The world of ecochair

Behind the scenes at ecochair.ch. Our adventures, our successes and sometimes a few little disasters.  Plus lots of great ideas and tips for living a more sustainable life, through second-hand furniture and beyond.

Peering in the window

Posted by Kathleen Bottriell on

Time flies when you're having fun! It was less than a month ago that I got the keys to the new shop, but already it feels like home. It's such a beautiful space, with a huge glass window and herringbone parquet that it has needed very little addition. We installed a chandelier, moved the small stock of furniture in, and set up my desk.

I am planning an official opening in mid-May, though I've already had a few curious folk peering in the window. I even had a gentleman open the door and walk in to the shop to take a look, so it's off to a good start. Of course, the business is mainly online, but sometimes it's nice to have human contact and for people to know that there is a place where they can go to talk to a real person.

Right now I'm busy planning the opening, and getting ecochair established on the internet. So far, we have an instagram channel, a facebook page, a linkedin account and a youtube channel. I've also put us on the map with google, so you can find us, if you'd like to drop by.

Here's a sneak peek at the shop:

 

Inside ecochair shop furniture and glass shopfront with chandelierShop front with large window and cobblestones breisacherstrasse

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Peering in the window

Posted by Kathleen Bottriell on

Time flies when you're having fun! It was less than a month ago that I got the keys to the new shop, but already it feels like home. It's such a beautiful space, with a huge glass window and herringbone parquet that it has needed very little addition. We installed a chandelier, moved the small stock of furniture in, and set up my desk.

I am planning an official opening in mid-May, though I've already had a few curious folk peering in the window. I even had a gentleman open the door and walk in to the shop to take a look, so it's off to a good start. Of course, the business is mainly online, but sometimes it's nice to have human contact and for people to know that there is a place where they can go to talk to a real person.

Right now I'm busy planning the opening, and getting ecochair established on the internet. So far, we have an instagram channel, a facebook page, a linkedin account and a youtube channel. I've also put us on the map with google, so you can find us, if you'd like to drop by.

Here's a sneak peek at the shop:

 

Inside ecochair shop furniture and glass shopfront with chandelierShop front with large window and cobblestones breisacherstrasse

SaveSave

Read more


Watch this space... brick and mortar shop coming soon

Posted by Kathleen Bottriell on

brick-and-mortar or bricks-and-mortar

[brik-uh n-mawr-ter]

  1. :  relating to or being a traditional business serving customers in a building as contrasted to an online business <a brick–and–mortar store>

We have some very exciting news here at ecochair. It looks like we will soon have our very own shop in Klein Basel!

While our business is predominantly online, we appreciate that it's nice to be able to see and touch things before you buy them. While we won't hold the entire stock in the shop (it's a pretty small shop), we will post pictures of our shop window online so you can decide whether you want to come visit us. We have a few more ideas how to use this 'brick and mortar' outpost to help enhance your online shopping experience, so watch this space.

In the meantime, feel free to browse what we have online.

Read more

Watch this space... brick and mortar shop coming soon

Posted by Kathleen Bottriell on

brick-and-mortar or bricks-and-mortar

[brik-uh n-mawr-ter]

  1. :  relating to or being a traditional business serving customers in a building as contrasted to an online business <a brick–and–mortar store>

We have some very exciting news here at ecochair. It looks like we will soon have our very own shop in Klein Basel!

While our business is predominantly online, we appreciate that it's nice to be able to see and touch things before you buy them. While we won't hold the entire stock in the shop (it's a pretty small shop), we will post pictures of our shop window online so you can decide whether you want to come visit us. We have a few more ideas how to use this 'brick and mortar' outpost to help enhance your online shopping experience, so watch this space.

In the meantime, feel free to browse what we have online.

Read more


How it all began

Posted by Kathleen Bottriell on

It would have been hard to imagine, floating down a swirling river in a dugout canoe with a Swiss man I had just met, that I would someday launch an online furniture marketplace in Basel.

I've found that life, like a river, is much easier when you go with the flow. In my case, it led me to Basel. I arrived in late summer 2014, moving from Washington  (leaving a job at a big international organisation to follow-up my heart, like so many of us foreigners in Switzerland!).

We moved in to a relatively spacious home near Basel. Having sold or given away most of my worldly possessions, and with a Swiss man who had very few pieces of furniture, I was faced with the task of furnishing our new home. I poked around some nice design stores (3,500 CHF for a table? Ulp!), got lost in several mazes of Brockenhauses, and discovered Tutti and OLX online. I liked Tutti and OLX best because I didn't have to talk to anyone in person, and I relied heavily on google translate to help me understand what was for sale, and communicate to sellers.  I'm pretty sure this resulted in some German messages along the lines of 'Hello Peter, Me want chair. Chair available? Get this week?'. No wonder I had such a poor response rate.

We had a few hiccups, with a table advertised in Basel that we actually had to pick up Sissach, and my lack of knowledge of Swiss geography combined with my Canadian sense of distances meant we sometimes travelled a bit far to get things. Me: Bern isn't that far, right? Him: You need to calculate 1 CHF per km. 1 CHF!! We just added 200CHF cost to that table. Me: Oh.

His friends thought I was crazy, going to so much trouble to buy second-hand furniture. Sometimes I started to wonder myself. But, it also made me wonder whether there was a better way, a way in which normal people who weren't interested in Adventures in Google Translate or Getting Lost in Brockenhauses could buy high quality furniture, which just happened to be second-hand.

For me, buying second-hand was important - I am motivated by reducing the environmental impact of my day to day life.  So, I began to develop the idea of an online furniture platform, that made it really easy to find and buy nice secondhand furniture. I knew that not everyone would be willing to go to the same effort as me, so I set out trying to solve what had been the biggest barriers for me – language, transportation and clear information about the items.  I have a clear recollection of describing my idea to my Migrosklubschule classmates over lunch one day, my comrades in arms in navigating this new land.

I was fortunate to already be renting a co-working desk at the Start-Up Academy, and approached them about joining the programme in early 2015. I was thrilled to be accepted, and have since embarked on a big learning curve in terms of starting a business in Switzerland. It took me about a year and half to get up and running, and while we still have a way to go, it’s my great pleasure to be officially online as of January 2017.

Take a look at what we have to offer, and buy it because you want it, because you love it, because it's just so easy to click and get that table delivered so you don't have to eat with your plate in your lap anymore. And, you'll just happen to be helping the planet too.

Happy shopping

Kate

Read more

How it all began

Posted by Kathleen Bottriell on

It would have been hard to imagine, floating down a swirling river in a dugout canoe with a Swiss man I had just met, that I would someday launch an online furniture marketplace in Basel.

I've found that life, like a river, is much easier when you go with the flow. In my case, it led me to Basel. I arrived in late summer 2014, moving from Washington  (leaving a job at a big international organisation to follow-up my heart, like so many of us foreigners in Switzerland!).

We moved in to a relatively spacious home near Basel. Having sold or given away most of my worldly possessions, and with a Swiss man who had very few pieces of furniture, I was faced with the task of furnishing our new home. I poked around some nice design stores (3,500 CHF for a table? Ulp!), got lost in several mazes of Brockenhauses, and discovered Tutti and OLX online. I liked Tutti and OLX best because I didn't have to talk to anyone in person, and I relied heavily on google translate to help me understand what was for sale, and communicate to sellers.  I'm pretty sure this resulted in some German messages along the lines of 'Hello Peter, Me want chair. Chair available? Get this week?'. No wonder I had such a poor response rate.

We had a few hiccups, with a table advertised in Basel that we actually had to pick up Sissach, and my lack of knowledge of Swiss geography combined with my Canadian sense of distances meant we sometimes travelled a bit far to get things. Me: Bern isn't that far, right? Him: You need to calculate 1 CHF per km. 1 CHF!! We just added 200CHF cost to that table. Me: Oh.

His friends thought I was crazy, going to so much trouble to buy second-hand furniture. Sometimes I started to wonder myself. But, it also made me wonder whether there was a better way, a way in which normal people who weren't interested in Adventures in Google Translate or Getting Lost in Brockenhauses could buy high quality furniture, which just happened to be second-hand.

For me, buying second-hand was important - I am motivated by reducing the environmental impact of my day to day life.  So, I began to develop the idea of an online furniture platform, that made it really easy to find and buy nice secondhand furniture. I knew that not everyone would be willing to go to the same effort as me, so I set out trying to solve what had been the biggest barriers for me – language, transportation and clear information about the items.  I have a clear recollection of describing my idea to my Migrosklubschule classmates over lunch one day, my comrades in arms in navigating this new land.

I was fortunate to already be renting a co-working desk at the Start-Up Academy, and approached them about joining the programme in early 2015. I was thrilled to be accepted, and have since embarked on a big learning curve in terms of starting a business in Switzerland. It took me about a year and half to get up and running, and while we still have a way to go, it’s my great pleasure to be officially online as of January 2017.

Take a look at what we have to offer, and buy it because you want it, because you love it, because it's just so easy to click and get that table delivered so you don't have to eat with your plate in your lap anymore. And, you'll just happen to be helping the planet too.

Happy shopping

Kate

Read more