Zaarly: New website in Kansas City boasts unique shopping experience with local artisans

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - What are you shopping for this holiday season? There is a new online marketplace in Kansas City called Zaarly that wants your business.

Zaarly has the backing of big name investors like Meg Whitman, known for helping eBay become what it is today.

The new e-commerce site hopes to offer a local shopping experience unlike anything else we have seen in Kansas City. More than 100 local artists, cooks and craftsmen are offering their service in the one-stop online shop.

Holly Grimwood opened a store on Zaarly a few days ago. She does woodwork.

"I do chess sets, scrabble boards, scrabble sets, kids toys and guitar stands," Grimwood said.

Now all of her creations are online for purchase.

"A guy who worked for Zaarly was like 'Hey, do you want to sell your stuff?' I was like 'Absolutely,'" Grimwood said.

Bo Fishback is the founder of Zaarly and lives in Kansas City. The site has been live in KC for eight days but already has a presence in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Monday, Fishback joined other local entrepreneurs at the Kauffman Foundation to share what he says it takes to be successful in this competitive market.

"Our job is to make really talented people look as amazing online as they are in real life," Fishback said. "And if we get that done, people will buy from them, and when they buy from them, they will have experiences that they never really could have imagined would have been that great."

Fishback said his team handpicks the businesses that make the Zaarly cut, so anyone interested in creating an online store must go through quality control screening. It does not cost anything to create an online store, but the company collects 10 percent of your profits.

"I personally believe the story behind our store front owners is going to be really important. Everything you buy on Zaarly, there is a story behind it, about the person who made that thing, who created it," Fishback said.

Zaarly has been a great opportunity for Grimwood. She works two jobs and is a full time student at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. Now she has a new avenue to promote her craft and turn her hobby into a profitable business.

Zaarly is available as an iPhone and Android App. You can also visit https://zaarly.com/in/kansas-city.

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