I’ve discovered a new website that chimes nicely with our New Zealand adventure and it’s worth sharing with fellow dog-owners. Fat Lama – described as ‘Airbnb for stuff’ – launched in the UK in 2016. It’s a website that helps you rent out your things and make a little return on your goods. I like it in a way that I might not have had I not been here.
There’s a make-do-and-mend culture in New Zealand. People aren’t quick to chuck things out – no doubt the knock-on effect of being miles from anywhere – and they are only too happy to lend their stuff. In fact, I’d say that lending is a way of life.
In the past month we’ve taken up various kind offers: garden secateurs, a chilly bin, kayaks, sailing kit and even the use of a swimming pool. Typically English, at first I was reticent to accept. I hate the thought of breaking something or damaging someone’s prized this or that. But I’ve relaxed. It’s a two-way street and it makes everyone feel good.
While Kiwi resourcefulness and generosity is a friendly way of paying it forward, Fat Lama is a business and money changes hands. Still, the fees are not exorbitant, and there’s a similar feel good factor on both sides: the lender can be pleased that they are making unused goods pay (and freeing up some storage space) and the borrower won’t waste money on something that will only be used once. At first the most popular goods on the site were short-term rentals of creative stuff – drones, DJ equipment, camera accessories. Now, though, the remit is expanding (from tuxedos to camper vans) along with demand. Dog crates currently top the dog-related rental list. Any dog owner will know why. I wish Fat Llama had been around 5 years ago, when we bought all the puppy paraphernalia that Teddy so quickly grew out of. Not all of it was crazily expensive, but it took up much-needed space and things like the puppy play pen and the puppy crate, were only used for such a short time.
Fat Lama is operating in the UK and currently rolling out in New York, too. While it might not quite match the altruistic Kiwi approach, this take on a sharing economy is clever and ridiculously easy to use. It’s also quite fun to browse. Last time I looked, the Flintstones Fruit Machine caught my eye, and I’m pretty sure that renting the hydraulic dog-grooming table once in a while would make brushing Ted (who prefers to wander off, mid-brush, see above) a whole lot easier.