New Zealand actor living in Hollywood Kimberley Crossman knows first hand the hassle and disappointment of sending gifts home for Christmas only for them to not arrive.
“I was devastated. I’d raced around the shops, bought and wrapped a tonne of gifts for my family at home and they never got there. They cost loads to send home and they just disappeared. To this day we don’t know where they went or why they disappeared into the void,” says Crossman.
“But if I’m honest, the whole process was devoid of the joys of Christmas. I pretty much panicked my way around Santa Monica and Venice Beach buying presents that I hoped would be appreciated. In reality, they were token gifts, like toys and books for the kids, beauty products for the women, and gadgets for the guys. Nothing was heartfelt, so even if they hadn’t been lost they’d probably be forgotten by now anyway.”
It was this experience that led Crossman to partner with sister Rochelle Sheldon in new venture, Joyable, as a founder alongside fellow Kiwis, writer Belinda Nash and web developer Igor Anany.
Joyable.co is an online payment gateway platform designed for people to contribute funds together to purchase one memorable, meaningful gift or dream experience to celebrate the special people in their lives.
“Think Givealittle for gifting,” adds Crossman. “It’s perfect for people living overseas. It’s quick, easy and secure and there’s no way the money is going AWOL thanks to a muddle at the post office,” she laughs.
Crossman explains the Joyable process
“One person creates a Joyable occasion, which takes about a minute. Then they share the unique occasion URL with family and friends inviting them to contribute to one amazing gift. Then, when the end date hits, the funds are processed to be released into a nominated bank account.”
Currently, Joyable is set up for New Zealand bank accounts but will expand globally in the new year.
Joyable can be used for any gift, event or party
“Joyable is not just for Christmas. Wherever you are in the world, you can contribute to Kiwis celebrating birthdays, weddings, engagements, anniversaries, graduations, and even contribute a little something to a friend’s hen or stag do, which is great if you need to send money now so you can celebrate later. Joyable is all about teaming up with others for any occasion to collectively celebrate others and buy just one epic gift.”
The “best bit”, adds Crossman, is that each person can contribute what they can afford and the money tallies up so together you can buy something truly special and memorable.
Founder Belinda Nash lived in the UK for six years and recalls running the gauntlet around malls in a frenzied buy-up of gifts for her family back in New Zealand.
“Sending gifts home was always such a headache,” she sighs. “I have always been an organised person but buying gifts in November never felt very festive.
“I was also watching my niece growing up from the other side of the world and buying her gifts having no idea what she would like. Inevitably it ended up being something so lacking in thought and love, which is exactly the opposite of what giving gifts is meant to be.”
Take the pressure off and move towards sustainable giving
With Joyable, the founding team plan to remove the pressure of buying more and more stuff for family back in New Zealand and return the process to joyful giving.
Founder and CEO Rochelle Sheldon echoes her founding team’s sentiments adding that when gifts aren’t given with love, how are people, kids in particular, going to connect their gifts with love, celebration, connection or joy?
“Gift giving has turned into a hot mess of stress and excess. We tie ourselves in knots buying people gifts that we don’t necessarily love and they probably won’t love either. Imagine instead if we could all come together and buy dance or climbing lessons, a bike, a piece of art or a skydive? How cool would that be?” she says.
“Our mission is to return people’s gift giving to being a heartfelt celebration of joy, connection and love. We’re ending the cycle of giving token gifts that end up in landfill or on TradeMe on Boxing Day and replacing it with giving epic gifts and bucket list experiences people actually want and that make them feel joyful.”
Sheldon adds that the Joyable.co platform is designed to bring people together to pool their money to buy one amazing gift instead of lots of stuff that risks getting lost in the post.
And it’s working!
Since it launched mid-October, Joyable has seen more than $10,000 go towards incredible gifts and experiences – and away from landfill – thanks to its crowd-funding model.
“We’ve seen people use Joyable to buy art for a 70th, a 40th birthday tattoo, a dream European honeymoon, ziplining on Waiheke, an Xbox, Airpods, a Wonderboom, a surprise trip to Australia, a snowboard, flowers, dog sledding, a glamping weekend away for a 30th birthday gift, Elton John tickets bought by parents for a school teacher, paddleboards to celebrate an engagement, and many other awesome, memorable gifts and experiences. It’s making my heart so very happy,” she beams.
“This year, my family and I have used Joyable to buy a Christmas dinner box to enjoy together on Christmas Day. And we all came together to buy my son Harrison a new red bike for his 5th birthday, which we know he’ll love and treasure for a long time to come.”
A key part of Joyable, adds Sheldon, is addressing mental wellbeing and sustainability.
“There is mounting evidence that when people are struggling with mental wellbeing that they look back on positive life experiences and memories and it helps them through the darker moments. Joyable has been designed to give people those life changing, memorable experiences,” says Sheldon.
“If we can be a part of something that’s adding value to people’s lives now, creating memories they can treasure later, then I will be immensely proud.”
Joyable’s founders are passionate about the planet’s future, which is a key driving force behind Joyable. Nash, whose main area of writing is in sustainability, says we need to end the cycle of buying more and more things.
“If together we can take the strain off our planet by buying less by creating more, then we’ll have done what we set out to achieve.”
Find Joyable at joyable.co and return JOY to giving! And you can find them on Instagram here. You can find the two stories on our three-part series on expat giving here. Expat giving – Keeping it sustainable and Expat giving – The worlds best online shopping.