Inspired by the challenge of being unable to get a fair deal on textbooks, two Georgetown sophomores, Ignacio Llado (COL ’17) and Gustavo Martinez (COL ’17), have officially launched Hoyalist, an online Georgetown-specific platform that aims to connect prospective buyers and sellers of diverse items from textbooks to electronics.
The website was originally created by Nicolas Delclaux (MSB ’14), who was unable to promote it effectively because of his busy schedule. After Delclaux graduated, Llado, a friend of his, became interested in taking over and fully developing Hoyalist.
The website features advertisements from Georgetown students, divided into variety of categories, and offers the opportunity for students to reach out to sellers. If a student is interested in one of the advertisements, there is a contact button that puts them in touch with the seller. None of the actual transactions occur through the website as it is limited to bringing buyers and sellers into contact. The website offers a diversity of goods ranging from textbooks to Hoya basketball tickets to stripper poles.
Llado said that Hoyalist hopes to eliminate the excess of having a middleman, which usually occurs with transactions through services like Amazon.
“The thing is, once you sell it to Amazon, you sell a product and then you buy it at a much higher price because they are getting a margin there,” Llado said. “Our slogan is ‘Georgetown’s marketplace where only Hoyas decide the price.’”
Martinez sees the platform as offering benefits to both buyers and sellers.
“So for me, last semester I had this [international] finance book that cost me $200, and I was able to sell it for $100 to another Georgetown student through Hoyalist, which was fair for me because I used it for a whole semester, but then I didn’t have to sell it for like $30 on Amazon,” Martinez said.
The website also helps with the logistics of selling larger items, a function particularly pertinent for Llado and Martinez, who, as international students, frequently have to get rid of furniture.
“All of our friends are seniors,” Martinez said. “They lived off campus, and they had a lot of furniture that they bought. And these are international students, but I have friends from Boston and they aren’t going to carry a couch back.”
Without Hoyalist, students are limited by their personal network if they want to avoid selling their books to outside companies, according to Llado.
“I myself was actually talking with a lot of seniors trying to buy a TV. Before we started university, I was trying to buy a lot of stuff and then I just realized that my circle of people I could ask was 100 people, 200 people maximum,” Llado said.
Hoyalist also eliminates some of the confusion that comes from the many Facebook requests for basketball tickets or specific textbooks.
“In the university [Facebook] groups, you always see people wanting to buy tickets for the games and everything,” Martinez said. “We wanted to put everything together.”
Devika Ranjan (SFS ’17) said that she appreciates the ease of having an option like Hoyalist to sell textbooks rather than having to deal with Amazon.
“If there was an easier way to do it, instead of me selling my textbooks back to a company that I rented [them] from, or something like that, then I would absolutely take it,” Ranjan said.
Lauren Rubino (COL ’18) concurred, recognizing the difficulty of only using personal networks to find or sell books on campus.
“I’m a freshman but I know last semester, for this coming semester, I texted a lot of my friends to see if they had any books or anything and some of them had never even heard of the classes, so it was hard to get into contact,” Rubino said.