Montreal Mom Develops VarageSale
VarageSale is the world’s safest online buy and sell community
Fed up with the online buy and sell scene, Tami Zuckerman took matters into her own hands.
Tami was a West Island teacher making room for a baby in the way that most women do: buying and selling items to prepare. However, a handful of bad experiences on Craigslist and Kijiji left her feeling frustrated with the lack of accountability on these anonymous community selling sites. “I never did that again,” she said.
Next, Tami turned to social media. “It was awesome because you could see who they were,” she said. “But that was disorganized.” She had found her niche. “I wanted to build something that was organized and safe. That’s how VarageSale was born.” With a developer for a husband, Tami’s idea quickly turned into the first community of VarageSale: Vaudreuil in Montreal.So how does it work?
Members sign up with their Facebook profiles to join their closest community. An admin in each community curates the experience of VarageSale by confirming the profile of the requested membership. Already, VarageSale promotes accountability. “You are who you say you are,” Zuckerman said. People can see who you are and the community you want to buy and sell in. “VarageSale is not an anonymous app at all.” Overall, “It makes for a safer environment.”
Your first community is usually the one nearest to your home, but members are allowed to join a few. For example, members may join the community near their work as well.
Since its creation in 2012, VarageSale has received an overwhelming response, followed by extreme growth. “We’ve had an extremely positive response,” said Zuckerman. “Our demographic is 85% women. Lots of women with young families. It seems to be a movement.” These members feel much safer buying and selling within their direct community because they can see who each transaction will be with.
Now, “VarageSale is all over North America. We have over 2000 communities,” Zuckerman said. “VarageSale is the largest mobile-first app in Canada.” The VarageSale app makes impulse browsing even easier: “90% of our users are on mobile, so most of our users are checking back every day.”
How does she do it?
While Tami isn’t a developer, she’s learned a few tricks of the trade along the way. In the beginning, she was an expert in understanding the needs of her users. “I built it for myself,” she said. “I was one of them. I was able to work on the product and work with the developers to meet the needs of the members.” From there, she learned to manage both communities and investors.
“This was a career shift for me. I was a teacher, but then all of a sudden I was raising a baby and a start-up at the same time,” said Zuckerman. “That became a bit of a work in progress. Five years later, I think I’ve figured it out. I feel passionate about what I do.”
Tami finds passion in providing a product that her users love. She also finds passion in creating communities, influencing social interactions, and watching VarageSale claim the title of “the safer place to buy and sell.” Tami said: “It’s definitely overwhelming sometimes, but the reward outweighs the challenge.”
Where will VarageSale go next?
“Anything you work on in life, you need to care about it for it to work out,” said Zuckerman. “I care a whole lot about keeping the product alive, I care about the members who use the products, and I also care so much about the staff who built the product. I think that shines through in everything.”
Tami also cares about increasing the accountability of her members. She wants VarageSale users to follow through with sales. “We are building a feature to prevent no-shows from happening.” This feature will add yet another layer of safety and accountability.
Are you using VarageSale? Join your local community to start shopping!
By: Jillian Clark – mtltimes.ca