We live in the age of the sharing economy and the way we travel is changing with each passing day. Most of us are already letting others use our homes, cars and other assets and making money by just sharing what we own. But today we’re going to talk about a different way of sharing and spreading happiness while you are on the road.
Have luggage space to spare?
Being an expat, there have been instances when I craved comfort food so badly, only to discover that the ingredients available in Prague did not even come close to what I used at home. It would always be a long wait, till I went home the next time or till a friend or family member visited me, to be able to lay my hands on all these things I missed!
Having lived overseas for more than 15 years, entrepreneurs Joel Gordon and Andrew Crosio knew this very well. “During our time in countries like the UK, Singapore, India, Thailand and Central Europe, we would always ask friends and family who were visiting to bring our favorite coffee, cheese, music and clothing products from home,” says Joel. “We would help out by bringing things to expat and local friends, too.”
This was what led them to the idea of creating a platform, called Ouibring, to connect travellers who wanted to make extra money by sharing spare luggage space and shoppers who wanted access to international products and prices.
With Ouibring, while travellers can easily share their spare luggage space for a few dollars, shoppers can get the exact products they’re looking for, not settling for a duplicate version or substitute.
But how can you make money with Ouibring?
It is quite simple!
People, who want a certain something to be brought to them from anywhere in the world, post their requests and how much they are willing to pay for it on Ouibring. Before you travel, you can take a look at this list and see what they are requesting. If you see a product that you can buy, go ahead and initiate a conversation with the person who made the request. Or vice versa. Once you both agree on a price, you’re ready to go!
Money is definitely not the main attraction of using Ouibring. Just as the startup’s tagline says, you are “bringing a little happiness” to another person. And, money is then the icing on that cake.
“For bringers, it’s about making some extra money. You can also meet interesting people who will really appreciate the effort! Something our travellers have told us is that they also like being able to get some tips for exploring the city they’re visiting from locals too,” says Joel, one of the co-founders of Ouibring. “Many of the items are easy to pick up in supermarkets or airport shops and can fit in your carry on bag.”
Beyond just nostalgia
From speciality coffee to baby carriers, a favourite brand of soft drink, pain balms, speciality honey and even a particular brand of cleaning supplies, the requests made on Ouibring have been diverse and interesting. “What makes such requests notable is the emotional engagement that the customers had when they received them,” says Joel. However, requests are not limited to such nostalgia items. “Some of our luxury brings include rare and collectable Japanese whiskey, designer clothing items, electronic goods and specialist camera equipment. The average value is around $50 per item.”
And, about the dough…
Currently, Ouibring works on a model where the traveller and the shopper can negotiate and arrive at an offer that makes both of them happy. While requesting an item, you can indicate your budget or what you are willing to pay in total for the item.
And, as a traveller, you can negotiate for a price that covers the cost and taxes of the product you bought and also earn a profit on the whole deal. The payment is made face-to-face with a simple cash-on-delivery model and the customers manage this themselves.
The Ouibring team pitches in any time you need help during this association. They are always available to answer any questions you may have about specific items and security regulations based on the destinations you are travelling to. They provide best practice advice about arranging meet-up locations and also offer a prepaid service where you can buy things off an online catalogue.
So what next?
The next time you want something that is not available, is too hard to find or too expensive in your part of the world, log on to Ouibring and make a request. And, the next time you have a destination in mind, go to the site to see if you can bring a little happiness for someone else.
Joel reminds travellers to include the original packaging and receipts with the items they bring to prove and ensure the authenticity of the product and price.
Did you know?
You could easily store photographs of shopping receipts while you record a new transaction on Wallet.
Try it now!
“We’re also working on a simple and effective rating system that rewards our best shoppers and travellers and helps our loyal customers get even better deals,” he says. “We will soon be adding cool features like scanning a boarding pass or other travel document to automatically check for matches and an itinerary feature to let travellers declare journeys and be notified when a request is added that matches their travel plans.”
No matter whether you’re travelling around the world or just sitting at home, a little extra happiness is always guaranteed by Ouibring. So where are you travelling to next?