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HANDDIT – the local marketplace for parents

HANDDIT is an online marketplace for parents, offering an organic way to meet other families and build a support network of parents nearby.

Photo of Judy Bretschneider
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In no more than 3 sentences, please tell us who your idea is designed for and how it reimagines the new life experience.

Loneliness is a common issue among parents, and making new parent friends can be a daunting experience, especially for those who feel socially isolated. HANDDIT is a local marketplace for parents to sell or give away items that their children have outgrown. HANDDIT connects local parents through mutual financial benefit, and allows for connections to develop organically.

For many parents who feel isolated and even depressed, the stigma surrounding mental health issues prevents them from reaching out to social and health services.  Their condition often goes undetected, remains untreated and potentially worsens over time, with huge impacts on the mental and physical wellbeing of both parents and child. Action for Children has revealed that loneliness is widespread among parents. According to the charity, 1 in 4 feel cut off from friends and support.

In the UK, there are public health services available, government-funded children’s centres, and now even apps that promise to help socialise parents. In my research I have found that the stigma surrounding loneliness remains strong, and that for those who feel particularly isolated, none of these solutions really work. After all, it takes courage and a certain social agility to manoeuvre playgroups and other parenting groups. For all but the free, government-funded activities, it also requires having enough economic means to attend.

HANDDIT is unique in that it leverages a process that already connects many parents, both online and in real life: the handing down of used kids items. The platform will streamline this process, making it a convenient tool to make and save money, reduce waste, and better manage what families own. There is mutual financial benefit to making connections, and therefore a mutual incentive to meet. As a local marketplace, HANDDIT focuses on getting families together within the community, with parents making organic connections that do not carry the expectations of friendship or the perils of rejection.

At what stage is your idea?

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I launched a Facebook Group in my local area to sell; buy and give away used kids items to assess the need for HANDDIT. More than 70 people joined within the first two weeks. I am also testing my assumptions by hosting local events, creating online polls, and a pilot group of five parents. I previously worked on an app to connect parents through shared interests and activities, and am bringing that insight to my new venture, HANDDIT.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Guidance on the methodology of my research and UX prototyping. I do not have experience in bringing a product to market so any guidance / mentorship on that would be very helpful.

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm a journalists and filmmaker turned entrepreneur. I’ve been part of Google Campus for Mums, The MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and Bethnal Green Ventures. Happy to help and share my experiences.

This idea emerged from...

  • An Individual

Are you an expecting, new, or experienced mom?

  • yes

Are you a healthcare practitioner?

  • no

Are you a current employee of UCB Pharmaceuticals or Sutter Health?

  • no


Join the conversation:

Photo of Danielle

Hey this is a great idea! Have you thought about how (or if) it would work in developing or smaller cities?

Photo of Judy Bretschneider

Hi Danielle,
Thank you for your question! I designed HANDDIT with London in mind, which is where I live and have conducted my research. The issue of lonely parents is not unique to cities, and I would love to find a solution that works everywhere. However, this would require a lot more research into the relationship between families and in particular, women in different locations. Perhaps a framework for events that bring parents together offline would be a good start? Lots to think about! All the best, Judy