In May 2020 a group of small businesses in Derby began a revolution to poke Covid-19 in the eye.
Excluded, furloughed, bewildered and just plain shocked, the business and charity community wanted to find a solution to the lockdown, and take the opportunity to support each other through the crisis. They asked for a simple way to do this and I took up the mantle.
I reached out to my contacts, Dean Jackson founder and owner of Huub an internationally recognised sports brand, and Lee Marples from think3, a creative and design agency, and together we created Derby Swap Shop in just 2 weeks.
The idea is simple – a business or charity needs some help, and in return offers a “swap” of similar value and appeal. They connect through a retro looking website, a nod to the original children’s TV show that inspired us, and new collaborations and relationships have been firmly established.
Fast forward 6 months, and we now have nearly 500 members across 3 platforms, and by 16 November, we will have launched a UK wide version.
Now, many Business Advisors will tell you never to give your products, advice, or services away for free. It’s counterproductive, it devalues you and your business.
Well, that may be true, but we have never faced a challenge like Covid-19 before, and we needed a new approach. At a time when our economy has been hardest hit, when people are not making sales, and when people are furloughed at home, our trading model harnesses the positivity that IS out there and flips it for good. It was time to share the business love.
We may be free, but we are swapping – like-for-like – and this old-fashioned horse trading method will reinvigorate our communities, so that we can build back better. Companies like Colleague Box, who offered 5 of their letterbox gift boxes on Swap Shop in return for PR support – in stepped Penguin PR, and together local and national press exposure has helped the Company reach over £1m sales in less than 6 months.
We have had coaches working with new clients, companies working with each other to collaborate and deliver services, swaps included headshots and website advice, legal support of small claims and logo design. We’ve even had some Dutch translations. Nothing is too much of a challenge for our #Swapsters.
As I write this now, we are a week away from the UK wide launch, and we are poised to create even more swapping for good as we welcome more people to our platform, to offer swaps, test and trial their services and products, find their “tribe” and their perfect matches.
We should have called it Tinder for Business.️..who will you meet when you swipe right?
Give a little love this Christmas and join our #swapping revolution.