Trove Marketplace, a new app for iPhone and Android, is aiming to change the way people buy and sell second-hand furniture. The platform allows users (including businesses) to list their used wares. Buyers can sort through locally available vintage sofas, lamps, paintings, gadgets, dinnerware, rugs, benches and trinkets by location, and also take advantage of social features, such as viewing what nearby users recently listed for sale. Items are listed with photos, prices (there is a “Make an Offer” option), details and locations. Trove cofounder Xing Wang chatted with EAL about how designers can best take advantage of the new app.
So, what’s your story? How did the app come about?
My background is computer science (MIT bachelor of science and master of engineering) and games (Zynga and Microsoft Studios). After working as an expat in China for a bit, I moved back to the U.S., specifically to San Francisco, and needed to decorate my apartment in a 100-year-old building in the Mission District. I’ve always liked second-hand and vintage furniture, because I think it adds a lot more character to a home, so as I was decorating my place, that’s the style I chose.
Also, I like to shop locally, since I like to see the item in person before I know I’d really like it. Thankfully, there are amazing second-hand shops and street vendors in the Mission District. However, I found that besides foraging the street every day, the best place to shop for second-hand furniture was still Craigslist! So given the lift of mobile commerce and my technical background, I decided to create something just for that. Together with my co-founders Mason [Richman] and Derric [Gilling], we started Trove.
What about the app specifically appeals to interior designers?
I think interior designers also love vintage and second-hand furniture: Whenever you flip open interior magazines like Elle Decor or House Beautiful, you see that interior designs often proudly highlight their vintage or second-hand finds. Interior designers also lead busy lives, so they don’t have time to visit each boutique shop around them to pick out pieces. Designers love having a way to browse for interesting pieces in the palm of their hands. With Trove, they can also source items locally for their clients, reducing lengthy transport times.
What are some of the most interesting items that have been posted so far?
I think one of the most interesting items that has been posted so far was a glove-making mold. It was a vintage piece, and at first glance, we had no idea what it was for. It sure would be a conversation starter for any home. We were even contacted by Pawn Stars to feature it on their show! As much as we would have loved to be on Pawn Stars ourselves, since it wasn’t our own item, we decided to forward the request to the seller.
When did the app launch, and which markets is it available in? What are your plans for expansion?
The app officially launched in June 2015 on iOS, Web and Android, and since January 2016, we’ve also been on Apple TV (tvOS). We initially focused our marketing efforts in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston; however, organic downloads and listings are happening everywhere in the U.S., especially in Florida, New York and the Greater Atlanta area. Instead of limiting access to the marketplace, we’ve kept it open for anyone looking to buy or sell. Some areas are, of course, not as dense as others, so please forgive us and be patient if an area has less items compared to others—there are also some sellers who are willing to ship, and filters can be used to narrow the list. There is still a long road ahead, and we’re excited to continue working closely with communities and designers!
We also want to share that we’ve built strong partnerships with several interior designers who love the Trove platform, and in February, we began hosting Tastemaker Tuesdays, where one of our designer partners provides design advice and tips to the larger Trove community. It’s been a great ride so far!