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If your children have outgrown their baby items, you might have wondered if you can make money by selling your gently used things. Stephanie Cartin had that thought when her daughter was eight months old. Today, she’s the co-founder of Markid. She spoke with Jessica Abo to share how her marketplace is helping parents become entrepreneurs.
Stephanie Cartin: When my daughter was eight months old, she began to outgrow many of the items that we had purchased for her, like her Mamaroo, her bouncer and her bassinet. And there were new products that I needed to buy for her at the time. And my husband kindly said to me, “Can you please get some of these products out of our small apartment before you start to get other things that she needs?”
I started trying to figure out how I was going to sell these items. And I realized, at that time, there was not a solution or a marketplace for parents to buy and sell gently used items. I knew that if I had this problem as a parent, that so many other parents were having this issue as well.
I quickly texted my business partner at Socialfly and told her I had the best business idea. She said, “Oh, my goodness. It’s so funny that you’re sharing this,” because her former boss from her former company before we started Socialfly had reached out to her because he was starting this exact platform called Markid, and he was looking for marketing help. We decided to partner together to launch and grow the Markid marketplace.
How does Markid work?
Cartin: Markid is very simple and easy to use. If you already know the type of product that you’re looking for — let’s say a bassinet or a stroller — you can search by category, or you can also search by the brand. Once you find the item that you’re interested in, you can message the seller, or you can make them an offer and start a conversation with a fellow parent.
Now, if you are a seller, set up a seller profile and then you can start listing your items. Take some really great photos of the items that you have, give a description, let us know how gently used that item is, set a price and then you will wait for your buyers to start sending you messages that they’re interested in your products.
I knew there was so much good that could be created from this platform. First, there’s the sustainability aspect and having these items passed down from one parent to another. We say at Markid, our hashtag and our saying is, “Good goes around.” We have the sustainability elements, and we also have the give-back component through our partnerships with nonprofits and parents being able to donate a portion of their sale.
We’ve partnered with the company Beam to be able to seamlessly integrate into our platform, so our parents who are selling on the app have the opportunity to also give back with each sale that they make. In addition, as a company, we’re giving back with each sale as well and donating five percent of our revenues to nonprofits that we have chosen that are close to our hearts, including the Baby Quest Foundation and the Neonatal Comfort Care Program.
I love that. Tell us, for the parents out there who want to join this marketplace and they want to become entrepreneurs, what are some of the steps that they can take to be successful?
Cartin: One of the best things that you can do if you’re selling items and want to be successful on the app is to be sure you’re checking back each day for messages. You will start getting lots of messages from sellers, and you want to be very responsive with them so you can easily communicate and get those items out to them right away.
We also share lots of tips and best practices on our social channels and communities. On Instagram, we’re @hellomarkid. And then we have a private Facebook group as well where we’re all sharing best practices for buying and selling. So definitely join us there.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs out there who are launching their business during Covid?
Cartin: Whenever there are hard times, there are also always opportunities. If you have an idea, just start. Don’t wait for that perfect time to try to figure out when the best time to start your business is. Start small, start shopping the idea around to friends.
The first step I took when I had the idea was sending a text message to my business partner Courtney and sharing the idea with her to really just get someone else’s impression of whether they thought it was a good idea for a business. I always believe as an entrepreneur, if you have an idea, don’t hold it close to your chest, share that idea with others. And because I did that, I was able to meet my business partner, Ankur Dhawan.