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  • Writer's pictureDarren Cody

The Project Garage x Marketplace Studio

Updated: May 29, 2023

What is The Project Garage?

Have you ever started a home renovation project or picked up a new DIY project you don’t know how to complete? We imagine you have, and in doing so, you’ve had more than one question when trying to complete your building project. Well, what if you could instantly get access to Professionals who have deep knowledge & expertise in the trade you’re trying to do yourself? This is what The Project Garage is all about!

The Project Garage is becoming the go-to marketplace for Trade Professionals to provide guidance, advice, and trade secrets virtually to DIYers, locally or remotely.

Trade Professionals (Pros) are able to join the marketplace to post their availability to share their knowledge by providing on-demand advice to a DIYer on their project, plans, or issues over a voice or video call through the platform. DIYers can find the Pro who fits their needs, enter their project details, and schedule a time for a call or virtual meeting. Both members will connect online for the calls through our video-conferencing system. They will receive a calendar invite to join the meeting which offers a transcript for reference later.

The idea is that there is simply a content overload on Google or Youtube. Nobody should have to skim or forbid, read 10s of articles to find the gold nugget of information they’ve been searching for. Similarly, who should spend hours of their time skipping through tutorial videos trying to find a 30-second sound bite of the answer (or closest to it) to their strange question? This is the old way for DIYers to get what they require to finish the project or fill the gap in their knowledge or experience.t. Time for a new way of gaining insights, it is time for The Project Garage!

The Project Garage Founder & CEO, Stephanie Paraskevopulos, along with her talented team, have been working on an MVP for the past while and have gained a lot of amazing insights and lessons which are guiding Marketplace Studio’s implementation of the ongoing Pre-Development & Development of the Sharetribe Flex Marketplace. Stephanie is a prime example of a Founder working in their field and having a eureka moment. She saw the gap while operating her renovation business, SPEC3 Properties, in New Brunswick, Canada.

Stephanie was able to identify the broken process in two key areas. The first is that tradespeople are constantly being asked for advice on how to do something without any compensation for their time or passing their knowledge. Second, there is a tremendous amount of pain on the DIYer side with all of the unknowns when they are adventuring into a new area of skills. If you’re like some of us on the Marketplace Studio team who are more computer savvy than handy, we don’t know how to install our new pot lights in the kitchen. We need answers from a local or remote Pro who can provide simple step-by-step instructions on our exact needs based on our (very) limited experience.

Stephanie and her team had spent the better part of a year trying to find out how to build this platform. Doing a tremendous amount of research and meetings with different companies who had nothing but incredibly high quotes to build a custom marketplace. On our first call with Stephanie and her Designer, we mentioned Sharetribe Flex, a completely customizable out-of-the-box, plus low-code marketplace solution. One of Marketplace Studio’s main platform partners for Non-Technical Founders launching their MVP. The Project Garage Team was blown away by the investment we quoted to complete our Pre-Dev process as well as our Full Development package.

Now, as mentioned above, Stephanie is from the trades industry and is beyond experienced in all aspects of her renovation business. This is exactly the type of Founder we love to partner with! Someone who has deep industry knowledge, and a passion for creating a new way to do things, but without the technical expertise. Both of our teams had immediate chemistry.

We both wanted to get started as soon as possible, no time to waste now that Stephanie found her new technology partner! So, we dove in with both hands and all of our toes.

What Did We Do?

We decided it would be best to start from step 2 because Stephanie and her team had already done so much research and written many of the requirements which laid the foundation for us to start designing and building our personas.

We started with a hybrid version of Design Thinking, 5 step process that was created to essentially design first, validate, and code later. We wanted to define both personas for the DIYer & the Pro and explore the existing tools they’re used to using to find answers. As well as, what the market looks like. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel for a small TAM (Total Addressable Market) who wouldn’t pay to use The Project Garage.

Sharetribe Flex comes with all of the workflows/features a Founder needs to launch a basic MVP for most industries. We typically suggest customizing a handful of workflows that are the most important to the primary use case, or “The Golden Path”. For The Project Garage, that meant the Booking Process for Pros and the Availability Management aspects for Pros.

After a month of our Pre-Development efforts which included weeks of researching, wireframing, prototyping, user testing, iterations, and writing user stories, we were ready for development. We are very excited to see the tremendous growth of Stephanie’s online DIYer Advice Marketplace!

If you’re interested in learning more about potentially partnering with Marketplace Studio, please contact us and we can see if it’s a match!

What Does Stephanie Think of Our Process?

What were your original expectations with the Marketplace Studio team?

"To save me, as I was in over my head. Needed to get moving in the right direction to get the actual marketplace built."

What would you tell a marketplace Founder who’s considering designing a marketplace?

" I would tell them that they may have an idea or think that they know what to expect with building a marketplace. But it's much more involved than they may think. An actual marketplace is beyond expensive and time-consuming and really needs an expert to help with direction, design, and development."

As a first-time marketplace Founder, what do you believe is most valuable about our Pre-Development process?

Having the " Insta-team" aspect with the addition of the Marketplace Studio team and having access to multiple expertise and backgrounds to help mold and shape the idea to fruition.

If you're a Non-Technical Founder and you're interested in learning more about a potential partnership, please contact us to schedule an introduction meeting.


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