Here was my question and answer session with Plastic Jungle’s CEO:
1. Gary, the Plastic Jungle concept is a great idea. What do you have in store for the company in the future?
Thanks, Henry. The concept for Plastic Jungle was developed by our Founder, Tina Henson, and it’s really pretty simple: Consumers have a lot of money trapped on gift cards they don’t intend to spend. Wouldn’t it be useful to have a place where a consumer can get cash for them and other consumers can then buy them at a discount — with all transactions guaranteed.
When you consider how much money is currently trapped and unspent on gift cards (estimates range from $30 billion to $40 billion, not including merchandise credits) we think that just simply getting more people to realize that they can get cash and save money through Plastic Jungle will create a bright future for us. What’s even more interesting is that retailers like the idea, too. They are recognizing that it’s much better to get that gift card you have sitting in your sock drawer moving again. It creates loyalty and what’s called “overspend,” as consumers typically spend much more than the value of a gift card when they shop. As a result, we’re very excited about the future for Plastic Jungle.
2. What’s your favorite part of Plastic Jungle?
On the consumer side, I really like that we get cash into people’s pockets in two ways: Get cash for your unused gift cards when you sell them to Plastic Jungle; save money when you shop with a gift card bought from Plastic Jungle. I think we’re building something that’s pretty unique in that it has these two significant benefits. For retailers, I’m enjoying that we are bringing a new solution to them and their response has been very exciting. Finally, I like being part of a strong, eager team of people here. For example, we have been getting a lot of new consumers in the days after Christmas and have quite a full mailbag everyday. So, we all just jump in — order in some pizza — and get at fulfilling consumer orders. It’s very fun. Have I mentioned that I like pizza?!
3. Having previously worked for eBay and PayPal, how is working at Plastic Jungle different? The same?
Of most note is simply that Plastic Jungle is a much younger company than when I joined eBay. I started at eBay in early 2002 and by then the company had over 1,000 employees with about 250 at headquarters where I worked. When I left in early 2008 the company had 14,000 employees. So size is certainly the biggest difference. What’s the same is that we’re building a marketplace at Plastic Jungle that has many of the same dynamics as the eBay market. That’s very fun to be part of and to help build. In addition, we have a lot of the same product focus as PayPal, which is something I greatly admire about the PayPal culture.
4. Why would you encourage people to use Plastic Jungle?
The top reason I would say to a potential user is that Plastic Jungle is just very easy to use. We pay for shipping and all transactions are guaranteed. So, to sell us a card, you fill out one page on the site, print out the shipping label we pay for and provide, tape the label on an envelope and then drop the card in the envelope on your way to the mailbox. In buying from Plastic Jungle you can save a lot of money when you shop by buying a discounted gift card. That’s about as straightforward as shopping gets!
Thanks Gary for taking the time to answer my questions and God bless you in all you do!
Hope you check out Plastic Jungle and try it out! I sure did and I’ll definitely use it in the future.