Some people are hoarders by nature, and others by precaution. For our family, the move from Sweden to Switzerland was a big step. We kept a storage space in Sweden, with various non-essential belongings, in case we would move back. 17 years on, and we still have not moved back and it was time to finally empty the storage. What was in it? Our children bed frames, old toys, dad’s electronics, books, and fully functioning kitchen devices etc..
When you see the small mountain on items, that you didn’t really need for the past years, a slight sense of panic sets in. The solution? First, filtering what to keep and what to get rid of. Second, how to sell the items? How to recycle them properly? Donate them?
We discovered that more of our friends were becoming enthusiastic about second-hand items, always determined about the hunt for their next treasure. Flea markets and thrift shops offered one window of opportunities, while online markets opened another. Through daily browsing on online marketplaces, online auctions, as well as local second-hand shops – we discovered a world with great demand, supply, and people excited to participate.
Though it wasn’t all that straightforward, despite some struggles we managed to sell over 70 items through different online second-hand platforms and local shops. Thanks to this experience, we saw room for improvement on such platforms and the idea of Swishi was born.
Based on our second-hand experiences, my sister and I compiled insights from extensive research and from in-depth 1 hour interviews with users who had either bought or sold second-hand items previously. We designed the user experience based on these insights and our personal struggles of selling items.
Swishi’s journey kickstarted thanks to the support of Impact Hub Geneva and the Circular Economy Transition (CET) Incubator. We applied to their programme early in December, presented our concept, and were over the moon when we found out we were officially selected to take part in the three month program!
The CET programme provided us with support from coaches, it was great to have a fresh set of eyes with input while we were developing our idea. Masterclasses included topics in Finance, Circular Economy, Marketing and more. Early on we had a meetup in Zurich with all the other incubees, allowing us to network. Shortly afterwards, due to the pandemic – all our courses, masterclasses and meetups were done virtually via Zoom.
In parallel, my sister and I worked hard to get the correct user flow in the app. In the process, we had to rethink our original idea of an app with many features, due to high costs we scaled back our vision to transform Swishi into a responsive website platform.
After the three months flew by, we did a final pitch on CET’s Zoom event/Facebook Live in front of over 3000 people virtually. To celebrate a successful end to the Incubator programme, Impact Hub organized a nice apéro with the Geneva Incubees.
Our biggest thanks go out to CET and Impact Hub Switzerland. The Incubator was an exceptional and knowledgeable journey for us in the creation of Swishi – helping us solidify our value proposition and to clarify Swishi’s purpose. Having a mentor and experts to discuss with, helps shortcut to useful insights and new perspectives – both from a UX, business and circular economy point of view – special thanks to Jerôme, José and Laurent!
As for what’s next in our journey, to be continued… 🙂