New Online Marketplace Launches In Gainesville

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Taryn Tacher uses brtr as a platform to sell her custom dream catchers to raise money for Dance Marathon at the University of Florida. Brtr is an online board for users to trade services.
Taryn Tacher uses brtr as a platform to sell her custom dream catchers to raise money for Dance Marathon at the University of Florida. Brtr is an online board for users to trade services. Rebecca Rubin / WUFT

Finding your next yoga teacher, swimming instructor or hair stylist just became a whole lot easier.

Brtr, pronounced barter, is an online platform for vendors to trade services. The platform is a Gainesville startup that launched this January.

“There are quite a few websites where you can earn your money monetizing your time, such as Uber,” said Rachel Federman, founder and CEO of brtr. “The difference between us and all those companies is here you get to monetize your skill.”

Brtr is similar to websites like Etsy, where individuals market their crafts online. But, this platform is based on services rather than products. Freedman used photography as an example.

“For a lot of budding photographers, they are in a limbo phase,” Federman said. “I would love to hire a photographer that isn’t as expensive. It gives them a chance to start working immediately and fine tune their services.”

For those still honing their skills, brtr provides a low-risk environment for others to test their services. Customers can pay with a credit card using U.S. dollars or with “brtr dollars,” which can only be used to trade services on the site, and do not equal U.S. currency.

New users receive 40 brtr dollars to use toward other vendors. This way, people can try services without spending their money. Afterward, customers can leave reviews about the service(s). Supplying new users with brtr dollars is beneficial for vendors because it gives them the opportunity to build a reputation and gain credibility before customers spend U.S. dollars.

As a college student, Ely Benhamo, director of business development for brtr, uses the platform to make money teaching private- or group-swimming lessons for $45 U.S. dollars, or 45 brtr dollars.

“It’s very hard to get a job in college and make it work with your schedule,” Benhamo said. “I don’t really have a network of families in Gainesville that I can teach swimming to, since I am from Miami. This website is a platform for me to put my service out there.”

Since brtr is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects through Facebook, Benhamo said it, “eliminates the sketchiness of other websites because you can actually see who these people are.”

“It is all local, so it’s not like you are ordering services from another state,” she said.

While most people market services on brtr, Taryn Tacher is using it to sell custom dream catchers for $15, with all of the proceeds going toward Dance Marathon at the University of Florida.

Tacher received seven orders within the first two days of joining.

“It’s more than I expected, and it’s going well,” she said. “People aren’t that specific. They trust my artistic style, so they just give me a color or two, and I’ll just make it based off of that.”

Although Tacher is only offering her product for U.S. dollars, she said college students could benefit from brtr dollars as well.

“A lot of college kids are trying to get money, or get things done that they don’t have the money to do. Here, they can trade something that they are good at for something they need,” she said.

Signing up for brtr is free, so the site’s personal revenue is currently based on booking fees, Federman said.

Federman plans to launch brtr in Miami this February.

The website is still in its beginning stage, and there are fewer than 25 services currently on the site. Services range from lacrosse lessons to event planning.

About Rebecca Rubin

Rebecca is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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