Monday, March 1

The World’s Biggest Garage Sale Has Gone From Side Hustle To National Phenomenon In 5 Years

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The World’s Biggest Garage Sale started five years ago in Yasmin Grigaliunas’ garage, since then it has gone on to become a national phenomenon, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity in the process.

Recently Startup Soda had the opportunity to sit down with Yasmin to learn more about WBGS and what it means for the organisation to be accepted into the River City Labs Accelerator Program.

For those who are not familiar with WBGS the concept is simple. Almost everyone has extra stuff laying around their home, stuffed in boxes or hidden at the back of the garage. WBGS calls these items dormant goods. Often these goods are worth a decent amount of money, but instead of being used or donated to charity they remain “dormant”.

This is where WBGS steps in. Over the past five years they have created a system for collecting your stuff and turning it into an annual charity event. As Yasmin went onto explain, the idea for WBGS “started as a solution to solve donor fatigue” and coincided with her desire to sell some unwanted items from her home in a garage sale.

As Yasmin was planning to donate the proceeds to charity she reached out to close friends and family to make it more of an event. Not long after Yasmin’s 6m x 6m garage was full of donations and the World’s Biggest Garage Sale was born.

Since then the organisation has continued to grow with the 2017 event raising over $151,000 for charity. As Yasmin explained, “it wasn’t until 2017 when we finally knew that working for one month per year to scale our passion project, wasn’t enough”. As a result Yasmin went full time on the venture, something she describes as “the best and scariest thing” she has ever done.

Despite this Yasmin knew it was the right thing to do and set out to scale WBGS into something much larger. As Yasmin went on to explain however, this wasn’t always easy. In fact, Yasmin said “one of the challenges to overcome with our WBGS startup to date has been the navigation of where we fit in the ecosystem. Some people see us as a “charity”, primarily because we have had such an immense impact in the past with the fundraising we have activated. But, while we do have impact in this space and donate money to charity, we are not a charity organisation ourselves”.

This challenge continued to even when WBGS was accepted into the RCL Accelerator. As Yasmin articulated “we felt quite like a fish out of water. We sat between that ‘company’ and ‘charity’ space which can often be referred to as a social enterprise.” Although, Yasmin prefers the word “impact enterprise, making WBGS a profit for purpose company”.

However, being accepted into the RCL Accelerator has also allowed WBGS to better understand how they should position themselves. In particular, Yasmin noted that “the RCL accelerator mentors have helped with some great conversations and considerations around what it means to make impact, to measure it, to understand the breadth of what we do and to value just how big what we do really is”.

On the success that WBGS has seen in the RCL Accelerator Yasmin states that the biggest takeaway is that with RCL “you have a whole team of people there to support you. During the high highs, and the low lows”. Yasmin went on to say that “ I always had this feeling of ‘FOMO’ when first considering whether the RCL accelerator program was right for our company.  Now 13 weeks in, the dust (and hype) has settled and it’s BAU for scaling our company. We have a whole entire team, some who feel more like family, on hand to help us achieve the lofty goals we have for people, for planet and for purpose.”

Finally, looking to the future Yasmin says that the next few months are all about designing systems to scale their impact, to plan and hold more events and to test the business model for sustainable and scalable growth. Beyond the short term Yasmin said that WBGS is looking to create strong partnerships and deepen interest in holding events in communities outside of their own backyard. This includes both interstate and international expansion.

To learn more about The World’s Biggest Garage Sale you can visit their website here.


About Author

Paul Towers is a passionate supporter of the Australian startup ecosystem and the Founder of Startup Soda. Originally, Startup Soda was solely a newsletter that helped curate the best content from the Australian startup community, more recently however it has turned into a media platform with the aim of improving coverage of Australian Startups, Founders and VC's.