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Free Business Idea: How to Start a Peer-to-Peer platform

bootstrapping business ideas founder stories sustainability Feb 21, 2024

Learn how Rebecca Heaps went from solving a personal problem to building a community-driven platform for affordable outdoor experiences.

Meet Tentshare, the platform connecting individuals and fighting against tent waste.

Rebecca Heaps, a visionary entrepreneur driven by her love for nature and sustainability, had a revolutionary idea that would transform the way people access outdoor experiences.

In this Q&A, Rebecca takes us on her inspiring journey and sheds light on how Tentshare is revolutionising the camping industry through a peer-to-peer platform.

Rebecca Heaps, Founder, Tentshare - Your 5 Million Star Hotel d


How did you come up with the idea for Tentshare?

Rebecca: So, the idea for Tentshare actually came to me while I was on a quest to find a way to make some extra money.

I was going through my loft, attic, and garage, searching for something that had value and that someone else would want. That's when I stumbled upon my beloved bell tent.

I had used it extensively and still cherished it, so selling it wasn't an option. That's when a thought crossed my mind—maybe I could rent it out.

I decided to give it a try and had some success with it. However, as I was doing it as a side hustle and not being a marketer myself, I wanted to reach a wider audience by putting it on a platform. To my surprise, I couldn't find any existing platform that served this purpose.

I vividly remember discussing this frustration with someone, and their response struck a chord with me. They said, "Stop complaining about it and create it."

That statement resonated with me so strongly that it sparked a fire within me. I was on holiday at the time, but I spent the rest of that vacation jotting down notes, fully determined to bring this idea to life.

The more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with the concept. I've had many great ideas in the past, but this one felt different.

It felt like the perfect opportunity to finally turn one of my ideas into reality. I was incredibly convinced that this was not just a good idea, but a great one.

That's how Tentshare was born—a combination of necessity, a light bulb moment and the unwavering determination to make something truly remarkable happen.


What sets Tentshare apart?

Rebecca: What sets Tentshare apart is our mission to create a peer-to-peer sharing platform that allows people to rent tents from their local community.

We believe that everyone should have the chance to connect with nature and enjoy outdoor adventures. We're not just a rental service; we're building a community of outdoor enthusiasts who are passionate about sharing their love for camping.

By sharing tents, we not only increase access to camping and reduce waste, but also create the sense of connection that is often missing in this fast-paced world.


"Your 5 million star hotel"


What challenges have you faced in building Tentshare?

Rebecca: A key challenge in the peer-to-peer model is the limited supply of available tents.

Despite millions of tents being purchased each year, research shows that only a small percentage of people are willing to share their tents.

Sharing is caring with Tentshare


In our case, there is a demand for renting tents, so our focus is on increasing the number of available tents. We recently partnered with Olpro, a British tent manufacturer, to address this challenge.

Their tents are now listed on our platform, offering nationwide rental and delivery options across the UK.

My ongoing focus is to continue expanding the number of listings. We currently have over 500 tents available, and I'm working towards achieving nationwide access and affordability for everyone.

Olpro's involvement has been a game-changer. As a sustainability-minded company, they recognised the need for innovative business models.

By renting out their tents multiple times, they cover manufacturing costs and generate profits.

Additionally, by keeping the tents in circulation and implementing repair and cleaning practices, we actively contribute to waste reduction and responsible resource management.

In a world where traditional tent manufacturing may face challenges, companies like Olpro can transition into being fixers, menders and solution providers.

It's about embracing sustainability, prolonging the lifespan of products, and learning to take care of what we already own.


How have past work experiences influenced your approach to entrepreneurship?

Rebecca: As a former primary school teacher, I've always valued continuous evaluation and improvement.

This mindset has translated into my approach to business. I believe that every mistake brings us closer to the truth and that showing vulnerability is essential for growth.

Being open to learning and understanding that failures are opportunities for improvement has shaped my entrepreneurial journey.


What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs interested in building a sharing economy business?

Rebecca: Have patience and stay strong. Sharing economy business models take time to grow and gain acceptance.

It's important to believe in your mission, stay committed to your values, and understand that success will come with time.

Also, don't be afraid to seek support and share your challenges with others in your industry.

Collaboration and learning from each other's experiences can lead to innovative solutions.


You mention the power of collaborations, what other organisations or businesses do you work with and why?

Rebecca: One remarkable example involves our partnership with Camplight, a newly formed cooperative dedicated to salvaging tents left behind at festivals.

Their dedicated team cleans and repairs these abandoned tents, giving them a new lease on life. The tents are then made available for rental to festival-goers at affordable rates, providing them with a place to sleep or store their sleeping bags.

This initiative has multiple benefits. Firstly, it allows festival-goers to travel lighter and reduce their carbon emissions by taking public transportation instead of driving.


Plastic waste dumping site: Getty Images 


Let me take you through the life story of a typical festival tent.

It begins with manufacturing, most likely in Asia, followed by shipping that incurs carbon emissions, energy consumption, and labor.

From there, the tent is transported to a warehouse or shop, requiring additional transportation. Finally, a customer purchases the tent and drives it to a festival, pitches it, and sadly leaves it behind to be bulldozed and sent to the landfill.

This wasteful cycle continues, as the tent waste often finds its way back to where it was manufactured. It's a sobering realisation that even products marketed as recyclable often have a detrimental impact on the environment.

With Camplight, we strive to keep as many tents as possible out of landfills. We train our dedicated crew to properly pitch, clean, and maintain the tents, turning them into fully qualified tent mechanics.

They learn valuable skills such as fixing poles, mending rips or tears, and repairing zippers—everything needed to ensure the tents are in excellent condition for future rentals.

I recently conducted a tent training session where I had the pleasure of teaching individuals how to maintain and care for these tents.

It was incredibly rewarding to see young and older people alike getting involved and becoming part of this sustainable movement.

By sharing knowledge, supporting the local economy, and creating jobs, we're taking the concept of sharing to a whole new level.


How can people get involved with Tentshare?

Rebecca: Getting involved with Tentshare is easy. If you have a tent that you're willing to rent out, visit our website and click on "List Your Kit." 

Provide some details and upload photographs of your tent. Renters can browse through the listings and find the perfect tent for their outdoor adventure.



What's next for Tentshare?

Rebecca: The future of Tentshare is exciting. We're continuously working on improving our platform and expanding our community.

We want to create partnerships within the travel and outdoor industries to offer unique experiences and make camping even more accessible.

Our focus remains on fostering a sense of community and connecting people through their shared love for the outdoors.


Missed the live conversation? Listen in!


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