Fatherhood Interview: The Father’s who’ve made reshopping cool
Meet the father’s who’ve made reshopping cool and brought it to the UK.
Reshopper is the marketplace app that has taken Northern Europe by storm and has now arrived in the UK. Allowing parents to simply snap a photo of their children’s outgrown items and list them on the app in less than 2 minutes for free, it makes buying and selling kids things quick, safe, easy and local. Recently announced as one of the brand partners for the forthcoming ParentFolk Weekender, Wirral, we caught up with Denmark based, Nicolai, one of the Founders of the company, and Dad to Smilla (8) and Tobias (5)
Who’s involved in Reshopper?
Reshopper was founded by 3 fathers, Jonas Funk Johannessen, Anders Dahl Pape and myself Nicolai Danmark Johannesen. I then recruited my old friend from Kindergarten, Anders Munk, to co-ordinate the development of the app. Five years on, the four of us are all still working on the app – we are the guys behind the laptops making sure that the app is working as it should be and coding new features.
When did the business launch?
We launched in October 2012 – so will be 6 years old later this year. In Denmark, 6 years is the age when you start school for the first time, so it feels like a big milestone for us!
Where did the idea for Reshopper come from?
Jonas was on parental leave and was doing the afternoon trip to the park. As he pushed the pushchair through his neighbourhood, it struck him. Think of all the pushchairs, outgrown children’s clothes and books that were just lying about and collecting dust in all the families garages. You could of course, he thought, try to sell them online, but it was time consuming to organise and upload photos, annoying to get to the post office, and then only to find out that the selling fees ended up being more than you expected. If you were a buyer, when you finally received the item, often you found that it wasn’t as it was described. It was a frustrating problem, especially when there were so many good and useful things likely to be just around the corner. Surely it would be easier for families with children to choose the environmentally friendly route and trade their children’s clothes and equipment with other families in the local area? With that idea, Reshopper was born!
Why do you think Reshopper appeals to parents so much?
There are a few reasons, but I think the biggest reason is that when you have a child you realise how precious time actually is. With Reshopper, once you set up the filters for your child, you will only see items that fit their age, size and/or gender and in locations that are meaningful for you. It is like an Instagram feed but only of selected items for your children, so there is no wading through lots of irrelevant items. We are always open, so unlike having to wait for a nearly new sale every 6 months, you can shop whilst feeding your baby during the night or when waiting to collect them from an evening activity. For sellers, it takes less than 2 minutes to list an item, and as we cover everything from maternity wear, to toys, clothes, bikes and equipment, you can list everything in the one place, instead of creating multiple sales posts in different groups. I think people also like that it is unconnected to their social media – so they keep a little bit of their privacy. It also suits all parents – whether you are looking for a bargain or you care about the environment, or you are after a particular print or sold out designer item, Reshopper is for everyone.
How has being parents influenced your business?
The whole business is totally influenced by us being parents! The initial idea really reflected where we were at that point in our lives and then when we were building Reshopper, all the features, the way it looked, even our infamous test that you should be able to do everything in the app with one hand so you have an arm to rest a sleeping baby – was because we were our own imagined users. Then when the app was launched and we started building the company, again our needs as Fathers helped to shape the company and culture. We have flexible working so that no one needs to feel like they are choosing between their job and family. This naturally has meant that most of the people who have ended up working in the team are other parents. We are really lucky with our team as they are not only brilliant at their jobs, but as the next generation of parents and users themselves, they are both perfect advocates for Reshopper, and also good at pushing us out of our comfort zone and suggesting how we can develop the app in the future.
Where did you launch Reshopper first?
We stayed quite local, launching it in Aarhus where we were based. We were all still very much in the same toddler parenting phase, so it was easy for us to spread the word amongst our peer group, and promote it in the places we would go with our children and at their daycare centres. At the time, Anders Pape and I were also running a social network for Single Parents, helping them to meet other parents and find out things which were of benefit to them, so we promoted it on there as a way to help them save/make money – and it really took off from there. We were super lucky when we launched in Denmark as we did it at a time when we could really grow organically, and so as a result our user base are very loyal and feel very invested in us.
How has the business grown?
For quite a few years, it actually stayed as a hobby project for us – we all had young families so needed to have jobs that paid the bills! We got to the point however, where we realised its potential, so made the jump to working on Reshopper full time. I think after we got investment into the business (including from Just Eat’s Founder, Jesper Buch) we knew that it couldn’t just be the four of us working on it. We were lucky to tempt Aja Guldhammer Henderson, who was the Manager for Airbnb in the Nordics and who was an early mentor for us, to come on board as CEO and then she built up the community manager team. Now alongside Denmark, we are in Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada and the UK and have over half a million users of the app.
Why have you brought Reshopper to the UK?
We have always thought that Reshopper is a concept which would work well outside of Denmark. The UK has so much potential as a market – apart from the size of the parent population in the UK, culturally there is a strong tradition of trading secondhand goods. It has changed in recent years as people have moved away from friends and family, but it is not an entirely new concept as it can be in other countries. We know that for a lot of parents the existing ways of shopping secondhand for your child, whether online or face to face didn’t really work for them and that Reshopper could improve that experience. We have launched at a time in the UK where people are also trying to turn their back on both fast fashion and plastic waste. Reshopper has provided an easy first step for parents who want to become more sustainable but who might be unsure of overhauling their whole lifestyle. Also there are strong ties between Denmark and the UK – coming back to our Danish userbase, when we announced we were launching in the UK we had over 300 messages from our users recommending the app to their friends and family here.
What do your own kids think of the app?
They think it’s smart. We are a very recognised brand in Denmark (over half of all households with under 6 year olds use the app) so they often come home and say that they heard a parent at school talking about something that they bought on Reshopper or are going to sell on there. So for them it is a bit cool that it is their parents behind it.
My youngest son who is five, likes to find stuff in his room to sell so that he can buy new stuff that he wants. The last things he sold were a car garage and a toy tool bench he had outgrown. The best part is when the buyers come round to collect and actually give him the money – it is a brilliant way to teach children not only to respect money, but also lessons about sustainability and reusing things instead of just throwing them away.
How tech savvy are your own children?
Ours are very tech savvy, but I suspect that is true now of most children! Mine have an iPad each and they are very quick to pick up new apps and skills. Their grandparents often ask them how to do tech things which is quite funny, especially when my daughter is only 8. For us, it is important that they understand how to use tech as it is important for their future, but they also need to have social skills, so they aren’t allowed to use their iPads when they are on playdates. They also can’t use them in the morning or after dinner in the evening and we try to restrict it on the weekend, as it can get a little out of control otherwise
How do you think that today’s technology benefits the consumer?
I think we are really lucky nowadays especially as parents, we are now able to buy and learn about everything online. You can barely imagine how our parents would have coped with shopping with newborns or screaming toddlers – having to drive to a store, see several different variations of a product, make a decision there and then (when probably sleep deprived) and hope that they made the right choice. Now we probably are introduced to something through a recommendation on social media, can pull up several reviews, compare and contrast which model would work best for us and then price check to see the difference between buying new or secondhand. In most cases you can then either pay and have it shipped, or collect it when it suits you. And all this can happen at any point of your day (or night!). We like to think that with Reshopper, we have used technology to turn something that could be seen as a chore, into a more fun experience which has positive impacts on a parent’s time and budget, and the environment too
Consumer trust online is a huge discussion topic at the moment – how are Reshoppe reassuring users of the app?
For us, trust forms so much of what we do. A focus of ours is to build this Reshopper community of parents and grandparents, and for that to work, people have to feel safe and supported when using the app. People are using Reshopper to buy items for the most precious things in their world, their kids, and even though we are only the contact between buyer and seller, that responsibility to us is huge. We come from Denmark where trust is naturally a huge part of our culture, so we have had to re-evaluate the way we operate in when we move into new countries. For example, we introduced private messaging when we launched in the UK as we know that many people wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing their contact details on an open forum. We have administrators who check all the items uploaded and remove any which shouldn’t be there, but we also allow users to report items if they are concerned. Unlike other marketplaces, we don’t use AI – there is always a human at the end of the process. So if you have questions or one of your items has been reported, you can talk it all through with the same person. As an extension of our responsibility to parents-we don’t allow potentially dangerous items like car seats or recalled items to be sold and will remove them. We also use our social media channels to try and educate people on how to buy and sell items safely.
What’s next for Reshopper?
We are working on some exciting new features which should roll out this summer – there are a few things that users have suggested, and then a big addition to the app where we are integrating shipping and delivery. This should mean that if you do choose to send something, you can safely do it all through the app, which again is our way of making that transaction between parents as secure as we can guarantee it.
Other than that, it is about consolidation in the countries we are in – we aren’t planning any new launches this year. We want to make sure that we reach more parents and show that becoming a parent doesn’t automatically mean that you have to spend a lot of money on new things, and that items can have a useful life after the 3 or so months that your child uses it!
Discover Reshopper at The ParentFolk Weekender, The Outdoorsy One, Wirral – 9/10 June.