your guide to bunz in toronto

Bunz is a trading platform/app/community that started in Toronto but has since expanded to a number of other major cities in Canada. The Bunz philosophy is focused on building communities by encouraging people to trade instead of buying. Maybe you don’t wear that one coat anymore but it’s still in great condition. One man’s trash, etc. etc. Basically, Bunz made bartering cool again. And it’s not just people’s furniture and clothing available for trade on the platform, there are users who even trade services like photography sessions and home cooked meals. Why trade? It can be a great way to meet other people in your city while also keeping your expenses down. Reusing and trading are also more environmentally friendly than buying new!

I really immersed myself in the Bunz community when I first moved to Toronto back in May. While packing and unpacking during that time, I saw how much clothing had gone unworn in the last year and was realistically never going to be worn. I donated about half the pile and turned to Bunz for the other half.

What have I traded so far? Mostly clearing out my closet with the clothes and shoes I never wear. At one point I went back to my parents’ house and found a stash of platform sandals that I would not be able to pull off anymore. I put the shoes on Bunz and someone messaged me within the hour!

My favourite things received in trade:

1 // Custom cat magnet for a present. Sue of Llumon Felt Shop creates the cutest felted magnets and she even does custom pieces. I sent her reference images of Jill’s cat with her extremely unique benign tumour head nub and she was able to make the most adorable B magnet.

2 // The same rug that I already owned. This isn’t a crazy find, but I was looking for another rug for the other side of our bed and the one I currently had from IKEA was no longer being sold. Found the exact one on Bunz though! ~ symmetry ~

3 // A necklace that I wear all the time. Elisha of Ello Studio makes clay jewellery and was interested in a shirt I can’t pull off. I didn’t know how much I’d wear the necklace until I got it in the trade.

Warning: if you have a lot of things you want to trade, you should expect to put a decent amount of time and energy into your Bunz interactions. I actually burned myself out in my first month on the app because I spent so much time posting my items, then checking out people’s (often not great) profiles, then setting up numerous meets. During this month I was lamenting to a coworker who told me she was taking a break from Tinder for almost the exact same reasons.

Fine, I admit that not everyone will be as freakin’ crazy as I was – peep that 4 trade day on June 21st!

Setting yourself up on Bunz:

  1. Sign up for an account! (This is my referral link. If you sign up with this link we both get 100 BTZ – more on that further down in this post!) They have a site but you’ll likely prefer to download the app instead (App Store/Google Play).
  2. Fill in your profile information. Key information to include would be your preferred trade locations and times.
  3. Fill in your ISO (what you’re in search of) so that other people have a sense of what to offer you in trade.
  4. If you have things you want to trade, go ahead and create posts for them. The more detail about the items, the better. People know what they’re looking at and you don’t have to answer the same questions over and over.
  5. Start messaging people! If you have something they list in their ISO that’s a good place to start. Otherwise you can check with them and see if there’s anything on your profile that they’re interested in — the oh so popular opener “anything of mine?”. Some people don’t respond to these messages but no harm in checking!

So you think you have a potential trade, now what?

  1. Set the status of that item to pending so that other people know that you’re in talks with someone already.
  2. Once you finalize the details of where + when to meet for the trade, request a review from that user. It’s best practice to make sure that the other person has accepted your review request before you make the trade. This is because the review function is Bunz’s policing method. If someone flakes on your trade and never shows up, or if they were extremely rude, or if they claimed that the shirt they were trading was brand new but once you got home you realized that there was a huge rip in the middle, then the review function is how you can make sure there’s some level of accountability on the other user’s part. Reviews are public on people’s profiles so it’s also good to take a look at the reviews for people you’re about to trade with.
  3. I like to confirm both the day before a trade, and a few hours before the trade just in case anything has changed. 95% of my trades have been lovely and flawless and I like to hope that this is the status quo for the community in general.

What the heck are BTZ? Okay, yes BUNZ is primarily a trading platform but they also introduced their own cryptocurrency called BTZ. You can use these BTZ for trade or you can spend them at partnered retailers and restaurants in Toronto. I almost exclusively spend my BTZ at Strangelove because it’s right by my office. I also took Mike out for a breakfast bagel at Lox & Schmear with BTZ and it was very good, even if also extremely messy. Other popular retailers that accept BTZ include Drake General Store and Kotn.

How do you get BTZ?

  1. When you sign up for Bunz and activate your wallet, it’s automatically loaded with some BTZ.
  2. You can get them in trades! The approximate value of 100 BTZ is a dollar but different people have different valuations so your mileage may vary.
  3. There’s a daily survey in the app that you can answer to earn BTZ (about 10 BTZ each day).
  4. When you make posts you can earn BTZ based on how popular the post is within the first 24 hours of it being up. The increments are 1, 11, and 111 BTZ.

Some tips:

  1. It’s obviously nice to be able to try on the clothing you trade for prior to finalizing the trade but I wouldn’t expect to do that for the majority of your clothing trades unless you set that expectation ahead of time. It’s very common to see posts where the user is reposting from a previous trade because it ultimately didn’t fit.
  2. Don’t set yourself with the expectation that you will always be able to trade your $100 jeans for something also worth $100. If you’re looking for true value for your money a consignment store or something like Depop would be more in line with your goals.
  3. When you’re taking photos of your things don’t forget to take decent quality photos from multiple angles, especially if it’s furniture or shoes. For clothing, it’s helpful if you can include material breakdown, size, and any flaws that the clothing might have. Being sneaky and hiding that information is not cool and you will very likely be called out for it.
  4. Don’t feel bad about saying no. People will often ask if there’s anything of theirs that catches your eye and there often won’t be. Don’t feel like you have to settle for something on their profile that you might not use because you’ll likely just want to get rid of that thing in a few months.

I’ve honestly enjoyed my time on Bunz so far and if you start trading, I hope you do too!

Some last links to leave you with: my Bunz profile (@itvick) // their very comprehensive FAQ if you have more questions

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