Last March we brought you the news that there would be a new gear rental house in town, but it wouldn’t operate how you’re used to seeing. Nope, Parachut was changing things. Their plan was to be able to develop specific kits that would be delivered depending on your taste and skill level, with the system getting smarter the longer you used it. There would be no per-product costs, but instead just a subscription that lets you swap out your gear for new things any time you wanted.
It was a bold plan, and was met with some healthy skepticism. But a mere four months later, and Parachut has announced that they are entering beta, and founders Melissa and Philip Niu look like they’re making this dream, this highly unusual rental dream, come to life. Based in the greater Salt Lake City area, the husband and wife team looks like they’ve cleaned up their marketing, straightened out their messaging and is ready to hit the ground running.
After thousands of submissions and reserved members, Parachut gathered and chose early adopters as a test group for ramping up operations to begin shipping gear.
The last few months, the Parachut team has been developing systems to allow the operational flow of the warehouse to be streamlined so that it can scale for massive growth. This system will assist warehouse personnel to fill each ‘Chut Drop (that’s what they’re calling each box of gear) with gear from the member’s wish list and also make sure the expert does not fill the unit with something the member has already tried.
Though they are currently working out of a small (albeit amazingly sweet looking space), the team has plans to soon relocate to their future home: a large converted factory in the Salt Lake Area.
Rather than call themselves a rental house, they’re going with the “rental club” language, which should help abate the cognitive dissonance that skeptics were struggling with. It’s also a marketing term that has seen great success in the shaving space, for example. This former marketer thinks the language adjustment is smart, and should work to their advantage.
“We are not a rental company. We are a ‘creative’s portal to adventure through gear exploration’ company.” – Philip Niu, Co-?Founder & CEO
If you were curious about what you specifically received in a ‘Chut drop (one of the more common questions), the team has released what they expect would come in a “typical” delivery:
“In every ‘Chut Drop, you can expect a full unit to create,” Melissa and Philip said regarding their service. “Lets say you want to try the new Sony A7r II. We will be sure to send you a great lens and memory card to go with it. This means that your ‘Chut Drop contains a full package unit to go without you having to purchase something new. Now this can also mean that in another ‘Chut Drop unit, if you already own a camera body that you love but only added high?end, premium lenses to your wish list, we’ll send along a premium lens for you to try with other camera bodies that you already have in your bag. The possibilities and combinations of gear that will arrive in your ‘Chut drop are endless.”
For example, this is an example of what one box could contain:
- DJI Phantom 4 Drone with memory card
- Sony a6300 with 35mm Zeiss lens and memory card
- Fuji XT?1 with 70?200mm lens and memory card
- Leica M7 with 50mm Summicron lens with various Kodak, Fuji, Lomography film samples
- Canon 300mm f2.8L (premium lens)
That is not bad at all for a single package. In fact, that’s way better than even I was expecting.
If you already reserved a spot but have not been invited to be a part of beta, your spot is held and you will receive an invitation to activate your account this coming fall of 2016 (a time when Parachut is calling you a founding member). To become a founding member, fill out your photography profile and wish list at www.Parachut.co.
For a full breakdown of how Parachut works, make sure you check out our initial story on the breakthrough gear club.