Christian Smeltzer’s Swade

Have you ever glanced around your home and thought: “wow, I have a lot of stuff.” Appliances, furniture, DVDs, DVD players, electronics, that juicer you used once. Mentally and physically you’re overwhelmed with … stuff.

You run through the downsizing option in your head.

Toss it? When you think about the value of some of your (maybe brand new) items, it feels more like throwing money away.

Donate it? Sure, but how do you know your things will go to someone who really wants or needs it? Do you really have time to research worthwhile charities and services? And on the subject of time, the thought of trying to list and sell your item online can feel like such a chore.

But what about making a trade?

Or better yet, a “swade.” That’s where Christian Smeltzer and his widely anticipated app come in. Currently in creation and launching soon, Swade is the brainchild of Smeltzer’s finance and business development backgrounds. This app brings the age old bartering system into the modern era, giving people an easy, sustainable, and profitable way to repurpose their “old” items.

But before he was a CEO and start-up owner, Smeltzer was a guy raised in the Midwest.  An entrepreneur in his own right, he “traded (farm) equipment for tools without spending any money.” Over time he says:

“I wondered why the ancient form of barter hadn’t been brought back since the internet boom and couldn’t find a company that was doing it, so I decided to take it on.”

He didn’t just take it on. Smeltzer and his team in Brooklyn, NY made it easier than ever (and FREE) for people to assess the value of their items and trade for anything their hearts desired, all in the palm of their hands. Harnessing the power of the internet marketplace, Swade allows you to upload a photo and watch the trade notifications roll in. There’s zero obligation to make a trade or even respond. You only engage with offers that interest you. From there, you agree to either ship or make the swade in person. No transaction fees. No sales. Get rid of what you don’t use for something you’d love to have. It’s that simple.

But wait a second. This is too good to be true. What about fraud?

Smeltzer realizes this absolutely as a valid concern and has put security measures in place to ensure that Swade stays an honest platform:

“Every site has people who really embody the term ‘user’. Swade will hedge against that the best we can by moderating user profiles, approving item ads, providing a user-to-user rating system, in addition to providing an ‘in app camera’ so users can’t upload pictures unless an item is genuinely in their possession. Also, by controlling both shipments, we can freeze an incoming package if we see you haven’t prepared your item for shipment yet. Worse case scenario, we’re encouraging all users to have insurance on their shipments in event these situations arise. Even still, we’re here to keep consumers happy so if none of the above stops fraudulent activity; we’ll deactivate that account and refund the user their item or its value.”

Sustainability plus a win-win for traders and receivers – what’s the win for Swade?

Ever entrepreneurial-minded, Smeltzer came up with a way for Swade to profit as well as their traders: a premium monthly subscription showing users advanced metrics on their items. This “more metricized data” allows for insight on how to “uptrade”, making their net value increases more efficient and effective. This method creates that “triple-threat” business model as Smeltzer says:  

“Swade makes more money the more we save our customers – and that’s right where we want to stay because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re here for.”

As a whole though, Smeltzer really thrives on connecting users to each other and “helping them learn how to think about everything in their house like the solid state asset that it is. So, it’s highly educational as well as fiscally efficient.”

This focus on community and connectivity expands over into Swade’s Brooklyn headquarters, where Smeltzer says he’s got “the best team there is.” His leadership style is all about cohesion and working together. As CEO, he prefers to:

show my team how to build something, not tell them what to do. Shaping leaders and growing responsibility organically takes time and I think we’re on a very sustainable path to accomplishing that culture. Honestly, there’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing my team succeed and I think that’s the largest piece of satisfaction I receive.”

And the question we all want to ask the original swadester himself: what’s the best trade you’ve ever scored?

His answer: “My best trade was the new (at the time) Chocolate Razor flip phone for a new HP laptop, electric guitar, amp, microphone, paintball gun, Blackberry Bold, Rayban Sunglasses and a shell necklace + $30. I guess that guy really wanted that phone,” Smeltzer says with a laugh.”

We think Smeltzer just really wanted that shell necklace.

Either way, we’re so excited for the official release of Swade on the app marketplace. They are giving away a free premium membership to the first 2,000 people who sign up for the beta version – and are receiving new entries daily. So do not wait to test out this updated take on the age old saying: One person’s trash is another’s treasure. And Swade is one treasure we can’t wait to try.

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