SHAH ALAM: Sometimes, when you buy new furniture for your home, or when you’re decluttering, you’ll find yourself wondering how to get rid of the items you currently have and no longer need.
You may be tempted to unload them at a dump site, but you might have to hire a lorry or a van to do that.
Well, there’s a company called Unearth that’ll pay you to get rid of the problem and at the same time help reduce waste at the country’s landfills.
As is the case with a lot of startup businesses, it was founded during the pandemic and is currently managed by four friends.
FMT Lifestyle recently caught up with co-founder Christopher Rudra at Unearth’s warehouse in Shah Alam.
“It started when our friend Johnson Goh had a breakup during the pandemic and was trying to make an online sale of the items in his house that his ex-girlfriend left behind,” Rudra recalled.
At around the same time, another friend, Eric Lee, was also stuck with a lot of furniture following the closure of his Airbnb management company.
The two decided to sell their used items together, which was the inception of Unearth. Rudra and another friend, Jermaine Cheah, soon joined them to complete the team.
“At first,” said Rudra, “we had a smaller place in Klang with much fewer items than we do now. But we were slowly expanding. Last year, we moved to this 40,000-square-feet warehouse.”
Indeed, walking into the large warehouse will wow anyone. You’ll find yourself surrounded by all kinds of items.
The business has grown from just dealing with furniture to selling various other things, such as musical instruments, sporting goods and even wheelchairs.
So what do you do if you want to sell something to Unearth?
“Submit a form and our customer service rep will contact you to schedule a collection slot,” Rudra said. “Then we’ll come over and collect the item. After the item is sold, your account will be updated and you’ll be able to get your payment.”
The team that collects items from your house will take them to the warehouse for processing before they’re put up for sale. Customers can then walk in and pick out the items they want to buy. The purchased items are cleaned before they are wrapped and shipped out.
According to Rudra, Unearth tries its best not to throw away items it can’t sell as this will defeat the purpose of reducing waste.
“For example, there was a vintage Yamaha piano that had been sitting here for months, but someone came in and fell in love with it immediately, buying it on the spot.”
Among Unearth’s biggest customers are resellers from Kelantan and Terengganu, who’d buy the second-hand items at discounted prices and supply them to flood victims in the two states.
These days, when new and minimalist items are all the rage, it’s heartening to know that there are still people who prefer vintage furniture or something with a history behind it.
“Many customers I come across prefer our solid wood or vintage pieces to decorate their houses with,” Rudra said. “They can last for many years if you take care of them well.”
He said the company hoped to open more outlets in Klang Valley and to expand outside Selangor.
“Location is a big factor when determining whether something can sell,” he said. “For example, the electronics that won’t sell here in Shah Alam might sell well in Kuala Lumpur.”
Lot 4004, Lorong 2A
Jalan Kampung Baru Subang
40150 Shah Alam
Business hours: 10am-7pm daily
Contact: 016-940 6099