I first connected with Kym at the Ausmumpreneur Conference in Sydney. I discovered more about her amazing business Shareshop. Do you want to enjoy the good things in life without using money? Then we have the solution just for you, read more about Kym’s vision and inspiration behind Shareshop.
Natalie: Tell us a little bit about your family.
Kym: I have 3 lovely children – Hunter (11 years), Amity (6 years) and Archie (1 year), and am married to a very supportive husband, Andrew, who owns his own tiling business. We live in Noosa, on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Natalie: How did Shareshop begin?
Kym: We had finished 3 years of travelling around Australia and settled down on the Sunshine coast preparing to have our second child. I wanted to be able to have more luxuries in my life (eg massage, babysitting, a cleaner….) without feeling ‘guilty’ about spending the money on them that I wasn’t earning. I wasn’t going to be returning to work as a lawyer in the near future but I wanted a way to use my skills in a flexible way that could somehow ‘earn’ me the things I wanted. I didn’t want to swap and I wasn’t a business, so other barter-type options didn’t suit me. It was then that I decided that I can’t be the only one needing this, so I decided to create it myself.
Natalie: What do you love most about your work?
Kym: I love having created something that is making a real difference in people’s lives.
Natalie: How does connecting people and resources make a difference to the world?
Kym: It’s all about creating extra opportunities so that people have more choices available to them.
There are plenty of instances where the existing commercial marketplace or our established way of life in general, doesn’t provide opportunities for everyone. As a result, there are plenty of people with skills or something to offer that don’t always have the avenue to do so. There is also the issue of life being expensive and people feeling that they can’t afford the necessities or luxuries they would like to have in their life.
So by opening up a new economy in the form of a cashless marketplace, it allows so many more opportunities for people to feel valued by being able to contribute, to earn a value (we have our own currency of points) and then use that to add value back into their lives in another way.
We all have our own strengths and everyone has something of value that they can offer that others would find valuable. Ultimately, the Shareshop platform allows anybody (or any business) to use whatever they already have, whether it be skills, talents, products, services, spare time, or pre-loved items, to get those things they need or want in their life, without having to spend money, barter or swap. Quite simply, it allows people to be happier.
Natalie: I love the ‘share economy revolution’ concept that is tied in with helping people to create their dream life. Tell us about a favourite story that has helped one of your members.
Kym: I could talk all day about this but one of my favourites is a local businessman (Grant, from Essential Shield) that makes fantastic natural cleaning products. He had been doing the hard yards making and selling his products on the Sunshine Coast for many years. When he joined Shareshop, his products were an absolute instant hit! His ‘Mr Mould’ mould remover and prohibit spray and his essential oil insect repellent are now a staple in most of our member’s homes. Not just because they can be bought with points, but because they actually work better than anything else you can buy.
So not only does Grant have this dedicated Shareshop following that didn’t know about his products before he joined Shareshop, lots of points that he spends on other member products and services, but it has also led to some other great outcomes for his business. The flow on word of mouth has seen lots of direct money sales for his business from non-members (including people like my Dad and all his friends at the marina as Mr Mould is the only thing they now use to clean the clears on their boats!) and through a member connection he got an Australia-wide contract to supply cleaning products to a childcare franchise and also gained a national rep!
I love this story because firstly, our members are happy they get to buy Grant’s amazing products for points, secondly, it has helped Grant’s business in many ways and thirdly, because Grant is just a really top bloke who loves being part of the Shareshop community and I couldn’t be happier for him.
Natalie: What’s next for Shareshop?
Kym: The vision is for Shareshop to become a household name around Australia! There are lots of exciting plans underway to help that come to fruition. In the meantime, an amazing $2,000 biz boost prize that I can’t wait to see who wins, we have member catch ups, a pr-loved fashion market and our Christmas market to look forward to.
Natalie: What have been some challenges that you have faced in business? How have you shifted them?
Kym: I have faced many, many challenges so far and have learnt even more lessons along the way! As Shareshop is a concept that is unlike traditional bartering or anything else available, the main challenge has definitely been marketing…..finding the best way to easily and quickly describe what it is, how it works and how people can benefit from it. Given we live in a fairly ‘instant’ world with things like social media, where people like to know what something is at a glance, in a sentence or under 10 seconds, it has meant that it hasn’t been as easy to spread the word about Shareshop as I would have liked.
Once people understand or use Shareshop, they love it. So I often ask for member feedback (as it can provide different opportunities and be seen many different ways, depending on whether you are a business owner, a stay at home parent, a retiree etc) to find common words and phrases that may resonate. And instead of relying on social media, I have had to experiment, ‘think outside the box’ and look at other forms of connecting with people. I am very grateful that the media have been very supportive of Shareshop and being able to share the story in newspapers, on radio and on tv has been a big help in Shareshop’s growth.
However, creating something completely new also has challenges of its own, such as not having any software, programs or templates available, so most things need to be developed from scratch. I have spent a LOT of time in website development and re-development, so much so that even though I didn’t know a thing about websites when I started, I can now build my own website and do a certain amount of coding! I now have a great team of website developers, which has taken a great weight off my shoulders.
Not to mention the challenge of creating and running a business with 3 young children in tow! Luckily Shareshop members offer all sorts of services that I have been able to utilise (babysitting, cleaning, health and wellness, business services etc) in helping me find my way and find the ‘balance’ as best as I can.
Natalie: Do you have a favourite quote, prayer or miracle inspiration that you would like to leave with us?
“When I was 5 years old my Mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life”
– John Lennon