Industry News

We Have Our Winner! SIA and POW's #GreenShopComp Welcomes +swappow to the Show

January 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

We are so excited to announce the winner of our #GreenShopComp, the contest we ran this year with Protect Our Winters to honor some of the most environmentally conscious shops. Our winner is Joe Dunnigan, the founder of +swappow, an online marketplace that is working to keep board sport products out of the landfills. Even better, +swappow helps new participants get started by matching them with this older gear through the +swappow app, downloadable from iTunes. We talked to Dunnigan about his thoughts on the win, how the idea got started, where it’s going, and about his plans for the Show.

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Tell us a little bit about +swappow – how it came about, how it works, etc.

Growing up in a single parent household and struggling most of my young life to start and stay participating in action sports was what brought about the idea for +swappow. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and, as an adult, it was just really frustrating to see so many parents and kids who we knew would benefit from active participation in action sports, but just could not even begin to afford it, so we decided 3 years ago to do something about it. These activities have had such a profound and positive impact on me personally, that it’s become my mission to share them with as many people as possible. As former ecommerce providers and retailers, we also understood how to build marketplaces, so when we saw the mounting piles of idle and underutilized product in the market with no simple and profitable way for the industry and consumers to move it, the light bulb went off to try to connect the would be participants with the old inventory in order to increase active participation and reduce waste.  

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Joe Dunnigan, on the right, with his son

From an industry perspective, it appeared to us that this product bottleneck was not only choking off new participants from coming in to the industry, but it was also hurting existing riders and skiers from continued participation as there was no good central “trade in” platform for valuable pre owned merchandise. With no way to get rid of old product, new purchases become that much more difficult and I believe it threatens ongoing participation for current snowboarders and skiers.

We knew full well that there was no shortage of demand there just seemed to be no way of connecting good product with good people. 

By creating a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows consumers in the industry to buy, sell and share with one another via mobile, we hoped to reduce environmental, economic and social waste.

How we do that now is through our desktop marketplace at SWAPPOW.com or our free iPhone app (available in iTunes) both connect individuals with one another via mobile and lets them to buy , sell and donate with one another (either for credits or cash). Consumers and the industry can even consign product with us and we will do the listing, selling and fulfillment work for them and cut them a check when it sells. 

How does +swappow help the environment, specifically? How much material gets saved from landfills each year as a result of its use?

We are providing consumers and the industry with a number of “Second Life” options and new ways to monetize old inventory for Good. swappow_drop_box_image.jpg

By helping us all to sell or share used or new product, product that is either sitting collecting dust in the garage, closet or a warehouse, we feel we are helping to rescue product that is bound for a landfill. By turning that same product into new participants without having to manufacture more new lower quality products we hope to help the industry maintain a level of high quality for new in-line product while increasing utilization of existing products. 

We have received well in excess of 10,000 pieces of equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories from the industry, consumers and community partners.

– The industry is shipping us product to make space and do good with the expectation that it will only be sold online and that a % of proceeds go to action sports charities and that they get a tax benefit.

– Action Sports Not For Profits are either listing or selling gear as fundraisers or consigning it with us for the same reason.

– Community partners including leading retailers, over 100 Fire Stations,  Boys and Girls Clubs, etc… are placing our Share The Ride Drop Bins (shown below) and collecting usable gear while reps and pros are using it as a way to move gear for cash or convenience too.

It’s too early for us to tell you exactly how much product we rescued from landfills but we know for sure that some of this would’ve wound up in a dumpster and our objective is to see it put to good use. By providing a marketplace and services to help us all collect, repurpose and redistribute existing product, we hope to reduce the need for, and number of, lower quality products on the market while giving new users access to a high quality introduction to the sport on either used or aged product versus toy store quality merchandise. 

How about growing participation – do you believe that most people who use +swappow would not have the means to start skiing or snowboarding if this service didn’t exist? How many people have benefitted this year?

We do believe that  most people who use +swappow would not have the means to start skiing or snowboarding if this service didn’t exist. We believe our main appeal is to a new buyer who may be considering participation and who may be scouring garage sales and/or thrift stores looking for the least expensive possible entry point to participation and/or a cash strapped existing participant who just needs to keep active for as little $ as possible.  We also are increasingly seeing parents and existing participants who have to sell something before they can go to a shop and buy something come to us. 

By doing so we believe we are opening up participation to a new base. By opening up a new channel and making this equipment more readily available at price points previously not available, we hope to make participation possible for a new audience. In addition, it helps existing participants monetize their own products so they can then go to their local shop and buy new gear. 

We have a lot of respect for what POWs doing and are SIA members ourselves so we are super excited to win this award and stoked to be able to attend.

We feel this award begins to validate what we hope people will see about what we we’re trying to do. +swappow was founded to be a platform for doing good. Our mission every day is to benefit others through the +swappow marketplace. 

What are you most looking forward to during your visit to the Show?

We’re really excited to sit in on the climate change panel and learn more about what POW is doing to impact positive change to our climate and see how we may somehow help. We are also really excited to get a chance to tell our story to anyone who will listen. I feel like we’re right of the starting point to really make a meaningful difference, so to meet and talk to other passionate people who appreciate innovative new approaches to the market would be super inspiring. 

Thanks so much to Joe Dunnigan for taking the time to share his thoughts on his #GreenShopComp win! We’re looking forward to having him at the Show!

For more information about Protect Our Winters’ activities at the Show, go to SIAsnowshow.com/events. Find more information on events, hotels/travel and brands exhibiting at the SIA Snow Show at SIAsnowshow.com.

For 24/7 updates on all things 2016 Snow Show, check SIA’s Snow Source and follow SIA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Use #SIA16 and #SIAintel  to join the conversation.

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