What is ezebee.com and why are you expanding to SA?
ezebee.com is an online community and marketplace completely designed around the needs of small and micro-companies. After investigating standard marketplace concepts like Etsy and the like, we noted that small creative enterprises have more to offer than just products they to sell. They love to blog, attend markets, events and connect with their customers. With that in mind we created a social concept called “Showroom”, in which creatives can post products, news, blogs, events and show off their work in galleries. And to round it all up, ezebee.com features an in-built barter currency that allows the swapping of goods and services between members with no transaction costs.
South Africa is not only a huge market but also a very special one. Local vendors make beautiful products that are high in demand worldwide but are hard to find in Europe and the US. We want to give those small businesses the opportunity to enter those markets and sell directly to the buyers.
What’s the story behind ezebee.com?
In the summer of 2012, Ossian Vogel and Frank de Vries (both successful entrepreneurs) identified the problems faced by small business owners in the midst of economic crisis and increasing competition from big companies. Setting up an online platform to address all needs of small companies seemed like the logical step to help creative faces these barriers. The founders wanted to give small businesses, in all parts of the world, the chance to sell internationally with no cost.
So why is ezebee.com awesome?
We give small businesses the opportunity to sell online and reach a wide international base at no cost. We also offer an alternative payment system, so people can avoid additional charges. With no commission and charges piling up, the vendors are able to offer a fair price for their products and take the profit directly without sharing with payment providers. This gives small companies from all parts of the globe an edge with regards to profitability. Just because someone lives in a certain country or currency zone does not mean that his or her work is of lesser value or quality. ezebee.com is a one-price-one-currency zone, where all goods are offered at the same fair price and same rules apply to everyone.
Why is ezebee.com a good platform for SA Creatives?
With ezebee.com SA Creatives will have huge international exposure to millions of buyers and fellow creatives worldwide. Many vendors and creative small businesses cannot afford to design, run, host and market their own website or e-commerce system. Our showroom technology enables these users to start selling within minutes from anywhere in the world. Furthermore our alternative currency enables vendors to sell all over the world without any additional costs.
Tell us about the EZB currency ?
Every time a transaction is made online a payment provider makes money. Our free and simple EZB swap system leaves the profits where they belong, with the vendor and the customer with an equal share. Obviously we understand that our users need to earn money, so we leave it completely up to them how they want to sell their products.
How is ezebee.com supporting local businesses?
Both parts are connected with each other and equally important for SA vendors: selling international and supporting the local community. The swapping system makes it even more attractive to go local to avoid shipping costs. Recently we have launched our city pages where anyone can find local shops, events and connect with the local creative community. This is our way to say “no” to globalization and give local markets the boost they deserve.