Editor’s note: In celebration of eBay’s 25th anniversary, we’re spotlighting a seller every week from our global community in our Mini Stories column through 2020.
Earning the nickname “eBetsy” in her first eBay Radio gig, Dorothy Elizabeth “Betsie” Bolger (Mrs. Jon Mott) has become renowned in the eBay community for her passion and commitment to the company over the past two decades, as well as her eye-catching eBay-colored hairstyles at company gatherings and conferences. For Betsie, “eBay has really become a lifestyle” — one where she has found a strong-knit community with other sellers and established lifelong friendships.
“eBay has become so ingrained into my life,” says Betsie, who’s based in Dallas, Texas. “It's a place to connect with other humans, with other people around the world and their experiences.
“eBay's just so darn fun — you can find anything on eBay, it never fails.”
Betsie began selling in 2004 after taking an online eBay University course from eBay for Business podcast host James “Griff” Griffith. A self-described “PowerBuyer” for years, Betsie already was a fan of the marketplace and would often spend hours late at night sifting through the site’s offerings to track down one-of-kind collectibles, such as vintage Converse sneakers and SPAM memorabilia.
In 2005, Betsie became a contributing editor for eBay Radio with “Around the World on eBay in 80 Seconds with eBetsy.” During eBay Radio’s Tuesday online broadcasts, she reported live each week for 80 seconds from a different international eBay site, from eBay Australia to eBay U.K. At each site, she bought one item, listed one item and soaked up that country’s eBay ambiance by joining in chats on the Community discussion boards.
Betsie later joined forces with eBay Radio co-host executive producer Lee Mirabal to launch the eBay Radio Party & Conference, which she emceed as eBetsy. The inaugural event was a hit with sellers hungry for in-person interaction with their eBay tribe.
Meanwhile, Betsie rose to the position of eBay Radio’s Creative Director, creating and managing much of the content produced to educate and celebrate eBay sellers via twice-weekly live online broadcasts plus the archives website. She also produced the show’s live remote broadcasts from various eBay events.
As part of the eBay Radio team for 14 of the show’s 15 years, Betsie says she loved building camaraderie and kinship with other sellers she otherwise would have not met. Betsie was particularly charmed and delighted by how many people thought she was actually reporting on location from eBay’s various countries — “That’s the magic of radio!” she says.
“Being a member of the eBay Radio team gave me access to the collective wisdom of Griff and eBay team leaders as to best practices, plus I had to keep up with all things eBay in order to provide the best possible content for the show sheets and the archives’ Seller Resource Center,” Betsie says, adding, “Ecommerce has come of age in the last two decades, and eBay sellers have matured as businesspeople along the way.”
Passionate about helping other sellers succeed on the global marketplace, Betsie has served in a number of other educational capacities for eBay sellers. She was an eBay education specialist and serves as assistant organizer for the Dallas eBaybes & eMales, the first-ever seller meetup group. She also has been a staple at eBay events — from eBay Live! To eBay: On Location to the eBay Radio Party and Conference to eBay Open and UpFront.
Betsie with Griff and eBay Hall of Famer Danna Crawford of the store, PowerSellingMom.
Selling on eBay has allowed Betsie to pursue other passions, including dog agility competitions.
Betsie’s desire to work from home was initially sparked by her husband’s HIV+ status (he was diagnosed in 1987). A lifelong equestrian, Betsie was a professional horse trainer/riding instructor when the couple married in 1994. Preferring time with Jon to weeks on the road at horse shows, she scaled back her horse business in favor of selling on eBay, which allowed them to be partners in business as well as life.
She had to put their Top Rated Store on vacation from 2015-2017 while Jon went through a bout with HIV encephalopathy, although she continued to handle a client’s Top Rated account. But Jon has now recovered from his lengthy illness, and he remains actively involved with their flourishing business.
“You can’t tell me miracles don’t happen …I live with one,” she says, adding that Jon is once again helping with photography and shipping for their eBay store.
Betsie currently manages and sells from a four-room office suite near her home. She purposely has filled their store with items that hold personal meaning for her and Jon, including classic Chuck Taylor sneakers, vintage Springbok jigsaw puzzles (Jon’s hobby of choice), and eBayana – eBay-branded collectibles, apparel, and other items, most of which were given away at eBay conferences or sold by The eBay Shop.
“We’re not supposed to get attached to objects, but they’re talismans of sorts,” Betsie explains. “They hold special meaning for us.
She and Jon also recently became proud retailers of Teddy the Dog merchandise, which Betsie discovered when she began competing in agility with one of their many rescue dogs.
In addition to her vast collection of eBay swag, Betsie has become known for her “shoeseum,” which features a Chuck Taylor collection that includes over 1,500 pairs of Chucks along with rare and unique Converse memorabilia. (You can catch her detailing her history and obsession with the iconic sneaker brand in the documentary “Sole Sisters.”)
Betsie has developed new and lasting friendships with sellers and buyers, both online and off, including Jon’s physical therapist, whose first words to her on his initial visit were, “So what do you sell on eBay?” It turned out that he had paid for his schooling by reselling high-end wristwatches on the site. Between at-home physical therapy sessions, a friendship blossomed as they swapped stories of successful listings and profitable finds.
Buyers also have shared personal and sentimental stories behind their purchases with Betsie and expressed their gratitude for her listings. One such memorable experience for Betsie was selling a vintage charm bracelet and pendant by jewelry artist Luella C. Schroeder to a grieving mother, who purchased the set in tribute to a lost child.
“We felt so honored and privileged to connect her with these pieces. Clearly, she was meant to have them,” says Betsie. “It’s a truly an ‘only on eBay’ experience…There’s no price tag on that,” she added, explaining. “At the end of the day, eBay is all about community and connection. It’s what sets eBay apart from other ecommerce sites.”
The original eBay listing for a photograph of Betsie’s father. “In late 1987, my dad led a controversial proxy fight to take control of a struggling iron ore mining company,” Betsie said “This photo from the archives of the Cleveland Plain Dealer captures the dramatic moment when my father took his seat at that meeting, and the final showdown began.”
Over the years, Betsie says her time in selling on the eBay marketplace has taught her that “I am just as much of an entrepreneur as my father was.” As an added bonus, she discovered a unique item for her father’s 81st birthday.
Having found the perfect 80th birthday gift for her father and his twin sister on eBay the previous year, this time around, she decided on a whim to search for “david bolger” (his name), “just to see what, if anything, popped up,” she recalls. She was amazed to find that the search results included a 1987 newspaper photo of her father himself. “It was truly a surreal and only-on-eBay experience — not to mention quite a surprise!” Betsie says.
Looking forward to eBay’s future, Betsie hopes to see a renewed focus on innovation, human relationships and the entrepreneurial spirit upon which eBay was built. “eBay’s strength is in its community,” says Betsie, “and I believe it will continue to evolve and adapt to stay on the leading edge of ecommerce.”
Empowering entrepreneurship and creating economic opportunity for all has been our philosophy at eBay since we were founded 25 years ago. Our marketplace has been enriched by its hundreds of thousands of independent small businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. We win when they do. Learn more about how we partner with our sellers.