I have long been a fan of the sharing economy concept – both ethically and financially – from Streetbanks Christmas advent challenge; to all the nifty ways sharing can save you money in the summer months.
So, I was very excited this week to hear from two lovely Italian ladies Marvia and Alessia – or Lost in Samsara – who have been passionately building an ethical swap shop initiative in London, as well as a website for others to join in on the sharing fun.
The Wheel Project is a new online platform which aim to bypass money and allow people to go straight to swapping goods and skills with one another. The process is easy peasy: simply choose what you’d like to swap, register on the website, create an offer and upload a picture. Then repeat the process as many times as you like!
As Lost in Samsara say: “We believe in the power of stories to connect with one another and increase empathy. We also believe each object has something to tell. So if you feel like sharing a little interesting fact about it you can write a few lines in the description and make that item more magical and part of something bigger”
“We also like to think that money doesn’t buy everything and that cooperating and sharing add an extra value to our everyday life. If you think you are good at something and you want to share some of your skills there is space for that too. What about a Lasagna (yes, we are Italians) in exchange of some IT advice for your laptop (and yes, we are crap at it)?”
However, not content with one inspiring project, the lovely Lost in Samsara ladies are also planning to open an ethical shop and cafe in London. Here, they will welcome people to come and shop for ethically sourced goods and enjoy a coffee and a natter. But more importantly, raise awareness about the communities who have created the goods they sell, and encourage conversation about the importance of buying ethically and Fairtrade.
Whilst the project itself aims to reduce our reliance on exchanges of money, the girls do need a little help to get some initial start-up costs. So in true swapping style, they are using Crowdfunding as a source of this initial income; allowing the project to be grown through hands of the people who are passionate about ethical living!
Marvia and Alessia have just launched their Indiegogo campaign – including a very cute film about the project – where people can post messages of support, share ideas and suggestions and, if inspired, donate a little money to get the initiative up and running.
But even if you can’t donate financially, you can help them out in others ways by donating small items to the swap shop, or helping to spread the word through their profiles on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. They are also keen for artists to use the space to exhibit their art, so do get in touch if you want to get involved.
If like me you don’t live near to London, you can still get in on the ethical action. Lost In Samsara will also soon be selling their awesome fairtrade products through Etsy and Jewel and Lotus, so keep your eyes peeled!