The Ex-Pats Furniture Group is a Facebook Group which has fast become a great place to get quality furniture from relatively trustworthy people. It’s not just for Ex-Pats, nor is it limited to furniture.
The best way to get anything done in Sri Lanka is through someone you know. Sites like ikman have lots of listings, but the quality is generally low and you don’t really know who you’re dealing with. Into that niche, a small Facebook group has grown to nearly 5,000 members.
The Ex-Pats Furniture Group started as a recycling system for people that were in Sri Lanka for a while and left, what we call expats but what you might also call migrant workers. It has since expanded to serve anyone that lives in Sri Lanka. While you still find mostly furniture there, you also find rentals, puppies and more.
I read the page just for funsies, trying to imagine a need for these various objects, or how they would affect my life. When we moved house, however, we did need a TV table and after just a few days of watching the page (new stuff is added every few hours, you have to be fast) I saw a beautiful Villa Saffron one. Called the lady, dropped by her house and we had the table the next day.
Why the experience worked better than the usual classifieds was that there was a balance between quantity and quality. There was enough stuff that I could find what I wanted, but there wasn’t so much stuff that I had to wade through it. It’s basically like an extended social network – which is how Sri Lankans have found stuff for generations.
The way the Facebook group works is in one of three way.
- You list an item and sell it yourself. For this the admins (Michael Moonesinghe and Frances De Niese) ask that you donate 10-15% of the sale value to their charity fund.
- The administrators handle the sale completely, they take photos, handle inquiries and finally deliver the item. For this they take 20%, which includes a 10% charity donation.
- The group buys the item from you directly
And that’s about it. It works very well and it pays a lot out to charity for people moving pretty good furniture around.
I hope you don’t end up spending inordinate amounts of time there, but the Ex-Pat Furniture Group is a smaller, saner version of a Sri Lankan classifieds site. They have some pretty good furniture (and property, and puppies) from people who are probably on your extended social network.