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Meet Harriet, the Birmingham grad who has set up a student-friendly sustainable market place

Harriet and her app, Hazaar, have made sports night a whole lot easier and more sustainable

It is quite difficult to live sustainably whilst at university, the ease of ordering something to your door with next day delivery is just too tempting. However, Harriet, who graduated from UoB in 2021 after studying economics, has founded an app, Hazaar, that makes sustainable living while at university so much easier.

Harriet told The Birmingham Tab the reasons as to why she set up the app and the journey to how it has grown.

In her second year of university Harriet said that she and her friends seemed to be ordering from online stores, with one day delivery, for sports night costumes quite frequently. After realizing how often they were ordering they realized it was “costing [them] a fortune and also harming the environment”.

Harriet also understood it was not like sports night costumes were rare in Selly “the themes for the sports teams often rotated around the clubs so what I needed one week, another team had the same theme the week before so I could just buy the costume from another student”.

Harriet also realized sports night costumes weren’t the only thing that students at UoB had excess of “students faced all of these same issues for textbooks, household items and also clothes”.

Harriet told The Birmingham Tab: “When I looked more into everything I noticed that students as a group of people were passionate about sustainability but often didn’t behave in the most sustainable way. I found this is because they were constrained by the following barriers: Cost, convenience and accessibility. For example, sustainable alternatives are often extremely expensive and not convenient or easy to get hold of. Hazaar aims to break down these barriers to sustainability, making the most sustainable option the cheapest and most convenient”.

Harriet started her journey for student sustainability whilst still at UoB, in 2020 Harriet and a friend set up the ‘Plastic-free UoB’ society. After this her and housemates set up ‘Bepop’ which was a Facebook market place for UoB students to buy and sell from each other.

Although the Facebook market place was successful Harriet knew it was not enough, the marketplace “had nothing on Depop” and it wasn’t available for other university cities. That is when she got to thinking “why not make a Depop but for students”.

After having the idea for a student exclusive version of Depop Harriet knew her main selling point was to “eliminate the need for postage and packaging, thus promoting a far more sustainable business”.

It took months for the idea to become a reality, Harriet went through a lot of barriers such as raising finance, finding app developers and more. After overcoming all these obstacles, Hazaar was launched in 2021.

You can read Harriet’s full blog here, which tells in detail how she set up Hazaar.

The app is now a big success in multiple university cities across the country.

The app is ideal for UoB students, as you can only create an account if you have a valid Birmingham student email address, make all the in-person purchases safer as you know you are meeting with a fellow student. There are currently over 2,500 UoB students on the app, that’s 2,500 people to buy cheap sports night costumes from!

To get rid of excess packaging and the damage it does to the environment, Harriet made sure the app was based around face-to-face purchases, this also reduces the risk of getting scammed.

Unlike other second-hand online market places it’s not just all about clothes, as well as selling your clothes and costumes you can also buy and sell university textbooks and household items.

Hazaar also hold ‘car-boots’ around campus where they will sell clothes, kitchen appliances and more which they have been donated so people don’t need to throw away things that another person can put to use.

Hazaar have also done vintage pop-ups on campus for all you edgy queens who love a good deal.

Harriet told The Birmingham Tab that the main goal for Hazaar is “to be at every university in the UK” and they won’t stop until the most sustainable option for students is also the cheapest and the easiest.

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