eBay: Stitching the Family Together
By: Cindy Sorley
When I am teaching eBay classes to stay at home moms, I always seem to get asked the same question, “Why eBay?” I tell them that after years of having a brick and mortar specialty needlework store where customers would come in and work on their projects, socialize and bring their lunch, I wanted a place where there was a sense of a community and I found it on eBay.
My husband and I were shocked to find out around our 19th Anniversary that we would be blessed with another child. My husband Jim, an airline pilot, and I decided our son Thomas would go to work with me at the store. At 4 days old, he made his debut at Stitchery X-Press and became the store mascot for over three years. As he grew older, it became more unmanageable as he pulled linens off shelves and tried to run our hemstitching machine. Some big decisions needed to be made when every time a customer opened the door little Thomas would run for the parking lot and street.
We received notice that our already high rent would be going up, so I needed to make a quick decision if we were going to stay open or close. I wanted to give eBay a try by selling my existing inventory before having a clearance sale. I had been a buyer on eBay for a number of years so I took the selling plunge and jumped right in. It was surprising how fast bids came in right after listing them.
Within a month my eBay sales were more than my physical store. eBay became a logical choice to sell my inventory. It gave me an opportunity to be at home and have my own work hours instead of being tied to the shop 24/7, six days a week. I had already had the username BubbaCanDance as a buyer from the country music group Shenandoah’s hit song (whom I worked for). When it came time to open an eBay store I decided on Stitchery X-Press, our established name since 1982. After a few months I was going to change my eBay ID to the store name but my customers said no. Seven years later, Stitchery X-Press is one of the largest needlework stores on eBay with customers from all over the world.
I knew I needed more space and looked into renting. One of the reasons I closed the store was to stay at home so we decided to build a warehouse and office in the back yard. We now walk a few feet to work each day.
eBay is part of our family and I feel at home. eBay has allowed me to home school Thomas who has become part of the business team. He is the shipping manager and makes sure all packages get the labels on them. Our other son Steven delivers all packages daily to the post office. Steven is headed to join the Marines to be a pilot next year (we hope) and Thomas is trying to figure out how to get his driver’s license by age 11 to take over that job. Jim will move into a job here when he retires from the airlines soon.
My journey with eBay continues to grow as do the personal relationships that cultivate along the way. One of my favorite sayings is “like what you do, do what you like!” This is who I am and it has shaped the fabric of our family business! I am eBay!