I realized recently that I had never actually gone into depth about ‘The Merchants Guild’ in a blog post. Moving forward I’m starting with customer validation and sharing information. Because of this a post like this would be a good resource to have.

 

All About The Merchants Guild

For those that don’t know: The Merchants Guild is my current idea for the business I have been working on in my time at UIT. A summer of Live Action Role Playing (LARP) inspired The Merchants Guild. LARPing requires all sorts of gear and equipment: from swords and shields to clothes and camping gear. Most people create unique characters to play and want to have their character fit a certain image or ascetic which makes finding the right gear very important.

(Photos of LARP from on of our last Games)Cool Dudes Posing For LARP. Some of them are Merchants

The LARP online community loves to make and sell things to special order or to try and make things themselves. However; the current methods of finding and buying from online sellers are weak. There are weaknesses in some websites like Etsy that have LARP gear on them, but since the website isn’t designed for it there are weaknesses in the system. The other common solution is to use Facebook groups for buying and selling which is almost always a nightmare.

I experienced all of these pains myself. I had tried to buy things and been unable to find what I wanted. Commercial solutions were too generic and seemed really expensive when you were only compromising. I also tried to make and sell my own gear but customers locally were few and far between. So I sought out to try and making a website that would fill the gap for a marketplace that fits the needs of LARPers and LARP crafters.

To that extent I created The Merchants Guild. Although it is still in development it has been improving steadily. The website allows people who produce their own goods to share their creations and also allows buyers to post requests which anyone can use to contact them about fulfilling orders.

Recent developments include the creation of an API which is not only improving the current Merchants Guild website but also paving the way for future integrations into other LARP sites and programs.

 

Me and the Merchants Guild

The Merchants Guild keeps me excited all the time. Normally anything that starts as a school project gets dry for me. Even if I like the idea and want to keep going with it. Maybe it is because I’m always working on it, or maybe because I’m always working on LARP.

When I started UIT I liked the idea of learning business but I was completely uninterested in starting a start-up. We talked a lot about having ideas that you know you have to do, and you have to be the person to do them. Thats what The Merchants Guild is for me. It is the idea I know that I have to be working on.

 

It is very exciting to have a project you can be passionate about and that those around you are also excited for. I’m very happy to be able to move forward and develop this with the hopes of helping LARPers globally who have experienced the same pains as me.

1 thought on “The Merchants Guild Retrospective”

Eric Lortie says:

When you started with us your disinterest to start a startup was obvious. There wasn’t anything wrong with that: you came from a compsci program and like programming. But we’ve all seen over the past few months your transition as you’ve described it here and we think it’s just great. The Merchants Guild is a solid idea. It’s an untapped market and you’re solving a number of problems you’ve experienced. This, combined with your desire to work hard and keep learning, is exactly the type of scenario you’d like to see playing out from someone in charge of a startup.

As a LARPer I’m personally looking forward to using The Merchant’s Guild. It’s right up my alley.


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