Rebecca Smith has had a burning passion for entrepreneurship for many years. She sold everything she could get her hands on, from handmade bracelets and beads to fresh lemons from her family’s lemon tree.
As a single mother fresh out of college, Smith sold brand-name clearance goods at discount prices in her native Costa Rica and imported sterling silver jewelry from Thailand.
“The exchange of value between people has always fascinated me,” said Smith.
Smith, 38, and her tech startup, Thrifty, won the $5,000 “Rising Star Startup of the Year” award at the 4th Annual CelebrateGNV on February 2nd. The event was led by non-profit organization startGNV and served as a celebration highlighting last year’s success. of local Gainesville tech startups and businesses.
Company Award finalists were selected based on applications submitted by company representatives and judged by a panel of innovation community leaders.
Nationwide, women founders received just 2% of venture capital funding for their businesses in 2021.
“Because I’m a woman, the odds are already against me,” Smith said.
Launched in 2020, Thrifty is an app that allows second-hand sellers to make money from unwanted items without leaving their homes.
A vetted event manager is available in the app for sellers to submit their items. These managers can sell their items using online platforms like Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace, or through garage sales and pop-up events.
Sellers enter their zip code and preferred mileage radius, and the app finds local event managers near the seller. The seller can then match the event with her manager and discuss the details of selling the item through her private message.
Sellers can make up to 60% profit from the sale of their items once they have priced and tagged their items. According to Thrifty’s webpage, if a seller chooses to use her VIP tagging service, he will earn 40% from the sale of the item.
After 30 days, unsold items can be donated to local charities.
Rohn Henry, 39, says the efficiency of the Thrifty Event Manager has allowed him to eliminate unused storage items he wants to offload.
The self-storage front desk receptionist introduced Thrifty to Henry after asking how the unit could be downsized.
He said most of the toys, exercise equipment and clothing owned by his fiancée and their son were sold within 30 days. Despite the money he earned, he was happy to find a way to get rid of his items.
“The ability to get rid of unwanted items and get paid for it has been a win-win for me,” Henry said.
He said the app helps prevent self-storage companies from auctioning off items for people in similar situations.
Smith launched his first startup venture in 2010 with Corks and Colors Studio, which offers weekly art courses. Smith said he became interested in the concept of consignment sales in 2018 while juggling other businesses.
She eventually found success with three-day pop-up events around Gainesville and, despite being a full-time mother, jumped at the opportunity to create a commissioned business.
She said offering people the opportunity to earn extra income is worth the risk.
“I didn’t know what the concept would be, but I always knew I wanted to be able to provide a way for people to have their own side hustle,” Smith said.
Through the support of Santa Fe’s Center for Innovation & Economic Development, Smith has grown Cork and Color from the ground up using space and business insights from consultants and peer groups.
CIED entrepreneur Bill Dorman said he was impressed with her go-getter from the start.
Dorman said he was surprised at how quickly things turned around after he advised them to gather the necessary materials to support their classes.
“Everyone has ideas. “It’s not an idea, it’s an execution.”
Smith said Thrifty’s mission is entirely community-centric. Events like CelebrateGNV encourage small business owners.
“Having a startup is a tough road,” said Smith. “Having your community gather around you is a boost of energy.”
Smith said he plans to use the $5,000 prize to fund a large pop-up event selling clothing for college buyers. She said the prize money helps a lot because Thrifty is completely self-funded.
“Some people might look at it and think it’s not a big deal for the business, but it’s really not a big deal,” says Smith.