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As Boston approaches June 1—though not necessarily "Allston Christmas," still a big moving day—people packing up apartments will likely use Craigslist for both unloading and buying furniture. This time around, local start-up Canary offers an alternative concierge service that boasts ease of use and a charitable spin. Part of the newest class at PayPal's Start Tank incubator, the three-person company has its roots on the campus of University of Wisconsin, Madison, where a business plan competition enabled founder and Cohasset native Mike Filbey to enter the online resale space while in school, then expanding to the South Shore of Massachusetts.
Essentially, the Canary mission is two-fold. For sellers, primarily empty nesters who are downsizing, the team will photograph, advise on pricing, and set up appropriate listings for any object valued over $150, giving 60% of the sale to the seller, holding onto 28% as an operating cost, and donating the remaining 12% to one of six local charity partners. Meanwhile, buyers—typically young professionals graduating from Ikea goods—can explore a curated, visually-driven set of secondhand items on Canary's website and benefit from discounted delivery services.
Though the product category Canary has found greatest success with is furniture, the team has also managed to resell cars and even a gazebo. The average turnover from listing a product to selling it ranges from two to four weeks, making the process somewhat lengthier (but also, safer and more charitable) than Craigslist. Currently, the service only operates in Greater Boston, which is home to clusters of its target markets, with the plan to replicate the experience elsewhere down the line.
· 5 Shopping-Centric Start-Ups Selected for PayPal's Start Tank [Racked Boston]
· Canary [Official Site]