Sharing the love
A sabbatical from the pressures of juggling a hectic work schedule while raising a young family was the catalyst for former lawyer Kym Foster to start her own business, allowing members to trade skills, services or products without a dollar changing hands.
The big idea for Shareshop came to Kym shortly after arriving home from a three-year road trip around Australia and giving birth to her second child, Amity.
The travel venture was a spontaneous decision Kym made after being diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnolence (extreme daytime fatigue) and losing a close friend to cancer.
“It hit me the day of that funeral that life is too short. I just had this feeling that we were on the merry go round of life and with work pressures, I felt like I wasn’t being the parent I wanted to be and ended up thinking where was the balance in my life?”
In a brave move, Kym quit her fast-paced career, sold the family home, traded her corporate suit and headed off into the sunset of the Aussie outback in a caravan she and her family would call home for the next three years.
With her husband Andrew and one year old son Hunter by her side they chased the sun and embarked on an Australian adventure that would ultimately change their lives.
“I think that if I hadn’t done the trip I wouldn’t have thought of Shareshop or began to think bigger,” says Kym.
Shareshop is an online platform that allows you to ‘enjoy more of the good things in life’.
Unlike anything before, Kym’s business model takes a hard look at the current economic landscape and completely flips it on its backside, valuing the skills, hobbies, products and services of members and businesses, minus the dollar signs and limitations of money.
“Shareshop is fundamentally a cashless society,” says Kym. “It’s a way for people to use whatever skills, talents or products that they already have and then trade them with other members, using points as payment instead of money.”
“It’s all about people offering what they are good at or love to do and to utilise their time when money isn’t coming in. We have some well known trades and services but there are also some different offerings that you may have never thought of, such as scuba tank servicing, clowns for parties and even people offering their time to iron your laundry or grocery shop for others.”
With over 600 members Australia wide, the only cost of Shareshop is a monthly fee of $4.95. From here, members create an account and calculate the value of their service where $1 equals 1 point. As members provide and ‘trade’ their offerings, points are tallied and used to ‘purchase’ other services advertised within the Shareshop community.
“It really does provide an opportunity for anyone, no matter what stage in their life they are in. Instead of your $4.99 morning cup of coffee, you can put this towards a month of access to the Share Shop community.”
Melanie Eager, founder of nutrition and coaching business, Eager for Life, has found great success through Shareshop, explaining that the site isn’t just a great marketplace to advertise your business and passions but a great platform to find out about unique offerings and ways to treat yourself.
“Shareshop is a unique platform that allows me to provide an exact plan to my clients based on their genetics and has allowed me to ‘spend’ on things such as massages, that I would normally feel guilty about treating myself to,” says Melanie.
Like any small business, Kym acknowledges that her journey with Shareshop has been an ‘emotional, spiritual, mental and physical’ learning process that has changed her outlook on life and given her a sense of purpose and excitement.
Through her platform she has even miraculously stumbled upon a service she wouldn’t have come across or spent money on, that has erased all symptoms of the Idiopathic Hypersomnolence she has been suffering from for the last 10 years.
“Shareshop has changed the rest of my life. It’s given me a renewed sense of passion, through the opportunities it can give people. It’s shown me what’s possible when you take the money mindset out of it and what amazing things can happen when you are open-minded.”
Since its launch in 2013, Shareshop has flourished into a platform that hosts a community of changemakers that has enabled members and business owners like Melanie Eager to meet a talented variety of supportive and beautiful people.
“Everyone has a talent or something that they can offer, whether they are already in a business or not. Showcasing this on Shareshop can lead to friendships, collaborations, support and income, allowing members to grow their ‘thing’ in a way they never anticipated.”
With a zest for travel and adventure bubbling within, Kym, her husband, and her three children aged two, seven and 12 are set to take on Australia, round two by the summer of next year. This time, with Shareshop and her new business venture, Shebux on the road.
Launching in July, Shebux is a luxe private economy exclusively for women in business to share their products and services in a space that inspires business growth. So if you’re a Mumpreneur or hardworking lady, stay tuned!
With her laptop buckled tightly in, Kym is excited to spread the word about Shareshop and Shebux across Australia, in hope of making them a household name. Along the way she is determined to inspire others to fill up their cup in a way that makes their lives happy, fulfilled and balanced, leaving no stone unturned by igniting the passion and fire of change makers throughout the country.