First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ning Ding: We are doing well. I’m based in Boston. Work from home for a while and accommodate the “new normal,” although I miss the office a lot. My family is in China. Things are all back to normal there.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded TagHawk.
Ning Ding: I started TagHawk after I got a master’s degree from Boston College in 2018. I worked and studied in 4 different countries in the past – China, UK, Australia, and finally settled down in Boston, the US, to pursue my community dreams. The idea of TagHawk comes from my personal experience that I feel obvious pain points when shopping for used items – credibility concerns and moving/delivery problems.
How does TagHawk innovate?
Ning Ding: TagHawk is the first community-based resale marketplace for buying and selling used items within communities like apartments, universities, and clubs, etc. By leveraging communities’ convenience and a trustworthy environment, users can enjoy easier, safer, and faster shopping experience with someone they are familiar with. Everyone can find their communities on TagHawk!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ning Ding: It does affect our business a bit. Community resale is about trust and proximity, but people are cautious about meeting others during this COVID period. In addition, our partners (apartment managers, university housing departments, club owners, etc.) are not willing to meet us in person because of it.
However, the upside is that people have more time to stay at home and clean their closet to post items for sale. We encourage users to follow the advice of the CDC and protect themselves with masks before meeting others.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ning Ding: Yes, as a startup, It hurts a lot when we decide to leave the office and work from home. I’m always a big fan of in-person conversation. I believe face to face meetings are more efficient and reliable. It’s a tough decision to work from home as I believe it will reduce the whole team’s efficiency to some extent.
Not to mention that we are still paying the rent. We realized that people obviously could adopt a new lifestyle (no doubt on that), but it’s still more efficient to push things along when we meet partners/customers in person.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and TagHawk in the future?
Ning Ding: Everyone has hobbies, so am I. Listen to the music, watch comedies, play League of Legends (I’m really good at it). We project TagHawk to represent a new community culture in the future. Whenever people join a new community – move to a new home, join a new club or start a new career – they will realize that there is always a resale community on TagHawk where they can buy & sell items and meet new friends.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ning Ding: Resale industry has a long history in the United States. People buy and sell stuff all the time. Our competitors range from younger startups like OfferUp to Old brands like Craigslist.
We will take advantage of our unique community concept to build the resale community culture. We aim to solve the major pain points of credibility concerns and moving problems. By leveraging the community power, we believe we will lead the next wave in the resale industry.
Your final thoughts?
Ning Ding: No matter how COVID alters people’s lives, the sustainability of the resale market, and the power of the community culture are the future.
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