When the urge to go camping strikes as the weather warms up, there’s no need to buy a tent and let it accumulate dust in your already overstuffed closet for the 360 days a year you don’t use it.
Joymode, a Los Angeles-based startup that launched in 2015 and raised $14 million in its most recent funding round, offers users the ability to go camping, host a dinner party or deep-clean their homes without buying the necessary equipment. Subscribers pay $22 to $29 per month, depending on how many months they commit to, to rent out one bundle of items each week that they might not be able to store in their homes or afford to buy.
The startup now has more than 100,000 registered users across the Los Angeles area, and founder and CEO Joe Fernandez attributes Joymode’s popularity to a cultural shift away from owning excess possessions. That could be driven by the increasing thriftiness of consumers shouldering more expensive education and healthcare, as well as the rising cost of housing in urban areas that drives them into smaller apartments.
“Historically, people have been focused on ownership and it’s been a status symbol. There wasn’t a way other than owning stuff to have access to it,” Fernandez said. “People care more about experiences now, but you still need products to have them. Joymode gives people access to products that they don’t have to own.”
The company allows users to transform how they use their leisure time, he said.
“People tell us “I never thought of paddleboarding or doing a lobster boil or having poker night but because of Joymode I can just push a button and it comes to me”,” he said. “Enabling those in real life moments with friends and family without the consumption hangover of debt, clutter and environmental impacts is a world we’re really excited to help create.”
Fernandez said he relocated from San Francisco to Los Angeles to build the company because it encompasses many different lifestyles, from the beach culture in Santa Monica and Venice to the family lifestyle in Pasadena.
“Santa Monica has always been a really big area for us,” he said. “Having lived here myself, you have access to the outdoors but you usually have a really tight living space, so it feels like a great fit for Joymode.”
Sunset Park resident Meaghan Haas signed up for Joymode about two years ago and said she has tried out a variety of experiences that require equipment she wouldn’t want to own, such as hosting a shrimp boil, viewing parties of Dodgers games and an upcoming first birthday party for her son.
“My family lives a pretty minimalist lifestyle and we don’t want a lot of things, especially things we only use a couple of times a year,” Haas said. “We live in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica that we love and don’t want to leave, but we don’t have a lot of space. Joymode lets us try all these entertainment options without spending a lot of money or dealing with storage.”
Fernandez said the service has been particularly popular with families.
“Every weekend you’re trying to entertain your kids, and our subscribers don’t have to keep buying more stuff and filling up their homes,” he said.
Joymode has added new features since she became a subscriber, Haas said. The company’s model since its launch has been to deliver items on Thursday or Friday and pick them up after the weekend, and Haas sometimes wanted to keep bundles for a few more days. The company now allows users to extend their time with a bundle if no one else has booked it.
Fernandez said another big change is coming soon.
“In less than two weeks, we’ll be able to pick up and drop off bundles any day of the week,” he said.
Joymode is continuing to expand throughout the Los Angeles area and hopes to reach San Diego by the end of the year, Fernandez said. The company is anticipating to set up shop in cities outside of Southern California early next year.