Giving community: Good Use Co. provides a platform to give things away and make friends

The Good Use Co. app enables users to give away items and make community connections.
(Courtesy of Good Use Co.)

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With an eye on community building, Good Use Co. is providing San Diego residents with a way to connect with others as they part with their things. Company executives hope to encourage even more giving with two events this month.

Good Use Co., launched in 2020 by Darius Thompson and Kimia Talebian, designed a platform for people to give away the things they no longer want or need. Its app is available at Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Users create a verified Good Use Co. account and then post photos and descriptions of their things. When someone responds, they arrange a meeting to hand off the items.

The start-up’s “fall declutter challenge” will begin Monday, Nov. 8, and run through Monday, Nov. 22.

Talebian, chief executive of Good Use Co., said the challenge will encourage people to “make space for all the new things they’re going to receive” during the holiday season.

On Nov. 30, Good Use Co. will participate in Giving Tuesday, an event begun in 2012 to encourage giving and donations after the busy shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Good Use Co., headquartered in San Diego, has more than 2,000 active weekly users locally. It also is available in Denver, San Francisco and Austin, Texas.

Kimia Talebian says Good Use Co. provides "a social app with an offline component."
(Courtesy of Kimia Talebian)

Talebian said she and Thompson began Good Use Co. after “we both connected over our passion for community and using technology.”

“We were thinking about what are some ways we can impact people’s happiness,” Talebian said. “I know it sounds really big and grandiose, but if you look at all happiness research, there’s a couple of things that are consistent. One is people who have strong relationships are, in general, happier [and] people who are focused on experiences and not physical things are usually happier.

“Research shows that if you meet with someone in person, you give them something and then they say ‘Thank you,’ both the person who is doing the act of giving and the person receiving is happier overall.”

“We’re a social app with an offline component,” Talebian added. “Most social apps really encourage you to just stay online. … We really believe that to have a community, to have relationships, you need that face-to-face interaction.”

She said the app is “a place where you can go meet your neighbors, and then you meet in real life.”

In encouraging people to meet over one donated item, “we can just incrementally make people happier and happier,” Talebian said.

Meeting someone to give them something can lead to friendship, she said. “If someone’s interested in your thing, chances are you share something in common.”

The app, which also has a web-based component, is free to use, and any item can be listed. “We feel very strongly that we need to create an experience that is making the giving experience seamless,” Talebian said. “Nothing should be getting in your way of wanting to give something or ask for something.”

She said Good Use Co. differs from similar listings on more popular social networking sites in that “the user experience is a lot better,” without advertisements.

Additionally, “we care deeply about user privacy,” Talebian said. “We don’t sell users’ data; we collect as little data as possible. It’s a safe space for people to come.”

She said the app suggests that people meet in a public place or have contactless pickups. “We just encourage people to do what they feel is comfortable for them.”

To further boost community connections, Good Use Co. recently launched a groups feature “that allows anyone to create a private community for giving,” Talebian said. “It’s been a really good tool to help organizations and companies foster community building among their members.”

She cited the example of a school creating a group for its students’ parents to give items their children have grown out of.

Talebian said people often hold onto things longer than necessary. “I want people to not be shy about giving stuff away,” she said. “Give it away. You’ll feel better, you’ll make someone happy.”

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