Zwaggle helps you trade your used kiddy gear

swaggle.pngZwaggle is a Denver startup where parents can buy and sell used kids gear, such as strollers, sports equipment, video games, and more. The site went live in August, is free to use, and now has about 700 users and a few hundred listed items.

The company was started by Andrew Hoag and Adam Levy, who “saw first-hand the enormous cost of providing for children, and the waste of time, money, and resources along the way.” Andrew and Adam decided there must be a better way, and so they started Zwaggle.

Using Zwaggle, parents can earn “zoints” from selling used gear that their kids don’t use anymore. Then can then apply these points to purchase things that the kids do need from other members.

Since Zwaggle could be considered a vertical eBay, I wanted to know why parents couldn’t just do this there or on Craigslist. After all, there are some 600,000+ “toys” listed for sale on eBay right now – many of which are used. And thousands more are on the Denver-only craigslist toys section.

Adam said that while they could and do use those other sites currently, he thinks the points-based model of Zwaggle will be a hit and a big differentiator.

“Zwaggle takes the pain out of settling payment and negotiating shipping, which you can do right from the site, including printing pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping labels from home, and soon the ability to have a FedEx courier appear at your home to collect the item.” – Adam Levy, Founder

Of course, without attracting the listing to get significant inventory, nobody will notice. So an interesting test for Zwaggle might be to try a limited “scrape” of craigslist toys or other pertinent listings in particular geography, to see if they can turn casual sellers into repeat sellers, buyers, and traders. Word of mouth probably won’t get jump-started very easily without lots of listings. This reminds me of the strategy that Simply Hired used to become the place to go to search for job listings.

Zwaggle plans to monetize the service through affiliate partnerships and point purchases from members. With this type of business model, Zwaggle will need to drive tremendous usage to become a substantial company. The site seems to deliver what it promises, so like many consumer internet sites success or failure will likely be a function of intelligent marketing. Zwaggle hopes to attack this through smart partnerships and an aggressive referral strategy.

Interestingly, Zwaggle can also be used to donate and receive tax deductions for items. This is a nice option for parents who don’t really need new stuff, but just want to get rid of old stuff that’s lying around.

The company is currently funded by friends and family but is currently seeking angel investment.

file under: Blog, Startups