Campobello resident to launch new app
A Campobello resident is launching a new app called Sellebrate.
The event-planning app allows smartphone users an easy way to share resources with others.
“I am excited to see this app take off because it really reaches the highest values of sustainably, thoughtful consumerism, and wise financial decision-making,” Deby Aho, Founder/CEO, said. “We have watched the wedding and party industry shift radically this year.”
A private launch party is set for Friday, Sept. 11.
“We need to be creative in the ways we buy, sell, and gather-together,” Aho said. “Our app is one of those avenues. We are really learning from each other in this industry.”
The idea for the app comes in part from Aho’s time living abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, for six and a half years before moving back to South Carolina in 2017.
“While in Cape Town, I started doing wedding photography, and I began to see the large number of items thrown out after a one-day ceremony,” Aho said.
“We lived in a privileged neighborhood, next door to a township filled with unemployed and extremely low-income families,” she said. “One of the ways we engaged with people is by teaching wood-working skills.”
To obtain the wood, Aho said they would sort through the dumping site.
“Seeing the value in one man’s garbage and learning to up-cycle it became a way of life for us,” Aho said. “That way of life still continues in what we do. We buy used or thrifted items when we can and create new pieces with it.”
Aho’s family moved back to Campobello to allow their four children to complete high school, graduate with a US diploma, and have the opportunity to go to college, which would have been complicated as a foreigner living abroad.
“As a family, we hosted a community Taco Tuesday night for over two years to build relationships with our neighbors,” Aho said. “During one of those evenings, a neighbor talked about an idea she had about sharing event spaces.”
“I was in the middle of getting my master’s degree in South Africa and had to travel back and forth eight times over a two-year period,” she said. “Throughout that time, that idea, along with the knowledge of the wedding and event items that could be re-used, worked its way into my head and heart.”
Aho asked her wedding photographer friends a lot of questions regarding what they observed with wedding throw-away items.
“As I questioned, it became more and more obvious to me that I was being called to establish a start-up company to create a platform for sharing items within the celebration space,” Aho said. “I contracted with an incredible development company called Infinite Red, Inc. They agreed with my idea to build an app as the platform to connect buyers and sellers.”
“Infinite Red was in the beginning stages of creating a program for Minimal Viable Products - MVP, and I had the honor of being the first project that would start them in this space,” she said. “Together, we worked through the market research, pitch deck, design and all the functions we felt were most critical to launch on the App Store and Google Play.”
After a year and a half of development time, the app called, Sellebrate, is now launched and free to download for Apple or Android users. To use Sellebrate, one must download the app, set up a profile and choose a location.
“Our secure in-app payment system has you set up a deposit account and a payout account,” Aho said. “Once that is complete, you can use our filters to browse - filter by items, price or distance.”
“Items can also be shipped, but that is up to the seller to put in the description and work out with the buyer,” she said. “Our push notifications allow you to see offers or messages immediately. We also have an inspiration tab in the app that will give tips and advice on current trends or creative ideas.”
To raise the capital investment, Aho pitched her idea to family and friends and secured over $200,000 for the project.
“Similar to Poshmark in the way that their users buy and sell fashion items, we are that platform for the party and event space,” Aho said. “My family is involved as much as they want to be. My son is an art student at the Governor’s School in Greenville, and he designed the logo.”
“My husband is the Vice President and sound board for all I do,” she said. “My children cheer me on, have patience with a messy house at times, and bless me in whatever I’m taking on.”
For more information, visit www.sellebrateapp.com.