After her mother died and her father needed help around the house, Lizzy Dunevant was ready to downsize the family home, which was filled with china, crystal and bulky side tables.
But almost two years later, she is still trying to get rid of extra furniture and replace old pieces with needed bookcases and coffee tables.
So she turned to online retailer Move Loot, a San Francisco-based company offering consumers a Web-based marketplace where they can buy and sell used furniture.
“It was a like a treasure hunt for me,” Dunevant said. “It’s convenient, I don’t have to take phone calls from strangers and the pictures of the furniture are awesome. I’ve been tickled by them.”
A few weeks ago, the service moved into Orange County. While the company has warehouses in Los Angeles, New York, Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, there will be no physical presence in Orange County. The main point is that the shipping route has been expanded here.
Move Loot started two years ago after its founders, Bill Bobbitt, Jenny Morrill, Ryan Smith and Shruti Shah, experienced similar frustrations when trying to sell used furniture and buy new pieces online. The four friends didn’t like handling bids from multiple buyers and sellers and arranging for pickups.
The company works like a consignment shop meshed with a Web store like Etsy and a delivery service like UPS. Employees will pick up old furniture that people want to discard, lightly refurbish it, list it online and deliver the goods to buyers. The sellers get 50% of the sales price and don’t have to create an online profile, set up shipping or take pictures of the items they are trying to unload.
“It’s definitely solving a pain point for many people,” said Georgie Thomas, general manager of Move Loot in Los Angeles. “We always get the same initial reaction from a customer, who tells us: ‘Why wasn’t this available before?’ It’s a hassle-free process.”
For buyers, the website provides a selection of upholstered sofas, formal dining tables, entertainment sets and hutches — brands like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel priced from $250 to $800 — and a scheduling process to get the items delivered.
And for sellers, Move Loot provides a pricing guideline, which can be helpful in moving pieces that have become challenging to sell — or, in some cases, give away. The company arranges for the items to be picked up and stored until the consignment deal concludes.
About the decision to move into Orange County, Thomas said the company was responding to demand. Orange County residents have been asking when the service would extend south of Los Angeles, he said, adding that the company has a presence on social media, so people have been able to become acquainted with it.
The move also made sense in terms of operational costs, he said.
Since June, Move Loot covered a narrow band in west Los Angeles but hadn’t gone as far as south as Los Angeles International Airport. But the owners felt that they could lower the cost per truck stop with a well-thought-out addition of stops. So a fuller truck route including Long Beach and Orange County was born.
They also deemed Orange County demographics suitable for the service. The business generally caters to the young, female millennial — who seems to appreciate the shipping assistance and elimination of security concerns because there are no face-to-face meetings with potential buyers and sellers.
“For Orange County, it fits in that same narrative where we have that operational infrastructure we can service,” Thomas said. “We’ve seen tremendous growth, and it’s a testament to a problem we’re solving.”
The business started out as consumer to consumer but now also works with businesses, which often have access to large amounts of furniture. When furniture retailers need to get rid of older inventory or rotate seasonal looks, rather than selling the pieces to a liquidator, the companies can turn to Move Loot for more profit.
That inventory is something the Move Loot owners hope to further find in Orange County.
Dunevant, a Rancho Palos Verdes resident, said she checks the website daily for new listings of bookcases that could hold her stacks of mystery and interior-design books. She has used Craigslist but found locating and renting a vehicle that could transport heavy furniture difficult.
Move Loot was additionally beneficial to her because it offers free delivery on orders over $299.
Furniture is the No. 1 least recycled item in a household, according to a 2009 study conducted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. In 2009, the EPA reported that furniture accounted for 9.8 million tons of household waste.
Besides creating an easy-to-access secondhand furniture experience for customers, the company’s mission is also to lengthen the life of furniture and send less of it to landfills.
Downtown Los Angeles resident Larry Good said he needed a couch for his one- bedroom apartment. He didn’t want to drive around the city to locate one, so his daughter-in-law found him a black leather couch on Move Loot. The company’s movers heavily wrapped the piece in plastic and carried it up three floors to his residence.
Since the purchase three months ago, Good has sold an office chair and bought a leather recliner made by home furniture brand La-Z-Boy.
“They’re really unbelievably efficient,” Good said. “As a senior citizen, I didn’t want to invest a lot of money, and I found good quality merchandise on the site. They know what they’re doing, and I like how the program works.”
For more information, visit moveloot.com.