Harriet Noy (Bsc Economics) has created a company called Hazaar which aims to tackle plastic waste through an online marketplace for UK university students.
Harriet Noy's story
For those of you that haven’t heard of Hazaar, it’s an app I am creating that will give every university their own zero waste marketplace. App development is under way and it will go live after Christmas 2020. My friend Sarah and I had set up ‘Plastic-free UOB’ - a society working to reduce single-use plastic on our university campus (University of Birmingham). The response to our society was amazing, with an unbelievable amount of support from students and staff at UoB.
Then one day I got thinking… I live in a house of 10 girls, all of whom are part of sports teams. Every Tuesday night, we would order costumes from Amazon Prime for Sports Night the following night. Amazon packages come with excessive packaging, they aren’t cheap, and you’re always wondering if it will come in time. Ironically, someone two doors down the road probably had the same theme the week before, meaning that the same costumes we had ordered were lying on their bedroom floor, never to be worn again. With this issue in mind, we recognised that we needed to make a platform for students to buy and sell between each other. This helped to reduce the volume of fast-fashion costumes being bought every week and reduce the pollution from ordering online by eliminating the need for excessive packaging and delivery.
The following week we set up ‘Bepop’, a facebook marketplace for UoB students to buy and sell from one another other. Within a day we had 2k members; now we have over 4k. The day we went live, I felt a buzz through my body. I’ve always been interested in start-up companies, and this excited me. I spoke to friends at other universities – they had nothing like this. I thought okay… I can make this into a business so I thought “Why not make a Depop… but for students?” My main selling point was to eliminate the need for postage and packaging, thus promoting a far more sustainable business. My journey truly started here… Coming up with the idea is the easy part. Going from an idea to something ‘proper’ is hard.