen because I saw that this would be a game changer in the rental space,” said Perrone. There are a number of retailers in specific verticals that still don’t transact online, so The Shed becomes their avenue to reach the market, he said.

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Red Antler’s Emily Heyward explains how to get people obsessed with your brand

If you’re currently building a startup, you know what product you want to build. But do you know if people are actually going to notice you? That’s the question I asked of Red Antler co-founder Emily Heyward during our virtual TechCrunch Early Stage event.

In case you’re not familiar with Red Antler, Heyward’s branding company has worked with some of the most iconic startups of the past decade, such as Casper, Allbirds, Brandless and Prose. She knows her topic so well that she just wrote a book on branding called “Obsessed.”

Let me break down the key takeaways of her presentation and responses to questions from our virtual audience — we’ve embedded a video below with our entire conversation.

Branding matters — anybody can launch a startup

It has never been easier to launch a startup. If it’s a software company, your infrastructure will be managed by a cloud hosting company. If you’re selling consumer goods, you can find manufacturing partners more easily than ever before.

“There are fewer traditional gatekeepers standing in your way. You don’t need to be able to afford a national TV campaign to get people to notice you and to hear about you. It’s a lot easier to get it out there and start selling directly to people,” Heyward said.

The result is that there are many companies competing in the same space, launching around the same time. Casper isn’t the only online mattress company anymore for instance. Brand obsession can set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

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Creating Marijuana Illustrations for a New Cannabis Culture

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The nature of cannabis illustrations is changing in our modern world. See how today’s trends evolved and discover where these trends are going.

It’s a new, wonderful world for cannabis. When it comes to cannabis media, gone are the days of stoner-bro culture. Thanks to increased …

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3 Ways to Use Stock Photos for Book Cover Designs

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Designing a book cover? There’s no need to create everything from scratch. Learn ways to use stock images, vectors, fonts, and more in your book cover designs.

Using stock photos for book covers lets you mix and merge a huge range of images, from photos to illustrations …

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This End-to-End Design Service for Entrepreneurs Doesn’t Cost a Fortune

Great branding is vitally important to any new business, but hiring a designer and a marketing team can be an unwieldy, impossible expense when you’re just starting out. Fortunately, there are budget-friendly services like Designhill available. This graphic design marketplace gives you access to top designers who can handle any design need for a fraction of the price of hiring an in-house designer. Design Hill can handle any project, from simple logos to branded t-shirts.

Logo Design

Just starting out and aren’t quite sure how to brand yourself? Designhill’s logo design services invite you to describe your business, answer a few simple questions, and they’ll deliver more than 70 designs for your perusal within seven days. You can provide feedback and get as many revisions as you want until you’re satisfied. Once you’ve settled on your choice, you’ll get the source files as well as complete copyright and ownership of the design.

Logo & Brand Identity

A logo is a great start but a brand identity is what helps customers connect with your business. With Designhill, you can answer a few questions and they’ll deliver dozens of designs that will help tell your brand story. You’ll get a logo, business card, and flyer that all work together to explain that story to your audience. Again, once you’ve made your choices, you own the copyright.

PowerPoint

One of the best ways to present your business and communicate your brand to potential investors or customers is through PowerPoint. But many of us are simply not great at PowerPoint. Based on your answers to a few questions, Designhill will help you craft the perfect PowerPoint presentation for any purpose. An experienced designer will work with you through your earliest drafts to a completed, fully animated, beautiful project.

Newsletter Design

Newsletters are a valuable tool for drumming up new business. Whether you want to welcome new customers, send product updates, or provide promotional information, newsletters help you stay in touch with your customers. Of course, you have to catch their attention so they don’t just chuck your newsletter in the trash. Designhill’s designers will work with you to create an amazing newsletter that you can adapt for any purpose.

Packaging Design

Packaging is a customer’s first point of contact with your actual product — and you know what they say about first impressions. Great packaging is extremely difficult to design, but Designhill’s pros will work with you to create a custom design that makes your product memorable and attention-grabbing. No matter how unusual your product is, Designhill will make it work.

Source: Entrepreneur

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Learn Adobe Illustrator and Get Started With Graphic Design

From print and video ads to presentations and pitch decks, graphic designers have their hands in a huge array of projects in an organization. While some companies keep a design team in-house, many bring on contractors to handle their design needs. Either way, graphic designers enjoy flexible, lucrative careers that come with constant creative challenges. Sound intriguing? The 2020 Adobe Illustrator CC Master Class Bundle can teach you the tools you need to know to get started, and it’s on sale for under $40 today.

This six-course, 34-hour bundle takes you on a comprehensive journey into one of the world’s leading design platforms, Adobe Illustrator. You’ll get a crash course in the basics, understanding the nuts and bolts behind Illustrator’s vector editing abilities, while learning how to use the core tools.

From there, you’ll learn how to apply your skills to build user interfaces on web pages and complete real-world projects like flyers and static ads. With that hands-on training, you’ll be able to create actual projects that you can include in a portfolio and send to recruiters.

Finally, in the advanced course, you’ll learn how to streamline your productivity and workflow and complete complex projects from scratch.

Ready to design your way to a brand new career? Normally $284, The 2020 Adobe Illustrator CC Master Class Bundle is on sale now for just $39.99.

Source: Entrepreneur