Jul 262012

When you’re running a part time business and holding down a full time job, selling is difficult and its hard to find the time to setup websites.

Online marketplace Andable provides an outlet for creatives and those entrepreneurs juggling full time jobs. The site’s mission is to be “an online marketplace where you can discover extraordinary things to buy and sell.”

The problem for those passionate entrepreneurs busy making things is they don’t have time – and often lack the skills – to sell their works. Co-founders Rupal Simian and Melissa Dean decided they would set up an online marketplace to help those businesses.

Central to Andable’s service is the ability for these small businesses to tell their stories. Most of the service’s merchants are part time businesspeople who hold down full time jobs.

Andable’s name comes from compressing “willing and able” and the site lets micro businesses list their products for free with a 5% commission from sales. Payments are handled through PayPal who they work closely with.

For sellers to qualify for a listing, they have to meet at least one of Annabel’s FRESH criteria; Fairtrade, Reused, Eco-friendly, Supporting local business or Handmade.

An interesting thing about Andable is how 10% of the sale goes into a Kiva microfinancing project. After six months that loan is repaid – Kiva boasts a 99% repayment rate – the 10% is rebated to the merchant.

Since the service’s launch in July, two investments have been made with Mel and Rupal looking at completing 600 loans by the end of their first year’s trading.

A month into operation, Andable has close to 200 shops including ranging from hand crafted jewellery, vintage lightboxes and hipster homewares. Sellers are based around the world from Germany and Indonesia through to Byron Bay and Fremantle.

What’s interesting about Andable is how we’re seeing different online marketplaces appearing to cater for different markets. For businesses, this means it’s becoming easier to get your products to market.

The challenge is to get attention in a marketplace that’s saturated with advertising and information. Platforms like Pinterest, eBay and Andable are ways motivated customers can find businesses.

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