Ryan Jahnke, creator and owner of MySkatingMall.com, recently sat down with IDC to discuss the site.
Can you tell our readers why you decided to start MySkatingMall.com?
Through my experience competing, coaching, and doing extensive volunteer work with U.S. Figure Skating, I noticed a few needs in the skating community that seemed to be growing. Families were having difficulty keeping up with the growing expenses of skating, skating clubs and teams needed opportunities to raise funds to support their members, and there was no marketplace customized to figure skating where high quality used skating items could be bought and sold, and U.S. Figure Skating was looking to diversify its revenue streams. MySkatingMall.com was created to address these issues. I presented the business plan to USFS but they chose not to pursue it due to budget reasons. That is when I decided to move forward on my own.
Did you develop the idea yourself or in collaboration with others?
The initial idea was sparked by a comment my father made to me. He was looking at my closet full of competition outfits from years past and he said, “There should be some website to sell these things.” I took that idea and included the fundraising component as well as the partnerships with existing skating retailers. I was planning to name the site MySkatingCloset.com. While I was having dinner with Paul Wylie, he suggested I use a bigger name like “MySkatingMall.com.” He gets credit for that one 🙂
How exactly does the process work?
MySkatingMall.com is like eBay but customized to figure skating and cheaper to use. Individuals can register for free to buy and sell skating items. Five-to-92.5% of every sale on MySkatingMall.com raises money for skating clubs, teams, and charities. In addition to gently used items for sale on the site, new items can be purchased through our Partner Stores and 5% of the purchase price is automatically forwarded to the PayPal account of the buyer’s club or team. Half of all the commissions collected go to support grassroots skating! Skating families are benefiting by having access to hundreds of gently used skating items at reduced prices and are earning money from selling items their skaters no longer use. Check out our How It Works page on the site for flowcharts that describe how the money gets distributed.
How long as the site been live and how do you rate the success?
The site has been live for six months now. We have 695 registered users, 2,798 items listed for sale and 43 charities (mostly clubs) raising funds through the site. We do have a Testimonials page up on the site with several of the letters we have received.
From my perspective, it seems like MySkatingMall.com is growing very slowly but steadily. I think that most skaters and parents simply don’t know about it yet.
Do you have any events going on right now?
We have two big things going on right now. First, Rachael Flatt just donated four of her dresses to raise money for the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund. Two have sold after just 2 days. Read my blog about it through this link: http://www.myskatingmall.com/blog
Secondly, we have a contest going on in order to create the “What’s so great about figure skating?” video. The contest has been extended until 1/31. For more information, visit our blog. http://myskatingmall.com/blog/2010/12/01/whats-so-great-about-figure-skating-video/