Resident makes her own 'luck' with launch of new e-commerce site
Inspiration can come in strange places. Just ask tech entrepreneur and Trumbull resident Phyllis Pierce, who recently launched MyLuckClub.com, an e-commerce site with a unique twist.
Pierce was shopping one day in a huge sporting goods store when she realized she had left her keys somewhere in the store. Staff helped her search the rows of merchandise for her lost keys but came up empty-handed — until she offered a $20 reward to he person who found it.
“In minutes the same people that couldn’t find the keys found them,” Pierce said. “Money is a great motivator.”
This wasn’t the first time Pierce had used this kind of thinking to reach a goal. When once searching for a house to rent, she put up signs, offering a $500 cash reward to anyone who helped her find the perfect rental.
These experiences helped inspire My Luck Club — an e-commerce website that offers the thrill of shopping on eBay, Craigslist and Amazon while also allowing people to “monetize their connections,” Pierce said.
At MyLuckClub.com, people are either Luck Seekers or Luck Makers. A Luck Seeker puts up a request, offering a reward for help with a number of issues. Some are looking for business referrals, others are looking for rentals or a lost dog, or even to sell or buy a used item. A Luck Maker responds to the advertisement, using his or her connections to help make it happen. The site is free to use.
“Yesterday I put an ad up for a $100 reward to a person who found me an arrangement where I can barter my cooking skills for tennis lessons,” she said recently. “As a start-up entrepreneur, I can’t afford tennis lessons.”
A woman in Danbury who played college tennis and can’t cook responded to the advertisement and also walked away with the $100 reward. But often there is a middleman, Pierce said, someone who knows someone who can help a Luck Seeker.
Rewards in advertisements currently posted range from $5 to $2,500 — a few people even post a “feel good” reward, rather than a monetary one.
Before going live with the site last fall, Pierce made sure the market research was done, and the site had to be able to handle lot of traffic.
“It is available to anyone, anywhere,” Pierce said of the website. “Even though we are trying to focus our marketing in Connecticut and New York.”
For some of the advertisements posted, like needing a gardener or selling a car, people need to be geographically close to one another.
She credits the help of the Fairfield County chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), an organization of volunteer businesspeople and retired CEOs who help small business owners.
“They gave me amazing free advice,” Pierce said. “I can’t afford to pay a business adviser and you have this great resource of brilliant executives who will help you for free.”
Only 3% of tech start-ups in the United States are founded by women, so Pierce is in an elite group. The Trumbull resident has had two prior successful companies, and My Luck Club was one of only nine start-ups in Connecticut to receive $25,000 funding and participate in the state’s Innovation’s Tech Start Pilot Program. In 2013, the Connecticut Technology Council selected Myluckclub.com as a “Tech Company to Watch.” In addition, Pierce was named a “2013 Women of Innovation” finalist in recognition for her “outstanding leadership as an innovator, mentor and role model.”
“In these challenging economic times, My Luck Club is a way for people to help one another and make money at the same time,” Pierce said. “We think it’s great if you can help someone and also be rewarded financially for the time and energy you’ve spent. In the near future, Luck Makers will have the choice of keeping their reward or donating all, or a portion, of it to My Luck Club partnered charities.”
To learn more, visit Myluckclub.com. To learn more about the Fairfield County chapter of SCORE, visit ScoreNorwalk.org.