July 8, 2015 | Alex
The blog is back. 9 months, one website re-design and a slew of all-consuming (and creatively rewarding) residential interior design projects later, something happened big enough to wrench me back to the blog: Move Loot has landed in NYC!
Move Loot is a platform to facilitate the type of used furniture exchange happening in online marketplaces like Craig's List and Apartment Therapy Classifieds (powered by Krrb), without the considerable logistical headaches and pitfalls associated with such sites.
How does it work?
TO SELL | Upload photos and details of the items you'd like to off load. You can opt to price the item yourself or delegate pricing to Move Loot. (They determine the list price based on "past purchasing trends, inventory data, and furniture depreciation.") Schedule an appointment for pick-up. Move Loot picks up your items for free! Your items will be professionally photographed in a studio setting and listed on moveloot.com. When your item sells, you receive 50%-70% of the sale. You can maximize your consignment percentage by accepting payment in "Loot Bucks" to be applied toward future purchases on the site. In other words, 50% in USD, 70% in Loot Bucks.
Here's what the form looks like when you submit an item for sale:
TO BUY | Browse the website just like you would any other! If you want to buy right away, just add the item to your shopping cart, check out and schedule a delivery time. To negotiate price, submit your offer, then await email notification when the item's owner accepts or counters. Delivery is free for items over $100. For less than $100, delivery is $15 to Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. If you've earned Loot Bucks from selling, you can apply all or part of them towards your purchase of new items.
Simple, right? Since the site is new to New York (Move Loot's roots are in the Bay Area), the offerings aren't yet as extensive as, say, Craig's List. But given how effectively Move Loot allows buyers and sellers alike to sidestep the Craig's List grumbles, I'm confident it'll catch on fast. All you have to do is skip on over to the covetable San Francisco offerings to catch a glimpse of Move Loot's NYC's bright future.
That's not to say that there aren't killer finds available on the site now! I'll surprise no one - least of all my mother and partner in Common Bond Design - with my Scandinavian, naturalist-inspired picks in white and blonde wood, but there is comfort in predictability, no? Here are a few of my favorite items on Move Loot right now:
- Petite Snowflake Nighstand - $80 (Also: in blonde wood!)
- Medium Rör Plant Hanger - $80 (Also: in small and large!)
- Feathered Friends Wall Art - $105
- Fiskebein Dining Table - $999
- Bed Riser Box - $30
- Artist's Accent Chair - $45
Although Move Loot does have online consignment competitors (like Chairish and Previously Owned by a Gay Man) for purposes of highlighting pros and cons, I'll compare the site to Craig's List. That's really the predominant forum for online used furniture exchange, and the complicated beast to which Move Loot hopes to offer a less stressful alternative.
PROS | A deep dive into the advantages of Move Loot:
- Delivery, delivery, delivery. Free delivery no less! (Over $100). As a frequent Craig's List shopper, I can tell you many a deal has been stymied by the transportation issue. In NYC, transport can run you $100 or more, significantly affecting the "deal" you're aiming for by buying used.
- No dealing with endless back-and-forth over email and text. My least favorite aspect of selling on Craig's List is the deluge of emails. It's challenging to determine who has serious intent to buy and who is actively engaging in fantasy. (Nothing wrong with a little furniture fantasy! I indulge in it all the time, but I try to be conscientious of sellers' time). Often and understandably, potential buyers like to see the piece in person before committing. The time spent responding to email interest and showing the piece live quickly adds up for what might be a very low selling price.
- Returns. This is huge. Excepting the exceptional, returns just don't exist on Craig's List. And sometimes, you gotta see a piece in a space to know if it's right! Note: the cost of delivery (both ways) is deducted from your refund.
- Pricing guidance. Particularly when I sell furniture for clients, I'm flummoxed by how to price it. The wild variation in Craig's List pricing is never more evident than in IKEA furniture. The same Karlstad sofa will appear in multiple listings at price points that vary by hundreds of dollars. (I've even seen IKEA products listed on Craig's List for more than the price of a new version! Huh?!) Some of the variation can be explained by range in condition, but with photo quality varying as widely as price, it can be difficult to identify any concrete "standard." Segue into my next pro...
- Professional Photos. Each listing presents the item in a series of quality images against a uniform backdrop. (A quite minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired backdrop I might add.) When you're searching for a diamond in the rough on Craig's List, it's easy to fatigue from the visual assault of poorly lit, fuzzy iPhone photos. And for every diamond, there's a lot of rough. Move Loot is more carefully curated and offers a more visually calming and consistent shopping experience. From a seller's perspective, you don't need to fret if your apartment has insufficient lighting or your photography skills can't do justice to your piece. Move Loot's photo squad's got you covered. Another benefit? No stock photos allowed. In other words, you're seeing the actual piece you're purchasing. Warts and all!
- Curated Collections and Filters. Category drop downs and filters, like color and room type, help you zero in on what you're looking for faster than guessing keywords and browsing a sea of maybe somewhat relevant search results.
- Ask a designer. Curious about something that isn't mentioned in an item's description. Or just want a second opinion on how it will integrate into your interior? Ask a Move Loot designer!
CONS | There are a few drawbacks:
- You only receive 50-70% of sale. In a Craig's List sale, you take home 100% of the sale proceeds. Then again, in a Craig's List sale, you do 100% of the legwork. Though delivery is marketed as "free", it's more accurate to think of it as "priced in" - likewise with the other hassles Move Loot takes off your plate.
- Higher prices. There are definitely deals to be had, but items are not quite as deeply discounted as on Craig's List. No doubt sellers are taking Move Loot's commission into account when pricing.
- 60-day Consignment Period. If your item doesn't sell within 60 days, you can pay to have it returned to you, pick it up for free or opt to donate it to charity. In practice, this means that Craig's List is still a better option if you're tentatively floating the sale of a piece to see how much you might get for it. In my experience, though, once I'm posting something to Craig's List, I'm highly motivated to move it. As the name implies, Move Loot is the best option when you simply need to move loot!
- 4-hour time windows. I would say the single greatest drawback of Move Loot is that the delivery and pick-up windows are 4 hours. For tightly-scheduled New Yorkers, this is not optimal. I'm hopeful that as operations expand in the NYC area, delivery windows will contract.
Ready to give it a shot? Once you sign up and confirm your account, you'll receive a promo code for 10% off your first order. Move Loot NYC is also offering a 'Give $25, get $25 referral'. (Tell your friends about Move Loot and give them $25 in Loot Bucks. Once they make a purchase, you get $25 too.) Happy hassle-free, secondhand shopping!