Tami Zuckerman, 36 began VarageSale in 2012 when she was in the nesting phase of her pregnancy. Over the past 3 years, her website has grown to millions of members across 42 states in the US and Canada. You can find VarageSale in Charlotte proper, Huntersville, Gastonia, Concord, Statesville, Hickory Region and more. This is how she got started:
Q. What is VarageSale?
A. VarageSale is a virtual garage sale for your phone. With the VarageSale app, families can buy and sell affordable secondhand items in their neighborhoods.
Q. How did you get the idea?
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A. I was pregnant with my son and in nesting mode, so I started buying and selling items locally. The experience was totally broken, so I convinced my programmer husband, Carl Mercier, to collaborate on a user-friendly mobile app that offered a better user experience than existing classifieds sites or social networks.
Q. What kind of items were you selling when you created the site?
A. At that time I was clearing the house in preparation for my son. I sold lots of purses, shoes and household items.
Q. How does VarageSale work?
A. VarageSale is free and easy to use:
First, users should download the VarageSale app for iPhone or Android or visit www.varagesale.com
Users sign up for free with Facebook Connect and ask to join the community closest to them. (FB Connect allows us to know that you are a real person and to populate your VarageSale profile with your real name and photo to ensure our communities remain trusted and friendly)
A community admin will review their request and accept them usually that same day.
Once accepted, users can buy or sell items and communicate with other members.
To buy an item, you can comment on it and send a private message to the seller to work out the details such as when and where to meet.
To sell an item, you can take a photo with the app, write a description of the item, choose a category, set a price and post - all generally in less than 30 seconds.
Q. What makes it better than selling on Facebook groups or Craigslist?
A. Our admins are like town mayors and act as cheerleaders for their communities by fostering respect in the community, filling it with quality products and quality people, and helping build trust. On VarageSale, members’ accounts are tied to their real names and faces from Facebook, unlike anonymous classifieds sites.
Because VarageSale was built with buying and selling in mind, it offers a better user experience than social network groups. Members love our app and more than half check it everyday.
Q. How do Swap Meets work?
A. Not every community has a swap meet - most VarageSale transactions are one-to-one. To buy an item, you private message the seller to say that you're interested and then work out the key details like price and location to swap.
Q. What is your role with VarageSale now that it has taken off?
A. I’m the Chief Mom Officer! Most of my work focuses on the community aspect of VarageSale. I want to maintain the quality of our communities as we grow and continue to make VarageSale a wonderful, family-friendly experience.
Q. Tell us about some of the inspiring stories that happened because of VarageSale.
A. In Charlotte, we have one member who wanted to have a garage sale because she was moving and needed to clean out her home. She scheduled her garage sale, and it rained! She rescheduled it because of the rain, and on the new date, it rained again. She was very frustrated until she found VarageSale. She found it to be much easier and more convenient - and it can't rain on an app!
We're still new in Charlotte, but we have more inspiring stories around the US. One teacher in a Tennessee community saw her student's feet were showing through his shoes because they were so old and worn. She turned to VarageSale and asked for help. The community responded with an outpouring of love and donations. Every child in need at the school ended up getting shoes, clothing and toys for Christmas because of all of the donations the community gave the teacher. It was a truly beautiful and heartwarming experience.