You can now travel through Japan without the hassle of lugging a suitcase or backpack around with you thanks to a new sharing network that allows travellers to rent clothes, gadgets and goods from locals.
Locarry, a luggage-sharing network, was created this year by Japanese start-up entrepreneur Shimpei Watanabe, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) associate. He came up with the concept during a trip to China last year and told Lonely Planet, “I had to bring a suitcase instead of light-luggage because I brought workout clothes and shoes. But when I met my friend at the destination, he said I didn’t have to bring them… he could have lent them to me.”
Watanabe saw a gap in the market for a platform where people can borrow or lend items to others. He looked to Singapore-based marketplace Carousell, Japanese second-hand goods app Mercari and rental platform Airbnb as inspiration for his business model but with a focus on making travel more convenient by allowing travellers to borrow luggage items from locals.
With Locarry, users can borrow or share typical travel necessities such as t-shirts, jeans, suits, dresses, hats, sunglasses, kimonos, towels, workout clothes and even sporting goods and gadgets like surfboards, golf clubs, tennis rackets, tents, cameras and binoculars.
The process is pretty straightforward. A lender will post a list of items that they’re willing to share, e.g. a kimono set, a camera, a two-day set etc. on site. Watanabe says users are asked for their measurements when signing up “so users can apply filters to find lenders who have a similar body size”. Once a borrower sees a package that meets their preference, they send a request to the lender and confirm payment, collection and return date. Once the request is approved, the borrower will meet the lender at the destination to collect their travel items.
To ensure quality control, the site operates through a five-star feedback system. Borrowers will be rated highly if they return the package to the lender in the same condition that they collected it in. Likewise, lenders will be rated on the quality of their items. Watanabe is planning to introduce SMS and ID verifications as added security and quality measures.
Payments take place face-to-face between users when they exchange items and Locarry doesn’t take commission from sales. There are no membership or registration fees either. In the future, the company is hoping to add a premium option package and to partner with Airbnb hosts who can include a Locarry packages with their vacation rentals.
Watanabe’s goal is to create a complete global sharing network and “where everyone can go anywhere without heavy luggage”.
Currently the service is available in Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. See here for more information.