Focus this month: Humanity & Belonging

The amount of uncertainty that we have had to endure in the past few years seems more than enough. Inflation, supply chain and manufacturing issues and the unpredictability of the energy situation are making us turn inwards, to our own community and to our own local safety net, even in our buying behaviour.

Sharing, trading and bartering… Typical human reactions in times of crisis, one could say. But we think there’s more to it than that, perhaps a true manifestation of our search for belonging and community.

Why now?

The iffy feelings that buying secondhand might have induced in our minds earlier are clearly moving aside, and it shows. From 2019 to 2022 the market for resold fashion grew by a whopping 69%worldwide. The key to secondhand shopping becoming more and more mainstream is the fact that it combines so many feel good factors: getting something “new”, shopping more sustainably, supporting your local community AND saving money. Phew! Without these it would most likely still be something only the trailblazing ecological superheroes do.

We’ve already seen the rise (and fall of some) consumer-to-consumer (C2C) platforms and e-commerce sites, not to forget the hyperlocal fashion and home goods recycling groups that seem to be one of the driving forces that keep Facebook alive still. Looking for a peer or a local with skills, support or friendship to offer isn’t a shout into the void anymore, but instead becoming an increasingly accepted way of dealing with issues even as major as loneliness and marginalisation.

What’s in it for me?

Even though we’re talking about goods, services, skills and sometimes also money being exchanged between consumers, there is so much potential for all kinds of brands to tap in there too. Could there be a new business perspective in connecting people, rather than selling and producing more? Could this type of a business model exist together with your current one?

Safety is one of the key risks to mitigate in the C2C environment – in its physical (safe live exchange of physical items and services), digital (safe exchange of digital goods, services, and most of all, information) and monetary (safe exchange of money or other resources) form. Could you be the one to create a safe environment where your target community can operate and thrive?

Or maybe, instead of facilitating the purchasing process between consumers, you could consider moving into the bartering territory between your customers and you? With inflation driving up the prices of well, everything, could the exchange happening from your customer to you also include something other than money?

See also: Building communities with creativity

The perfect example

Even in a Nordic welfare state such as Finland there are clear improvement needs when it comes to taking care of the older generations with the respect and support they deserve.

Gubbe is a Finnish company offering elderly people preventive care services that support their independent and active life. What makes Gubbe different from the typical, often health care driven elderly care services, is that the caregivers, or “Gubbes” as the company itself calls them, are regular people, just like us. Pretty much anyone over 15 can become a “Gubbe”! While the company clearly wants to keep a low barrier for entry for those who want to help, their customers can feel safe as they offer a screening process and comprehensive training for the volunteers.

Improved quality of life and increased activity levels for the elderly, peace of mind for their families and loves ones, and all the warm feelings of being there for someone, topped with a compensation for the helpers. What’s not to love here really?

“What’s Next” is our weekly series focusing on a relevant trend that manifests one of the six forces of change by Kuudes. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to learn about the next trend.