Re-use Revolution breeds new App
To celebrate the launch of the app, Will and the team are offering a $250 giveaway to 5 lucky people. More information on the giveaway at the end of the post!
So get in there all my lucky, wonderful Melbourne and Sydney readers and snatch them up quick - or if you are feeling generous, feel free to send some of them my way .
I for one am ecstatic at the continually growing trend of DIY, upcycling, second-hand, vintage and pre-loved bargain hunting going on. I am sure I have muttered my disgust here before about the cessation of hard-rubbish (i.e. upcyclers gold!) collections in my previous Melbourne neighbourhood, towards the apparently cleaner and less encouraging to 'thieving foragers' booked-in collection or dump passes. Excuse me, but watching a garbage truck go along the road and crush items that have more than a few lives left in them, just because their owners grew tired of their aesthetic is not my idea of society moving forward. Consumerists beware - I may rant!
I'm sure you can argue that with the products that I constantly showcase here on the blog, that I encourage such consumerism, but I like to think it is with thoughtful consideration of the products' environmental impact, recyclable qualities and longevity of product selection.
OK. Now that that is out of the way, I can share a great resource that popped up on my radar recently, reinvigorated by the vintage interior revolution that we are now in. (One that may be particularly confusing and humorous to those that happened to live through the trends the first time - yup, I'm talking brown textured glass vessels, grandma's tea set and macrame wall hangings, people!)
Of course, you can't beat Gumtree and eBay for their massive cross-section of local and international finds. They have overwhelming reach, so you can normally hunt for bargain to buy (or bid on and anxiously hope that no-one else sees it). But if you want to keep it more furniture and local specific, there are some great companies specialising in connecting those who want to pass their items on rather than dispose of them, with those who are hoping to find that special piece that isn't mass produced in some offshore factory.
One such resource is the Couchelo app. Although frustratingly, still a purely east-coast resource, this fairly new app (less than 2 months old!) is growing so rapidly that I expect it to be Australia wide by the end of the year (fingers crossed). Couchelo is the brainchild of a team of of passionate design amateurs turned enthusiasts who want to transform the industry, "by using updated technology to help a niche market become more accessible to appreciation," says founding member Will Fan. “This platform will be a tool to help people make environmentally responsible decisions when shopping for the home. We want to be a business that’s ethical, and not just any other startup”.
*in collaboration with couchelo
Tell us a bit about Couchelo.
Couchelo is a curated marketplace for unique furniture and homewares. We make it easy to find vintage, pre-loved and handcrafted items you will want to post on instagram with a #instahome. We mean the retro bar stools, the industrial lamps and reupholstered vintage chairs that will make the most enviable abode.
We are connecting boutique businesses, collectors and design lovers on an easy to use platform where you can browse, buy and sell. We have just launched a preliminary beta app on the iOS store showcasing some really cool items, and will soon launch our ecommerce store!
What was the inspiration for the app/ what led you to start Couchelo?
After a few weekends of binge watching Mad Men – we had a certain look in mind whilst trying to furnish a new apartment. Where do you start looking for an industrial 60s lamp, or Don Draper's handy office drinking cart? eBay and Gumtree meant sifting through used mattresses and cheap imports from power sellers. Ikea ruled out anything unique (or sustainable). Weekends became drives around Sydney checking out questionable leads from outdated websites.
What we realised is that Australia has a very scattered group of boutique bricks-and-mortar sellers, collectors listing on eBay and standalone online craftsman. These were the people selling vibrant bespoke designs, revived vintage pieces and who don't really have an online presence. Not only was there no go-to place for everyone to connect, there was also no easy way for buyers or enthusiasts to find them.
We want to make it simple and encouraging to look for cool furniture. By creating a curated online marketplace, it means that only the best items from the most interesting sellers are available in one place.
How does the app work?
Our first release features a simple app to show the best furniture and décor items based on location. As the number of items for sale on Couchelo grows, you will start to see updates for new features including search, décor categories and even exciting recommendations! Stay tuned by joining our mailing list.
What is your background and the team behind Couchelo?
We are passionate design amateurs turned enthusiasts who wanted to do something to transform the industry. Couchelo is about using updated technology to help a niche market become more accessible to appreciation. We are a start up so we are doing everything. Will looks after the business side of things, Fei is in charge of the day to day operations, Mike is responsible for the development of our technology and Sisi is our marketing guru.
Who are some of the retailers onboard Couchelo?
We're working with some really cool stores at the moment; From vintage and retro dealers like Collectika and Mitchell Road Emporium, to reuse organisations like Reverse Garbage and The Bower. Since our launch last month, we've already on boarded 100+ dealers across Australia.
What's next for Couchelo?
We want to start engaging businesses outside of Sydney and expand into other design-focussed cities like Melbourne and Brisbane. We will be building a website and Android version to cater for the remaining audience interested in our products and will be looking at other vertical industries (e.g. art, floral decor) that would work well on Couchelo.
To celebrate their recent launch, Couchelo is giving away $250 each week to spend on Couchelo! To enter, simply download the App, create an account and favourite an item. This will give them a chance to find out what kind of stuff people love to help their curation process and give you a chance to spend 250 bucks! Hurry, entries close on 30 June 2014!