Contributing Author – Ludwina Dautovic, Founder and CEO, The Room Xchange
Why is collaborative consumption making such a difference to the way we live?
Collaborative consumption differs from standard commercial consumption in that the cost of purchasing the good or service is not borne by one individual, but instead is divided across a larger group, as the purchase price is recouped through renting or exchanging. It is the shared use of a good or service by a group, which is a much more effective and sustainable way of consuming goods and services. So how can we harness this to change the way we live?
I remember years ago, watching the neighbours pull out their lawn mowers at random times to mow their yards and nature strips. I thought it was odd that they all needed a lawnmower. I wondered if it would be a more resourceful, cheaper and a friendlier alternative if there was one lawnmower per street block that was purchased, owned and shared by all. That to me is the epitome of collaborative consumption. Imagine, one shared lawn mower has the potential to create friendly neighbours, a local community, minimise costs, minimise consumption and instigate localised support. Imagine what we could do with 7 million spare bedrooms? (Source – Finder.com.au)
I recently re-tenanted my rental property. I always rent it to young adults without a rental history to give them a foot in the door in the rental market. They’re always so grateful that they invite me over. I was so moved by the beauty these Millennials had created in a house that I love. All the items were pre-loved or second hand. What they had managed to create with other people’s unwanted items was extraordinary. With very limited resources they created something they were proud of as it was created from someone else’s waste. Sometimes our best selves come forward when we have nothing. I wonder what the rest of us could create with more of nothing?
I asked one of the co-founders, Ben Hall to tell us about Free60:
“Free60 is an app that connects people with free stuff they no longer need with people who do need it. It makes it super easy to recycle pre loved items that can be used by another member of the community. All you do is simply click, list and load. Your listing will then be offered to 1000’s of Free60 users, prepared to take it off your hands. It helps others, the environment and saves you time and money disposing of pre loved stuff along with minimising landfill.”
When Free60 was conceived, they knew of similar concepts that existed. However, after trialling them they found the user experience cumbersome or the “free” category was not the core business; selling advertisements were. With that in mind they set out to develop a product dedicated to Free stuff via an application that was simple to use. They are very pleased with the first live iteration. Free60 was founded only 18 months ago and has been live on iTunes for 4 months.
It didn’t take us long to work out we both had dual target markets. They have users with the items to get rid of and other users who need it. We have hosts who are the same target group as theirs with the items to give away and guests who are the same as the people who need them. Although the offering differs, the target audiences are the same and compliment each other very well.
There have been a few ways we have partnered on projects as the process has been simple and working with them has been a breeze.
We decided to do a digital billboard together focusing on their users with items and our Host target group. We were both focusing on increasing that sector of our markets so it made sense to partner on the billboard. It was up for a week and featured at the Campberwell Junction in Melbourne.
Ben was talking about getting some postcards printed and dropping them around his local area and at some events that were coming up. When I heard this I asked him if he was interested in going halves on the postcards. My suggestion was that he could have one side and I’d have the other. We agreed to focus on the same target group as the billboard. We used exactly the same designs and delivered them at the same time the billboard was up. I also took some to a speaking event for the South Australian Government which gave Free60 the opportunity to get in front of a new audience that they may not have otherwise been able to.
Ben said that having a similar user profile, meant working with The Room Xchange allowed us to leverage off each other’s established networks and increase communication efficiencies across PR, Media and below the line promotional activity.
They agreed that it was a very simple concept, to align with a like-minded business. Free60 and The Room Xchange both share the belief that collaborative consumption or the ‘Sharing Economy’ is a sustainable economic model for all countries across the globe.
Free60 believes in what goes around comes around. They’re a community dedicated to the idea that sharing is caring, while also being great for the environment and your local community. The Room Xchange’s motto is to #Changingthewaywelive. A perfect match I’d say.
PS – We’re very excited about Ben Hall joining us on our panel at The Room Xchange launch on May 16th 2017 in Melbourne. It’s an industry event, however, we will be opening up invites to the general public in a few days. If you would like to attend, send us an email: email@example.com and if there’s a place available, we’ll be in touch.
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