This week we welcomed more than 2,000 eBay sellers from across the country to our annual celebration for sellers, eBay Open, in Las Vegas, to connect, learn, and share.
Our community of sellers make eBay one of the most diverse marketplaces in the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in our SHINE Awards for Small Business contest, which recognizes some of our most inspirational sellers across the U.S..
In June, we narrowed down thousands of submissions to just15 finalists across five categories. And then, we turned to the eBay community for an even tougher job – picking just one winner in each category. Our finalists relied on their friends, families, communities, and even eBay customers to spread the word about why they deserved to win. Their call was answered – in just a few short weeks, we received nearly 25,000 votes.
Each award submission was a testament to the potential for opportunity on eBay. —from a single mom working to support her family to a college student launching his career, or a brick-and-mortar family business expanding its reach online.
While the community was voting on the 5 category winners, we selected our 2018 Small Business of the Yearfrom 15 fantastic finalists. We were joined by an all-star group of judges, including:
· Angie Cardona-Nelson, 2017 Small Business of the Year and Owner of eWaste Direct
· Kevin Chung, Marketing Principal, eCommerce Alliance Marketing, FedEx
· Bob Kupbens, Vice President, Seller and Marketplace Operations, eBay
· Rieva Lesonsky, President and CEO, GrowBiz Media and SmallBizDaily.com
· Guy Longworth, Global CMO & SVP for the Small Business & Self-Employed Group, Intuit
We were honored to present the 2018 Small Business of the Year Award to Cori O’Steen of UpakNShip!
Cori founded her business in 2003 as a single mother packing orders while her children played in her living room. She began selling clothing that her children had outgrown, but always had difficulty finding the proper packaging to ship the clothes in. After locating the appropriately sized poly mailers, Cori began selling shipping supplies on her eBay store. In 2012, Cori’s family proudly created their own Poly Pak Brand product line including the new Poly Pak Designer Mailers, which are a custom designed colorfully printed line of poly mailers in stock and ready to buy in the quantity you need. She is actively involved in her community and through eBay for Charity, donates a proceeds of her sales to help fund addiction recovery centers.
We’re also proud to recognize our category winners as voted by the eBay community:
Click-and-Mortar: John M. Stack, ACityDiscount
In 1999, John was ready to shut down his family-owned restaurant equipment business because he was struggling to move stock locally. Luckily, his son, Marty Stack (now Executive Vice President) and then-General Manager Ed Saunders convinced him to try a fairly new selling strategy: eBay. The trio placed 50 coffeemakers on eBay auctions which sold successfully. Almost overnight, ACityDiscount transformed from a local business with four employees to a coast-to-coast sales operation eager for online expansion. ACityDiscount is now ranked as one of eBay’s largest providers of restaurant equipment.
Global Business: Bill Ingersoll, Bikes, Trikes and Quads
Bill grew up racing Motocross in a rural area in upstate New York. As the son of a single mother, money was always tight, which led Bill, his grandfather, and business partner to begin buying and selling ATVs and ATV parts to supplement the costs of racing. In 2008, he tragically suffered a severe spinal cord injury, which confined him to a wheelchair. The accident marked a turning point in his life, catalyzing his eBay career and leading him to start an eCommerce business. Since 2010, Bill has been using his passion for Motocross to sell ATV parts in his eBay store, Bikes, Trikes and Quads.
Woman or Minority-Owned: Gina Foster, POCKETS
One summer, Gina’s daughter asked her to purchase duct tape so that she could tape her twin sheet to her plastic summer camp mattress. Always a problem solver, Gina refused to buy the duct tape and instead bought fabric to sew a bed sheet that could not pop off the mattress. At the end of the camp, a camp leader asked where she bought those "incredible sheets" because her kids were the only campers who woke up ON their bed sheets and not stuck to the plastic mattress. Right then, MATTRESS POCKET®, the sheet that Won't Pop Off - Guaranteed, was born. After selling at small shows and fairs, Gina turned to eBay, growing her business globally and bringing economic opportunity to her small Oklahoma town.
Young Entrepreneur: Hawa Lukulay, Messie’s Closet
Hawa launched her eBay career shortly after she graduated high school in 2013. Fascinated by the thrill of treasure hunting, she opted to spend her summer before college learning the ropes of selling young contemporary clothing on eBay instead of getting a job. Fast forward five years, Hawa has successfully put herself through college with her store earnings, giving her the freedom to grow the business and manage her own schedule.
Everyday Hero: Cori O’Steen, UpakNShip
After learning her daughter was an addict, Cori began using her eBay profits to donate to addiction recovery programs. Recently Cori built her own organization, Recovery Road Ministries, a ten-month in-home recovery program that provides professional counseling, public education, job training, and other opportunities and resources to promote healthy recovery for each resident.
We invite you to watch the following videos to learn more about the rest of our inspiring class of 2018 finalists.
Click-and-Mortar Business Owner:
Scott Rowbotham, HPTAutoSport
John McTighe, Reliable Vacuum Store
Jon Gottschalk, WWWatercraft
Prince Patel, Surplus Deals Inc.
Woman or Minority-Owned:
Shazia Haroon, SUM Computers, Inc.
Bonnie Sugawara, Global Auto Parts
Chris Holbrook, Sneaker Jesus
Stephen Rines, City Music Annex
David DiBartolomeo, Select Tech Sales Corp
Elijah McCloskey, Freewheel Madison Bicycle Co.
Please join us in congratulating each of our winners and finalists. We look forward to discovering the talents of our eBay community during next year’s Shine Awards!