News » Education

Hoot of Loot lets teachers buy and swap classroom supplies

by

comment
Cheryl Shane and husband, Edward Shane, started the e-commerce company Hoot of Loot.  The Shanes are from Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday, June 26, 2016. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Photo provided
  • Cheryl Shane and husband, Edward Shane, started the e-commerce company Hoot of Loot. The Shanes are from Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday, June 26, 2016.

Hoot of Loot, a website launched by Oklahoma couple Cheryl and Edward Shane, is sort of a Craigslist for teachers, minus the hook-up listings.

If its founders succeed, it might revolutionize how teachers buy and sell school supplies.

The husband-and-wife team came up with the idea in 2008.

Cheryl, a teacher with more than 17 years of experience, understood the struggles teachers face when trying to supplement meager classroom supply budgets with their own money. As luck would have it, one of the many things her husband’s business, Shane Media Productions, does is produce websites.

“On average, according to studies, teachers spend about $500 apiece each year on classroom supplies,” Cheryl said; she also noted that Oklahoma is ranked almost dead last nationally in state spending per pupil. “Teachers will fill funding gaps by buying their own classroom supplies on some of the lowest salaries in the nation. As teachers, we love our students and want to make the most of our classroom, so we make an investment in education materials.”

Buy, sell

One day, as Cheryl sorted through her teaching supplies in an attempt to downsize a bit, she wondered if a website existed specifically for teachers to buy and sell secondhand supplies, thereby saving money and recouping some of their supply investments. There was not. She decided to create one.

“The main thing we want to do is help educators and schools,” Edward said. “Hoot of Loot is free for teachers [to use], and we’ve opened it up to companies wanting to sell their overstock at a discount.”

It is designed to be incredibly user-friendly, Edward said. After a seller creates an account and lists items for sale, buyers and sellers are connected and work out pricing and delivery between themselves.

“One feature that’s really convenient is the alert system,” he added. “If you don’t see what you need listed, you can set it up so you get an email when somebody lists that item.”

Hoot of Loot’s website traffic is in an upswing, too.

When summer break began, around 200 to 300 users visited the site per day, Edward said. Now, 250 visitors is a slow day, and most days see traffic at around 500 or 600.

“People are spending quite a bit of time on our site,” Edward said.

Hoot of Loot currently has more buyers than sellers, and they are recruiting sellers via social media platforms and some advertising.

Ad rates are cheap at $3 per ad, whether a company lists one item or 100, Edward said. There are also a few banner ads available, but the couple said the revenue generated by the site goes to keep it up and running. It’s not yet a moneymaker.

Eventually, the Shanes hope to donate a portion of Hoot of Loot earnings to education-related causes.

“We know that teachers are always looking for a good deal,” Cheryl said. “We want to become known as the place to go first if you need to sell or buy educational supplies, both in Oklahoma and nationally.”

Learn more at hootofloot.com.

Print headline: Web cash, Cheryl and Edward Shane, frustrated by the expense and time teachers spend buying their own classroom supplies, launched a Craigslist-style resale website. 

Speaking of...

Latest in Education

Add a comment