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ShareStuff and the growth of peer-to-peer platforms

A Far North Queensland startup is hoping to encourage sustainability and affordability with its sharing platform, and has in turn highlighted the growth of collaborative consumption.

Currently operating after a soft launch within the Cairns and Tablelands regions, ShareStuff works as an online marketplace for users looking to rent out household objects. The team won last year’s Startup Weekend Cairns under the name Sharematey and, after further market validation at theSPACE’s preaccelerator program, are currently looking to expand the company and consumer base.

“People buy things they don’t need, they buy things to use it once or twice and then it just lies around the house gathering space,” ShareStuff’s marketing adviser Cameron Jackson (top right) said. “The idea behind this project is to encourage people to share their stuff, just as the name suggests, to get away from hoarding things.”

“It’s a combination of how society is going, where people can’t afford to lash out on things,” he said. “Combined with the fact that people are being a bit more environmentally aware and not wanting to buy things then throw them away.”

While there are many online portals that promote peer-to-peer consumption, notably Gumtree and eBay, the community-minded ShareStuff focuses exclusively on sharing. Items range from lawnmowers to ball gowns, and rent on a day-by-day basis.

On top of being economically appealing, this system encourages the conservation of resources and highlights changing consumer behaviours. As Brand Ba.se’s Sarah Ammerman argues, the success of collaborative consumption businesses like Airbnb have helped foster this “sharing economy,” where consumers are increasingly becoming empowered to interact with other consumers.

These platforms have the aforementioned economic and environmental benefits, but have to overcome a different set of issues, such as a trust between strangers

While ShareStuff is well-placed to benefit from this trend, the team has intentionally kept a low profile until now, with friends and family making up most of the consumer base. But with a new site and refocused team,  Jackson believes the startup is now ready to grow both capital and consumers with, respectively, an upcoming Kickstarter campaign and media push.

“The reason we’re talking [now] is because we’re confident with the actual site, that it’s stable and going to support several hundred people jumping online,” Jackson said. “[We will] start in Cairns and Atherton, and stretch to Townsville and places like that.”

“The plan is to go Australia wide, my thought is to go somewhere like Melbourne, where you have a large university student audience to target,” he said. “Of course, world domination is the goal.”

Digitally-altered image courtesy of Cameron Jackson. You can find updates on ShareStuff and the Kickstarter campaign at their Facebook site.

About Chris Woods

Chris Woods (@tophermwoods) is the Tech Street Journal's Editor-in-Chief. He lives in Brisbane, has worked in places like Sydney and New York (State of), and will someday update his media-news blog.