Interview with the founder of Pigee the homing pigeon.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Pigee?
A: Well, we were supposed to be on a work trip, but we ended up going for a weekend to Zanzibar. We ended up getting stuck in Zanzibar, which is a terrible place to be stuck in, I’m sure.
We went to the airport to go home and found out we needed to have our COVID tests, but they’d run out of COVID tests in Zanzibar. So we ended up having to stay for a week waiting for new COVID tests to arrive. We were mortified by this fact.
Of course, we weren’t, we loved it Zanzibar is a wonderful, wonderful place with beautiful beaches, beautiful people, great food. We visited stone town market.
What we found was that I ended up buying lots of things and lots of gifts in these markets for my friends and family back home. I guess everyone was watching my Instagram feed. People were asking me ‘can you send me this painting’ ‘can you send me this African outfit’ …this sort of stuff
First world Problem
I had this real first world problem, which is that I couldn’t fit all of these things in my little, small weekend suitcase that I had brought with me. I ended up buying some paintings, but the paintings I bought, I had to just wrap them myself.
Under my armpits, in the in the small aeroplane and squeeze them into my suitcase. By the time I got back to London most of them were ruined. The paint had picked off. They were frayed. It wasn’t very good. In fact, I felt guilty because I’d seen these artists create these artworks. I felt quite guilty that I just ruined them all.
When I got back home, I figured …well here’s a problem. I can’t buy as much as I would like. I can’t get it home. When I’m at home I need to pack a bigger suitcase just to decide what extras I’m going to fit in there, and that was that was the problem.
So I figured there must be a solution for this.
Q: So how does it work if I’m a seller?
A: If you’re a seller a shop owner or a small business person, you can very easily just download the
app for free. Create an account, it takes a few seconds.
List your shop. Just get it verified. It doesn’t take very long at all, and then set your payment account. Maybe you like receiving money through PayPal or bank to bank.
We’ve designed it so you can list your products on the fly. A customer or a tourist comes in the shop and says ‘Hey! I like this particular item’ …you can just take a picture of it with the Pigee App. It takes less than 10 seconds. You can put the items name, the description if you like.
Then you just click the drop down and choose the size and weight. All the items you list now appear in your shop. The customer can just connect with you by using the QR connect. You show them your unique QR code on your Pigee App. They scan your phone with their phone and then they’re connected to your shop.
They can see everything you’re selling. It may be things you’ve already listed, or things you just listed on their behalf. They [the customer] can then add those items to their cart as if you were on eBay or Amazon.
Shipping calculated automatically
Then, when it goes to the checkout stage, it [Pigee App] will then tell them exactly how much it will cost to send that item home. Because on their app, of course, it has their own address and payment details in there already.
They can decide ‘Yes, I’ll buy these 10 items’ …from you. And the likelihood is, it will be 10 instead of 1, because now they haven’t got to worry about getting it home and make that purchase.
All you have to do as the seller is just package it [the products] safely into a box, container, or tube. Then once you package the item, either a shipping company such as FedEx, UPS or China Post will come and collect it. Or if not, you can take it to the local drop-off point. As soon as it’s tracked as ‘received’ by the shipping company, you can withdraw your money that you were paid for that item.
And the great thing about this is that people can keep buying things from you even when they’re back at home.
Q: How do I know my purchase will make it home safely?
A: You can stand there and make sure that the seller has packaged your item for you. But there will also be great reviews telling you who to trust and who not to trust when it comes to sellers.
Of course, you want that product to be safely wrapped or stored in the shop when you’re there. Every item is insured through the shipping company. The cost of insurance is automatically added to the price you’re paying [for the products].
So if you spend $100 in a shop, then continue your vacation back to the beach. You can be sure that as soon as the item is collected [by the shipping company] your purchase is now insured.
Q: Is it expensive for me to send my shopping home using Pigee?
A: We don’t think so. Cost is something that we’ve tried to keep as cheap as possible. We will be giving you a few options and it depends on where you are. If you’re using services such as China Post, which means the time it takes to send your package home will be a little bit longer. Then those will be some of the cheapest options.
If you use some of the more US based or international shipping companies, they may well be a little bit more expensive. However, for peace of mind you may wish to use them, and it’ll be a little bit quicker to be sent home to you.
Ultimately, you’re on holiday. You’re on vacation, so even if it takes a week for the items to get home, you should hopefully get back before they do.