Last year Canadian consumers bought and sold an estimated $29 billion worth of used goods—that’s a lot of baby clothes and ‘barely used’ snowshoes.
Only a few big brands come to mind from the online classified game, but they can come with unnecessary risks. With such a vast and varied market, there is plenty of room for niche players to innovate on that basic offering and win a piece of that multi-billion dollar pie.
VarageSale is doing exactly that.
Former Kindergarten teacher Tami Zuckerman cofounded VarageSale with her husband in 2012 from their home near Montreal. She created the app because she felt unsafe using the traditional online classifieds. To solve that issue, she built the concept of VarageSale around real identities of trusted and accountable individuals for people to buy and sell online.
In just four years, VarageSale has become the largest buy and sell app for women in Canada. Today they operate globally in over 2,500 communities with millions of users and billions of items viewed per month. The company moved into their latest 12,000-square-foot office in 2015, designed in collaboration with Mette Designs.
The 50-person VarageSale team is made up of engineers, product designers, growth teams and operations work from a combination of team desk clumps, break-out rooms, living rooms and a few beanbag chairs.
Each of the meeting areas are inspired by active VarageSale communities like Austin Texas and Airdrie Alberta. Each of these spaces is designed with items purchased and donated from those VarageSale communities. The entire office is filled with items that remind the staff exactly who is using the platform: Moms.
The VarageSale team enjoys a well-stocked kitchen filled with healthy snacks, fresh fruit, coffee and complimentary David’s Tea. An well-stocked beer fridge proudly displays the staff’s personal tastes; simply request a favorite brew and it will be perfectly chilled for the next celebration.
A stunning harvest table grounds the kitchen space as the most inviting place of the office. Even though the kitchen includes a number of round tables, close-knit group at VarageSale prefers to squeeze around the harvest table for lunches.
Every few weeks, four employees are randomly selected for a ‘Meet n’ Eat’—a catered lunch bringing together employees who normally don’t work together to connect, gain insights and get to know one-another.
Culture comes first at VarageSale, and it starts on day one with the Icebreaker program. A volunteer treats the new staffer to a coffee break and tour of the neighborhood to create a genuine connection.
The company also offers a free gym membership, a health plan and a continuous learning program, offering reimbursement to anyone interested picking up a new skills. Staff can upgrade their education with courses, colleges, universities, seminars, conferences, and other recognized professional institutions.
Comraderie is at the core of the VarageSale employee experience. Several company clubs keep staff in the building after work including the Scotch Club, Board Game Club, Sweat Club, Yoga, and even a company Choir.
The Game room is a favorite Friday spot as well, offering ping pong, pool, and a robust videogame setup.
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