Humans have shared things since the dawn of time: parks, accommodation, library books, office space, public toilets (steady now). Contrary to what the world’s Silicon Valleys and Tech Cities would have us believe, sharing is nothing new. But what IS new is the tech that’s facilitated the opening up of access to assets and services en-masse, and the staggering variety of choice in the sharing smorgasbord. Dine on…
1. Designer clobber
For those times when your inner prima donna screams Prada but your purse strings cry Primark, Rentez-vous is an online fashion rental marketplace that will satisfy your high-end needs in the short term. Couture creations are enjoyed time and again rather than gathering moth balls in the corner of a cupboard, up-and-coming designers are more likely to get a foothold, and women’s tortured bank accounts the world over breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Airpnp does what it says on the can: enabling business and private residences alike to rent out their porcelain palaces. The movement is currently managing bowel movements in New Orleans, but we seriously hope it catches on further afield. Lord knows London is short on loos. Just remember: “urine good hands”.
In this age of high rises, it’s no surprise that pet-sharing services have skyrocketed. BorrowMyDoggy is a highly pupp-ular platform that lets dog owners lend their pride and joy temporarily to the dogless. A subscription service with unabashedly militant entry criteria, all would-be walkers are vetted to ensure that the pooches provided are treated with the TLC they deserve. We’ve got our eye firmly fixed on Remy here. (If our parking gig doesn’t work out, watch this space for a competitor called JustBark.)
…Because woe betide the person who dares to leave Remy’s greatest nemesis out of the sharing economy tapestry. Arguably the biggest jewel in London’s crown, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is the British incarnation of a trend that is old news in Japan: the cat cafe. Feline-fanatical patrons can sit down to slurp tea and nosh on a crumpet whilst surrounded by a symphony of contented purring. Miaow-vellous.
5. Storage space
To someone with insufficient storage space at their own home, your empty cupboard is gold dust (dead bluebottles notwithstanding). Put on your finest Old Mother Hubbard facial expression, and prepare to rent it out on a storage marketplace (e.g. Storemates).
You know the empty patch of land outside your front door? Flanked by florid-faced garden gnomes and crying quietly into the weeds as they burst their way merrily through cracks in the tarmac? Yep. That’s the tragic sound of an empty parking space that could be used by someone else willing to pay for it. Sites like JustPark fight the good fight to help each and every parking space fulfil its gnome-flanked destiny.
7. Vegetable patches
Agricultural sharing is also a thing. With urban allotments fast becoming as endangered as the delicious tuberous crops they shelter, companies like Landshare are changing the world for the better – one potato at a time.
8. Tent-friendly gardens
For those who’d prefer to have their gardens humming with humans rather than than pulsing with potatoes, Camp in my Garden lets you offer up your land for hard nut holidaymakers and their camping paraphernalia. We’d TENTatively venture to say that this is a wonderful idea.
9. Garden tools, DIY tools… everything tools
Sites like Zilok and RentMyItems make literally any household item fair game in the name of peer-to-peer rental. Because if you tend to your lawn but once a year, like most people, why splurge £hundreds on a state-of-the-art lawnmower?
Avast ye, scurvy dogs!! If you’re fed up of being a landlubber but lack the cash or the requisite strong stomach for a life sailing the seven seas, the good news is that Board a Boat lets you borrow someone else’s boat for a nominal fee and a limited amount of time. Eyepatch optional. Arrrr!
11. Travel money
The cunning folk at WeSwap have hit the jackpot by reimagining the travel money marketplace and cutting out the middle man. Instead of buying foreign currency from a bank, inhabitants of different countries can swap their $$$ for £££ or ¥¥¥ among themselves.
Cash in on the idle capacity of your set of wheels by renting it out with easyCar Club when your’e not using it. Or fill your spare seats when you make a journey by registering with BlaBlaCar, Europe’s top ride-sharing service: you get to cover the cost of your petrol, and passengers get a cheaper (and infinitely more fun) alternative to taking the train. Boom.
Peer-to-peer lending has taken off big time in the world of sharing economy startups. One such company is Zopa, which connects the dots between individuals who have money to lend with individuals who wish to borrow money. Tech savvy consumers wising up to the high return on investment for lenders and fair rates for borrowers, and basking in the unbridled feelgood factor of keeping our precious pennies well away from those Machiavellian banks that loomed large over the economic downturn. Take THAT, Leo.
Sadly we can’t help you with your pet-shaped needs. Not yet, anyway (JustBark trademark pending). But if you have a parking space that’s gathering dust and should be gathering riches – or you’re a car owner without a patch of tarmac to call your own – it’d be our very great pleasure to sort you out.
If this has whet your sharing economy whistle, follow JustPark CEO Alex Stephany on Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for his forthcoming book – The Business Of Sharing – which will be crammed with literally ALL the glorious details.