The first time a pregnant Allyson Downey walked into a Babies “R” Us, the trip ended in tears. “I was completely unprepared to make a decision about the 45 car seats I saw in front of me,” she recalled. “It just gave me this overwhelming sense of panic.”
When she got home, she emailed a few parent friends for product recommendations, and to her amazement, they sent back Excel spreadsheets and Word docs bursting with notes. A light turned on for the Columbia business school grad. “Anytime someone’s using an Excel document to manage their life, you know that’s an area that’s ripe for disruption,” Allyson says.
From there, weeSpring — the first social review site for baby products — was born. Think short, to-the-point reviews from people you actually know. Since its start early this year, weeSpring has amassed more than 50,000 product ratings. For individual products, it gets more reviews than BuyBuyBaby and Diapers.com combined, and is poised to surpass Amazon in the number of baby product reviews within six months. We spoke to Allyson about what’s ahead.
Let’s say you log in and are looking for car seats. Instead of seeing 380,000 results on Amazon, which is what I saw the last time I looked, you see first the two that your friends love most. So I see that my former coworker Sarah says, “This is the easiest installation of any car seat.” It’s a really short comment, and that’s where we see the power in this — you don’t have to sit through all the information that’s irrelevant; all I need to know is that it’s easy to install, and that someone I know says so. That’s it. My friend Katherine from study abroad says, “Suck it up, spend the money and just get the seat.” Again, all I need to know.
You can also see who among your friends “love” it, who “regrets” it and who has it but is just neutral on it. You can also click through and see a friend’s entire list of all the products that she’s rated on weeSpring.