Allhers Marketplace Creates Safe Environment for Women to Connect, Buy and Sell
Co-founder Becca Butler shares how the trading platform emphasizes security and sisterhood for Austin women
By Meher Qazilbash
Photos courtesy of Allhers
Allhers is an Austin-based, curated online community for local women to buy, sell and recommend products.
The female-focused platform works to eliminate danger, harassment, judgment and scams to bring trust to the experience of transactions with strangers, a process that has been historically unwelcoming and nerve-wracking for many women.
“Our goal is to create a safe space for all who identify as women to engage, interact and transact within their own community and feel comfortable doing so,” explains co-founder Becca Butler. “And maybe even have fun in the process.”
Utilizing a manual verification process, the Allhers team cross references photo IDs, social media accounts, emails and more to make sure all users are real people who identify as female. Members can sell or shop for home goods, furniture and clothes or make more unconventional exchanges like adopting a kitten, finding a roommate, securing an apartment or even getting a job. Users are also invited to peruse and connect with fellow users in the Girl Talk section, an open-ended chat forum where women exchange recommendations for subjects ranging from the best restaurants in town to finding a trusted gynecologist.
Founded by siblings and entrepreneurs Becca Butler and J.C. Butler, Allhers coincidentally turned out to be a medley of each of their previous ventures. J.C., the eldest by nearly 10 years, started Dubizzle, a secondhand marketplace with a similar concept to Craigslist, in the United Arab Emirates. “[The name] is like Dubai, but Snoop Dogg style,” says Becca. “He clearly was in his early 20s when he started that company.”
Dubizzle grew exponentially, ultimately becoming the dominant trading platform in the Middle East and North Africa region. After J.C. sold the company, he moved back to Austin and set out to find his next move in the world of online consumer marketplaces. He started interviewing people in the U.S. about their issues with secondhand platforms, eventually conducting interviews with a demographic of 95% women as women are the largest consumer of these marketplaces. He found that women often felt threats to their safety when it came to interacting with unknown people on these forums.
Becca’s journey began with her previous company, Queen for Dinner, a curated online marketplace of independent female designers across North America. The entrepreneur dreamed of pursuing something that would leave a larger impression on the world and eventually left Queen for Dinner behind to do just that.
While in pursuit of her next venture, Becca planned to move from LA to Austin and turned to Facebook Marketplace to sell her furniture. She found a private, invite-only discussion group of women in LA and began listing items there. She was pleasantly surprised by the feeling of safety and fun in each of her exchanges. Everyone paid beforehand, plus there was no lowballing or spam bots. Most importantly, she felt less nervous about inviting these women to her home because they were vetted and approved to join the private community.
“Women are by far the largest user of secondhand marketplaces, but none of these things were really built with our needs in mind,” says Becca.
Once the Butler siblings reunited in Austin, they combined their ideas in an effort to create a more secure alternative to other online buy and sell platforms.
“Originally, our intent in creating Allhers was really this safety-led mission,” shares Becca. “I think that almost any woman can relate to the fear factor that comes with meeting someone in their own home or having some stranger come into your own home. Beyond that, the number of creepy messages or creepy interactions that women have is ridiculous.”
In February of 2020, the duo launched a Facebook group as a no-cost way to test out the market. The group’s popularity grew quickly, eventually leading the founders to build a site that would combat the limitations of a Facebook group. Now, Allhers boasts approximately 20,000 members on their website and their recently launched app.
“I’m the target demographic of Allhers. I’ve moved so much in my life and I’ve had so much experience buying and selling on all the other platforms that exist,” says Becca. “Those other sites are extremely inconvenient no matter who you are — you don’t have to be a woman — but if you are a woman, it is exponentially more inconvenient.”
Allhers rejects the idea that danger is a reality that women must accept as a part of their everyday lives. By “weeding out creeps,” the team at Allhers is granting local women the gift of anxiety-free interactions with new people.
“By creating a space for all who identify as women, the communication naturally tends to be a lot better,” says Becca. “There’s higher trust and less spam and scams. Even the descriptions improve a lot and women express themselves more. It changes the game entirely.”
Proof of the impact of Allhers can be shown through the many stories of a buying-and-selling exchange turning into a coffee date or a lasting friendship. Members often meet up and build their bonds at in-person events such as happy hours and plant swaps, all organized by Allhers.
While the company currently only operates in Austin, their founders have big plans to eventually expand to other cities and unite women all over the country.