The Proud family returns to Wollongong to launch new BarterDayz App.
" A Windang family who upended their lives five years ago by swapping their house for a bus are set to launch a new bartering app they hope will start a grassroots revolution and give others a taste of the alternative lifestyle they've embraced"
"Clinton and Rachel Proud - who are travelling the country with their three boys and have no plans to set down roots any time soon - identified the need for an app that would help them barter instead of buy in order to keep living costs down."
A house painter and Police Officer in a former life, Clinton will often provide homes with a fresh lick of paint and general maintenance in exchange for land to camp on in each new town they pull up in.
Rachel will trade the essential oils she sells through the family business, for the likes of an osteo appointment or a pottery class.
Trading with strangers has become second nature to the family - even their kids instinctively look to swap before shelling out cash - but the hard part has been finding like-minded people.
"Every town we went to, we'd fall into this little community with people who were willing to trade and barter," Clinton said.
"There was always a paper list going around, where people would write down their service or skill - they were a fencer or they have lemons - and leave it on a community noticeboard," Clinton said.
"Because we were there for a while, you'd get to meet the people and make connections but then it was, do we do this every time we go to a new place?"
The only way for them to determine what they could bring to the next town - and what that town could offer them in return - was Facebook's Marketplace and Buy, Sell and Swap pages, where they quickly grew tired of the "endless scrolling, endless feeds and endless drama".
So in August last year, they decided it was time to make those paper lists digital and BarterDayz was born.
With a cup of coffee in hand, the entrepreneurs sat at the back of their bus and started jotting down what they wanted in an app - a map screen where they could see barterers in surrounding suburbs and what they had listed, anything from produce to a service like labouring, art lessons, hair and make-up or social marketing.
They envisioned the user would be able to create a value for their item and interested parties could then use an in-built messaging feature to chat and negotiate the terms of the trade. If they accept, they go on to meet, swap and form a connection that can be ongoing.
"There's nothing else like this out there because if there was, we would have been using it ourselves for the past five years," Rachel said.
After the initial stages of the app development, they approached two of their closest friends with the idea, both of whom jumped on board as silent investors.
They hired Melbourne firm Appetiser to build it, and a team of eight developers have been working around the clock to get an early version of the product ready for beta testing next month, before going live in January.
A limited version of BarterDayz will be free to download and use, while the aim is to cap the paid version at the price of a cup of coffee a month.
"We hope the app ignites a curiosity in everyone to at least download it, but we mainly see it being for people who want to participate in that grassroots revolution where they're interested in a return to the simple life," Rachel said.
"They're the innovators, the creatives, the lovers of recycling or saving money or conscious consumption, and this is a really easy thing to download and enhance what they already do in their communities.
"There's a lot of pockets around Australia that already have bartering systems, but this one just simplifies the whole process down to the palm of their hand and we're really excited to have been able to bring this to life for everyone.
"But most of all, and we've talked about this for many, many hours over the past year, this is for our children because we want them to grow up in a world where they're naturally drawn to barter so they're seeking opportunities to connect and create supportive communities, and to know what it's like to live as part of a supportive community.
"I think everyone's forgotten what it's like and just how powerful we are when we all come together."
By Tareyn Varley
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