We asked plantswapper founders, Zeba and Nihal, about building an app that enables users to swap, gift, sell, or display their plants, and even ask plant care questions. Users host and organize contactless swap meets. Zeba is a scientist-turned-entrepreneur who loves plants, and Nihal enjoys using tech to solve problems. They both combined their skills to create plantswapper. They chose Bubble because the no-code platform enables complete customization of the front-end, without compromising on a powerful back-end, third-party integrations, and a native app.
Tell us about your app and what it does.
Nihal: Our app, plantswapper, is a social plant trading app. You can swap, gift, or sell plants, or even list plants for display and ask plant care questions. The app also enables you to host and organize contactless swap meets.
On conventional plant forums and groups, there are inconsistencies in the nomenclature of the plants, and the information listed is disorganized. This requires a lot of back-and-forth between plant swappers to complete a single trade. With plantswapper, you have consistent tags and can be matched automatically so that users can find good trades quickly.
How does your app work?
A new user can post plant listings, and select the category, particular variety, trade type (swap, free, or cash), and plant condition (nice pot, cutting, seed, etc). Users can create different types of listings. For example, there are "offers," which are the plants the user wants to give, and the "wants," which are the plants the user wants to get.
What's really neat is that the app shows you matches through an icon that tells you if another user has a "want" that matches your "offer," and vice versa. You can browse, search, or match listings to easily and quickly make trades. You can also host a local swap meet with trades and matches pre-decided through the app.
Tell us a little about your background and how you discovered no-code tools like Bubble.
Zeba is a scientist-turned-entrepreneur and an e-commerce expert. She has been a plant enthusiast for years. She heard about Bubble and the no-code concept from other entrepreneurs as being an alternative to traditional web-development. I am not a professional coder, but I enjoy using tech to solve problems.
Through Zeba's recommendation, I evaluated a few different no-code platforms and found that Bubble worked best. We used Bubble to make plantswapper, so that plant enthusiasts can match trades without needing to hunt and scroll through dozens of plant forums and groups.
Why did you build your app on Bubble?
Bubble made it very easy and intuitive to develop the front-end, while being powerful enough to handle the back-end and the complex queries for matching trades. We were able to rapidly develop an MVP in just two weeks from Bubble’s various educational tutorials and from Bubble's active user forum. After launching the alpha, we tweaked and debugged, and added new features that users requested.
Bubble also facilitates managing user accounts and integrating with third-party platforms like Google, SendGrid, and OneSignal, which is a huge plus. And the best part is that we do not need to develop a separate mobile and web platform - it works and looks great on both!
What have been your successes or milestones so far?
It has been three weeks since we launched our alpha, and the number of users has doubled every week- we are at over 125 active listings in just three weeks. Our first contactless swap meet is over the weekend. Interestingly, our users have also traded plants by mail. Our current user base is largely in the south east, but with increasing activity in other regions.
What are your next steps or future plans for your app?
We thought we would use Bubble to first make a crude MVP, and later hire expensive developers and use a conventional full-stack approach. We were completely wrong!
Our Bubble app is already full-featured, and “real." Our coder friends were amazed by what we built without writing a single line of code.
The next step is to progress towards our beta launch over the next few months, and make listing and matching easier. We also plan to wrap the site into a native app using plugins, for users who prefer downloading native apps.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 400,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.