When Kelly Dang didn’t have the food processor she needed to prepare for a party, she was inspired to create Reshare - a peer-to-peer user platform for the sharing of household goods within your community.
After realising she didn’t have the food processor she needed to prepare for a party, Kelly Dang was inspired to create Reshare - a peer-to-peer user platform for the sharing of household goods within your community. She shares her experience with single-use items growing up in Vietnam, her advice for those looking to start a circular economy business and how sharing platforms are changing the way consumers access products.
Why are you interested in the circular economy?
It all comes down to our background. I was raised in Vietnam where there is a single-use solution for almost everything: juice from a freshly cut coconut being put in a plastic bag with a plastic straw for the convenience of consumers, then that used coconut will be thrown into the street to leave it to rot. It is no one's responsibility to take care of something that is no longer useful. People are more geared toward the quick options of buying stuff that they need only once and because of low socio-economic backgrounds, it needs to be cheap as well. So once something is cheaply made, it breaks easily. Once it breaks, they quickly trash it into the bin and buy something new. It is always cheaper to buy than repair an item. Manufacturers realised that they can sell more things by making them cheap and low-quality, rather than making something that lasts in this kind of economy.
My cofounder is a geologist who studies the earth and has an understanding of the finite resources of our planet. As a scientist with a passion for the natural environment, he understands just how fragile the ecosystem is and has an educated idea of how much we are taking away from it to consume the materials we use in everyday life. We've both seen first-hand examples of the very bad and unsustainable economy and we wanted to do our small part to reduce our footprint and have a positive impact on our environment.
How did you get started and what advice do you have for others taking their first steps in the circular economy?
We were living in a small apartment in Southbank. One day, I needed a food processor to prepare food for a party and I didn't want to spend that much money on something I would likely use probably only once a year. I knew that someone that lives within this building or nearby building would certainly have one stashed in their cabinet. However, I was shy to knock on my neighbour's doors to ask and there was no such community board or group in the building. I shared my frustration with my husband and came up with the idea of an online marketplace that was just for sharing.
About one year later we decided to build ReShare. We didn't have much knowledge about the circular economy at first and we learnt just by reading and researching on the internet. It's exciting as people are more interested to learn about your business if they know you operate within the circular economy. It's worth looking at the local council and community groups for support and if you don't know where to start, it's worth connecting with other founders to get some advice and support.
Describe your business and why it's important to the circular economy?
Reshare is a peer to peer user platform for the sharing of household goods within your community. Imagine you want to go camping for the weekend, but don’t own the gear and don't want to spend hundreds of dollars, that’s where ReShare comes in. Instead of buying all the things you need for a one-off use, you can simply borrow them from someone in your neighbourhood. This way we can maximise the value of each shared item and prevent more new items from being made. At the same time, the lender can earn some money and the borrower can save some money just by paying a fraction of the price. It's a win-win situation for us and the environment.
What is your role in this business?
We are a husband and wife team who co-founded the app. We are at a very early stage and looking to expand.
Can you describe what makes your business model unique in the circular economy?
We are the first in Australia to launch a user-friendly app that allows people to effortlessly share almost anything with others in their community. We also have a system that protects the lender's assets and also the borrowers hip-pocket. It's super easy and free to start for both individuals and businesses who want to make an entry into the circular economy. By encouraging sharing, we help to remove the wall between neighbours and therefore promote community engagement by connecting people and building trust.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Our main challenge has been educating people on what we do and building trust amongst strangers. Even though leasing out your home to strangers on Airbnb, or even your car on the Car Next Door, are not new concepts, people are still hesitant to lend out their personal belongings to others. There are different ways we use to build trust and slowly familiarise people with the concept of "It's ok for others to use my lawnmower".
Another challenge is that the average Australian does not see the link between buying new stuff and damaging the environment. We want to make people understand the hierarchy of minimising waste starting with ‘refuse, reuses and recycle’. To make a smaller impact on the environment, people need to refuse to buy new and Reshare (reuse) items with others in the community. There are 27 million people in Australia and if we can get our mission to just 1% of the population and change their mindset, it could lead to a huge reduction in waste and hopefully a knock-on effect to the rest of Australians
How can people connect with you?
There are multiple streams for people to connect with us and learn more about what we do.