Peer-to-Peer Rental Site
Earthwise Harmony speaks to Lisa Fox, co-creator of Open Shed.
Tell us basically what Open Shed is about.
Open Shed is a peer-to-peer rental site, where Australians can come to rent each other’s stuff with confidence.
Our vision is to create a secure and reliable community marketplace that helps Australians live a more resourceful and sustainable life.
Open Shed is all about helping Australians make the most out of their stuff whilst also satiating other factors such as environmental concerns, concerns about the cost of living/items they need or want and generally creating a sense of shared community through collaborative consumption.
We believe Open Shed taps into a growing consumer sentiment interested in environmental sustainability, rejection of hyper consumption and embracing resourcefulness. We provide an easy and secure way for Australians to become involved in the sharing economy.
Open shed offers Australians the opportunity to:
- make better use of their stuff (and a little extra cash) by renting out their stuff to people in their community.
- rent instead of buying.
- experience things they might not otherwise experience – you don’t need to own ‘stuff’ to experience it
- try before they buy
- live a more sustainable life, and
- build new or strengthen existing community connections
How long has Open Shed been running and how many members do you have now?
Open Shed went live in October 2011. Our community is steadily growing and we currently have 370 signed up members mainly across Sydney and Melbourne.
Give us an idea of the kind of things do people rent or want to rent?
Because of the name Open Shed people instantly think tools, but really you can rent out all types of stuff via the site.
The first rental on the site was actually a clown costume! Which I just love because its so fun and random, there is no way in a million years would I have guessed that it would be the first item to be rented.
There are plenty of tools on the site, but you can also find camping equipment, kayaks, bikes, portacots, cameras, surfboards, trailers, lawn mowers, cake stands, books, iPads....you can browse it all here.
What’s the most unusual thing you have ever seen offered or wanted?
There is really a really diverse range of items on Open Shed and that’s how we would like it to continue to grow! A one stop site for all your rental needs, no matter how unusual!
Do you have any special memories or interesting happenings from your time with Open Shed that you would like to tell us about?
For us it has been really special to receive so much support for Open Shed. From the moment we announced on our blog and PlanBig what we planned to do, the support and encouragement has been amazing.
A special memory for us will be the Open Shed launch night in Sydney at the end of October last year. It was a night for us to thank our supporters, celebrate actually getting the site “out there” and also an opportunity to bring together, for the first time, a range of people involved in the Australian collaborative consumption space.
We were also incredibly encouraged by the support we received as finalists and eventual winners of the national Nokia In Hindsight Competition late last year. Managing Director of Nokia, Chris Carr commented that Open Shed “impressed the judges the most. Not only did they present a sound business plan, but the idea itself is unique, has the potential to be very successful and supports sustainability – which is becoming increasingly important to many Australians.”
How can people get involved? Is it open to people from all over Australia?
Open Shed is available Australia wide. To get involved all you need to do is sign up, which is completely free. Once you are signed up you can start listing your items, renting from other members or create a wanted ad.
What’s your story? And how did it lead to creating Open Shed? How and why did you come up with the idea?
Open Shed is the creation of Duncan Stewart and me (Lisa Fox).
I first heard of collaborative consumption in December 2010 through Rachel Botsman’s excellent TEDx talk. Inspired, I went on to read the book What’s Mine Is (Y)ours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. The book contains mainly US and European sites and I became very interested in how I could start participating in the collaborative consumption movement in Australia.
I started researching Australian sites, but wasn’t able to find a peer-to-peer rental site with trust and safety features, that I felt comfortable using. So I convinced Duncan (my partner and a very skilled developer!) to help me create it.
So in March 2011, we quit our jobs, gave up our inner city apartment and started house-sitting around Australia (to keep our living costs low) to bring you what is now Open Shed!
Do you have interests in environmental concerns, and how does your involvement with Open shed fit in with these values?
Duncan and I both believe peer-to-peer renting just makes SENSE - economically and environmentally! We are motivated by the desire to build a site that everyday Australians would also think makes sense. We have heavily focused on building a site that makes peer-to-peer rental transactions as easy and as safe as possible, so that it will become a mainstream way to consume and access what Australians need, when they need it.
Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
I am a passionate advocate of collaborative consumption and I enjoy spreading the word about all the various ways Australians can get involved in this movement. Here is a recent talk I gave “Aussie Guide to Collaborative Consumption”
You can connect with Open Shed on our blog, facebook and twitter.