A Year in Review: July 2014-July 2015
The Vendedy story has captured the hearts of thousands within the past year. Prior to incorporating in July 2014, the founder traveled to over 30 countries tracking the complexities of street markets and meeting with various street vendors because of the connection the personal project had to her past. Christine Souffrant is a descendant of 3 generations of street vendors from Haiti and lived most of her childhood street vending alongside her mother and grandmother in the streets of Haiti and New York. After completing an undergraduate degree at Dartmouth with a Bill Gates scholarship, she started a career in banking before quitting 2 years later to pursue a masters degree in Dubai and launch the project that is known today as Vendedy.
The Blog Launch
Before incorporating, Christine thought that the best way to engage travelers regarding street markets was via a blog. She started blogging about street vendors and top street markets from around the world in January 2014 during her travels in the Middle East. It soon became the only location for authentic tips, strategies and stories for travelers interested in meeting street vendors and purchasing street food and local products.
In March 2014, the founder of Vendedy entered a global competition to join 1000 university students selected as global change makers at the Clinton Global Initiative University Summit. It was an incredible experience and was the foundation for a pilot project in Brazil during the World Cup in August 2014, a pilot test in Haiti during the month of September 2014 with over 8 global volunteers, and a beta launch in November 2014 with 10 of the top 100 vendors of Port au Prince. With vendors earning up to 14X their annual income in 2 weeks on the Vendedy bidding network, partnerships press networks came streaming in to follow the progression of this new social enterprise startup. The year ended with 3 market pilots in two highly volatile street market countries- Brazil & Haiti- and a partnership with IBM. Expectations were mounting on whether Vendedy could actually digitize access to street market products on a platform set to launch in 2015.
The Etsy bidding marketplace for street vendors was a huge hit during launch but not sustainable into the new year, so the company pivoted to an open market platform for tourists to source information about street markets. Pilot launches continued throughout 2015 and Vendedy continued to get recognitions from the press, global competitions, and partners as more and more testimonials circulated across its social media networks. By November, Vendedy launched a 24-hour campaign calling travelers to submit their stories and received over 300+ street market photos of travelers engaging with street vendors across 40 different countries solidifying the increased anticipation for a platform launch.
What’s Next for 2016?
With on the ground market tests with street vendors in 2014, and consumer demand in 2015, Vendedy will be issuing a series of app releases throughout this year. The first order of business is to centralize access to street markets and we are engaging our supporters with this endeavor. To keep track of network developments, follow us on social media or sign up for access to future app releases now. Stay tuned!