Local brothers looking to trade up from rubber ducks to private island

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by Courtesy of Brody & Jared Atkin

Two Airdrie brothers have embarked on a mission to trade up from rubber ducks to an island.

You read that right, Brody and Jared Atkin plan to make trades online from plastic duck toys to a private island that they will then give away to one of their social media followers.

“The idea is to trade someone for something they don’t really need anyway and give them something they’ll love,” says Jared, 20.

“The story part of this is the most fun. Getting to learn about people we never would’ve met and being able to help each other out feels so good!”

The George McDougall High School alumnae got the idea from Kyle MacDonald, who traded up from a paperclip to a house in Saskatchewan in 2006.

They have created a competition between themselves and plan to give their second-place item to a charity of their followers’ choice.

The brothers, who work at a local gym, posted their first item on May 31, 2020 and have since traded things such as an iPad mini, watches, golf clubs, a mountain bike and even a subwoofer for a car.

They trade on Facebook Marketplace, Varagesale and Kijiji. The two work with brothers Dallas and Austin Morrison, who run Airdrie businesses My Second Hand Store and Aussies Auctions, to help assess the value and “trade-ability” of the offers they get.

The brothers say they have learned a lot about business, working together and online content creation along the way.

“We’ve had to become much better storytellers as creators, but we’ve also learned a lot about jumping into a whole new area of content creation than we ever thought we’d do, which has been great to help our skills as creators expand,” says Brody, 23.

Brody is currently winning the competition and is looking to trade up for two handmade wooden bed frames with a value of $1,200, while Jared is looking to make a trade for a ruby bracelet valued at $600.

“Currently Brody is winning, but Jared has so far had a knack for falling well behind and then surging forward with some ridiculously huge trade ups,” the boys joke.

So why did they start with rubber ducks?

“We thought they were cute and had some character,” says Jared.

“We also had a couple hundred left over from a fundraiser our gym used to do so it seemed like fate!”

As for why an island is their final goal, the two say they thought it had a fun energy and would be put to good use.

Brody adds that their parents are supportive of the challenge and have helped in any way they can.

“They both think it’s a fun thing to have jumped on and they are our greatest fans and supporters in all our creative endeavours, which has been really wonderful,” he says.

He adds that the two originally thought it would take about a year-and-a-half to make the trades from duck to island. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they think a more realistic goal will be about three years.

They are well on their way to making a name for themselves with more than 100,000 TikTok followers, 1,000 Instagram followers and 350 YouTube subscribers.

“We’d love to work with more Airdrie businesses, especially any business interested in trading with us, as we can offer some good exposure for them with our followers on social media,” says Jared.

“We want to be able to give back to the community and we think this is one of the best ways we currently can with this challenge.”

To learn more, click here or follow them on social media @theatkinboys