TULU offers tenants access to household products – COOL HUNTING®


Available in New York and Tel Aviv, TULU provides household items to those living in nearby neighborhoods or without a flexible budget. Everyday products (from vacuum cleaners to Playstation consoles, screwdrivers, projectors, etc.) are available on demand, for hourly use, through a rental contract established with the company and hosted in a storage room within your building. TULU occupies these spaces within apartment complexes or in neighborhood buildings to make the necessary goods much more accessible.

Comprised of an intercontinental team of data analysts, buyers, community managers and designers, TULU as a company relies on user feedback to replicate its successful businesses in more cities. To better understand how the company turns such a simple process into an in-depth study of city life, we spoke with Yael Shemer, Marketing Director of TULU, MIT University designX Accelerator, about consumer habits, from design to design for improving individuals and the wider community. , and more.

How was TULU conceptualized? Was it founded to solve your own needs?

Yishai Lehavi (CEO of TULU) and I met through an entrepreneurial program called Our Generation Speaks at MIT’s designX accelerator, where the seeds were sown for what would become TULU. We came to the program with the same motivation: to take advantage of the fact that people live close to each other in the city. We soon realized that there was great potential in the basic unit of city life: residential buildings. Yishai, as an architect, brought the physical angle and I, as an environmental entrepreneur and community organizer, brought social value.

After a process of trial and error, we were able to refine the idea that was there from the start: instead of each tenant having their own drill, vacuum or Playstation, we would allow all tenants access to high quality products in a 24/7 smart rental rooms located in their buildings. In a way, we created TULU with our team for a cause we believe in, which is to reduce consumption and waste, promote a more sustainable way of life for city dwellers, while looking at spaces differently and wondering: to be used for? ‘

How to go about placing a TULU room in a building? A tenant requests it? Does the owner of the building? Is it through your own radiation?

At first we approached building management but luckily there is good word of mouth and building owners see the benefits of providing TULU as a tenant convenience. In a matter of months, we’ve launched nine buildings in New York City and partnered with some of the city’s strongest real estate players. After six months in New York City buildings, we can now show how our service is used more than the gym in the building and adds value to the lives of their tenants.

What types of places need a TULU room the most? Buildings with families in city-sized apartments? Homeowners with a TULU “hangar” where neighbors can enter and avoid going to a distant specialty store?

We are seeing two big changes in big cities over the past decade, one being that apartments are getting smaller and more people are renting them out instead of buying and secondly there is has a new type of tenant who is a dynamic person who wants to access high-end products but often does not have the room for it. Young professionals move once a year on average, so there’s really no incentive to hoard loads of household stuff. TULU is perfect for large apartment buildings with tenants in dense neighborhoods like the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, and Hell’s Kitchen. We are also successful in dorms, where students who live in a small room see these benefits as well. So far, they have been our biggest early adopters and are very open to the concept of affordable rental and on-demand access.

Our user base is mainly made up of young professionals and couples, as well as a few families. We also have a project in a TLV neighborhood, working with the municipality, and will soon be launching a flagship TULU room at Wix headquarters where employees can rent things for the night or weekend after work.

What types of items are in TULU rooms and how do the prices work?

We provide high quality products that you want to have, but don’t necessarily want to own or can’t afford. We provide cleaning products, such as vacuum cleaners and Roombas; cooking products like the KitchenAid air fryer, waffle iron and blender; hospitality products (a projector, folding chairs and tables, and board games) as well as a printer and electric scooters and bicycles.

Our members choose a package and each time they use a product it is deducted from their account. Our prices are very affordable and are a few dollars an hour. We also have a day pass and a weekend pass for longer rentals. Our Away suitcases are rented for the weekend or for short trips with a fixed price as well.

Due to the changes since COVID-19, and as people are spending more time at home, we have also made adaptations and launched the TULU Shop, a suite of multiple shelves in the TULU room for purchasing basic goods. for the home such as paper and wipes with almond milk, pasta and soap.

What were the most popular items? Do the comments tell you what you are storing?

The most popular products are Dyson vacuums, electric scooters, printers (you print in the TULU room) and projectors. The drill is also a superstar. People rent VR sets for weeknights, PS4s for the whole weekend. When COVID-19 started, we saw a spike in boxes of drills and tools, assuming people were finally able to repair or do a DIY project. During those weird days, we’ve also seen some unusual uses not only in volume, but also in the way items are used. In one building, a neighbor decided to use the projector together and opened an outdoor cinema for the whole building to enjoy from their windows.

There is a feature in the app that offers ideas for other products, and we continue to receive ideas from users who just want to participate in this process (some of the ideas we have adopted!). The most exciting feedback comes from users sharing with us in various special situations where TULU has helped them. For example, a tenant in one of our buildings had to accommodate her family immediately after giving birth and rented our air mattresses; a lovely couple who just before their wedding took social distancing and had to throw a small wedding at their home rented the karaoke machine and chairs.

We are launching more new chambers in New York City, continuing to provide New Yorkers with access to products that are satisfactory and necessary for today’s needs and, therefore, to shape the behavior of consumers of tomorrow.

Images courtesy of Yael Shemer / TULU


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