Last week we held our annual seller celebration, eBay Open, in Las Vegas. We gathered over 1500 eBay sellers to talk about where we are heading as a company – and more importantly what it takes to successfully build and expand a business on eBay.
Our seller community, made up of millions of entrepreneurs, is what makes eBay the most unique marketplace in the world. This became evident during our SHINE Awards for Small Business, where we received over 2,400 submissions from sellers across the U.S. Our team was extremely inspired reading through the submissions – whether it was a single mom turning to eBay to create a business that would support her family, an immigrant from Colombia pursuing her American Dream or a brick and mortar store in rural Vermont going online to expand their business globally – these people are eBay’s heart and soul and a true representation of what we’re all about. We’re thrilled to announce our 2017 SHINE Awards for Small Business winners.
Whittling 2,400 submissions down to just 15 finalists across five categories wasn’t easy, but then we turned to the eBay community for an even tougher job – picking one winner in each category. Our finalists went to their friends, families, communities and even their eBay customers to spread the word about their business and why they deserved to win. You answered their call – and in just a few short weeks we received nearly 30,000 votes.
Independent to the community voting, a panel of judges selected our 2017 Small Business of the Year from among our 15 fantastic finalists. It was a privilege to serve on the judging panel alongside Brent Bellm, CEO of BigCommerce; Anita Campbell, Founder of Small Business Trends, John Henry, host of eBay’s Open for Business podcast and last but certainly not least, Laurie Wong, Owner of Reflections of Trinity and our 2016 Small Business of the Year. My esteemed judges and I had the great pleasure of honoring our 2017 Small Business of the Year last week: Angie Cardona-Nelson.
Angie’s business, eWaste Direct, is an eco-friendly business that diverts electronic waste from landfills by recycling and refurbishing used electronics. Over the course of nine years, eWaste has diverted over 7 million pounds of e-waste from landfills and has gone from a revenue ratio of 80% recycling to over 80% resale. In addition to having an incredible personal story, Angie and her husband built their business on a principle we at eBay strongly believe in – giving products the chance to have many lives and benefit many people.
We are also proud to recognize our category winners:
- Rising Star: Katy Zilverberg, A Boutique for Him. Katy left her traditional 9-to-5 job to pursue a career in small business consulting. It wasn't long before she realized selling on eBay was her true calling – and she went all in, growing her sales at a staggering rate. Today, A Boutique for Him is a full-time eBay boutique specializing in a men's clothing.
- Global Business: Denise Martell, Al's Snowmobile Parts Warehouse. As a seasonal business based in rural Vermont, Denise made the decision to expand her father's snowmobile business and source additional cashflow in the off season by selling on eBay – and never looked back. Today Denise exports between 30-40% of her products to countries all over the world.
- Minority or Woman-Owned Business: Melissa Crook, Sticky Fingers Vinyl. A single mother with four children, Melissa knew she needed a way to support herself and her family finding a niche in the online craft market. She now has a thriving business selling vinyl product to crafting professionals and expanded to a 11,000+ sq. ft. warehouse with six employees.
- Charitable Business: Nancy Meyer, Community Forklift. Nancy founded Community Forklift to "lift up the community" by recycling and reselling unwanted and salvaged building materials throughout the metro DC region. To raise even more funds, the organization leverages our eBay for Charity program. Since 2011, Community Forklift has also provided $250,000 worth of materials to neighbors in need.
- Young Entrepreneur: Ciara Brown, The Diamond Hanger. With an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for finding that diamond in the rough, Ciara created a flourishing clothing business out of her college dorm room while juggling her time as a full-time college student and Division I athlete.
In addition to receiving an all-inclusive VIP experience at eBay Open, the winners will also receive an amazing suite of prizes meant to take their business to the next level. This includes a cash prize, $10,000 for our grand prize winner and $5,000 for each of our five category winners, a one-year Anchor store subscription, credits for eBay shipping supplies and promoted listings and much more.
We encourage you to get inspired and learn more about our amazing class of 2017 winners. Please join us in congratulating each of our winners and finalists – and don’t forget to enter next year’s SHINE awards if you think you’ve got what it takes to become our 2018 Small Business of the Year!
Until then – happy selling!