An Interview With the Founder of Move Loot, the Airbnb of Used Furniture

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Move Loot is a start up based in San Francisco designed to make your moving process a little less painful and a lot less wasteful. Move Loot allows you to sell gently used furniture by uploading a picture of it to their app, setting a price and a pick up time. They'll do the rest. 

Move Loot transports the furniture to their warehouse, spruces it up, takes some fancy pictures, lists it on their website for sale, and delivers it directly to the buyer. The seller gets half the profit while Move Loot takes the other half. If the furniture doesn't sell quickly, they can decrease the price, and if it doesn't sell at all, the item can either be donated or sent back to the seller. The process streamlines the furniture sales process, offering buyers a unique variety of cool pieces, all of which has been confirmed clean and in good condition. 

The Wire spoke with Bill Bobbitt, founder of Move Loot, to learn more about the company. 

The Wire: How did this company and idea come about? 

Bobbit: The four founders all moved from different places to San Francisco, so we had to sell all our furniture and then buy it all over again. It seemed incredibly wasteful, not just time and money, but also how much we threw away. It was inconvenient. 

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What's the goal of Move Loot?

Similar to how Airbnb made sleeping on someone’s couch cool, we want to be a company that makes buying and selling furniture cool. 

How did you get the business off the ground? 

This was all about a year ago. We did an Indiegogo campaign for our first warehouse and that launched in October. Then we started fundraising in March. We did $2.8 million. 

Can you give us the founder's description of how it works? 

If you are trying to sell furniture, we have an iPhone app and a mobile site. You take photos, give us the brand, the retail price and what you want to receive for it. Then, you schedule a pick up time, our movers come, pick it up, clean it, take pictures, and sell it. Then you get either a check, Venmo or PayPal, for 50 percent of the selling price. If it doesn’t sell after 60 days, it’ll be donated. You can also have it shipped back to you, if you prefer that. We haven’t had many people want that.

Just iPhone? Is there an Andriod version coming soon?

We are focused on the iPhone app and streamlining some internal tools. We want to see how this first mobile deployment goes. 

It looks like some pieces go on sale too. Why is that?

After 30 days, we can mark down the price. That allows us to better calibrate with the market. We are learning a lot more. We are becoming used furniture experts. Over the course of a products life time, we learn more about what the products pricing is.

From the buyer's end, how do they buy furniture? 

From a buyer’s perspective, it’s a typical e-commerce site. We give full photographs and descriptions. If is used, there are nick, stains, and we want people to trust us as a source of quality and transparency. There is free shipping and it can be delivered as quickly as the next day. Because we are a hyper local marketplace and have our own logistics team, we can be there as soon as tomorrow.

What regions are you serving now and where do you hope to expand? 

Right now we are in San Francisco. We hope to be in a couple other cities by the end of the year. There’s a lot that we want to test on density and population, what kind of furniture alternatives people have.

What are some of the biggest challenges you are facing? 

Logistics, really. The biggest challenge is once you are in the house and trying to get around super small corners, doorways, stairwells. For a lot of buildings, we can contract out with movers or logistics companies. If we don’t meet the requirements for certain types of buildings, we have partners that can facilitate that.

Are you focusing at all on office moves?

We do office moves too. So much of our business is still in the experimental phase. We were working with start ups that needed furniture or were moving and needed to get rid of furniture. It’s nice because we are focused on eliminating waste and furniture waste and offices are a huge part of that. This helps make the whole office ecosystem more sustainable.

What is the most popular furniture item?

The most popular is something without any kind of brand, something custom, something vintage. We see so many products that are custom, local designer, and antique. Those far outnumber brand names. On Craigslist, you might not go to the antiques. But here, they're mixed in. Of course, Crate and Barrel and Ikea are very common too. People like the high-low mix too.

What happens if the pictures someone uploads on the app don't match the furniture in real life? 

Another benefit of having our delivery team in house, they should have all the information of what they are picking up and what it should look like. We have vetted for quality by the pictures. If it doesn’t match, the movers are definitely able to discern this.

What about bed bugs? Bed bugs are scary. 

This is a hairy problem. We have some strategies for detecting and eradicating. We wrap everything and we clean everything. We make sure things are sanitary not just against bed bugs but pet dander, dirt, etc.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.