Mini Stories: Sourcing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Essential Workers

eBay News Team

Canadian seller Nadia Shuaib sourced PPE to help essential businesses operate safely.

Editor’s note: During this unprecedented time, we’re highlighting the individual acts of kindness from our global seller community. Now through June, we’ll share a story about one of our sellers on how they’re paying it forward in our Mini Stories column.

In the new era of COVID-19, essential workers are encouraged to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks and gloves to prevent the transmission of the virus. Yet often these items are in short supply or are difficult to obtain. To help these essential workers more safely navigate their new working environments, Canadian seller Nadia Shuaib of budget_electronics connected with her community of suppliers to source personal protective equipment (PPE) for those who need it the most. 

Based in Toronto, Nadia and her husband sell cellphone accessories to both wholesale customers and individual buyers through eBay. As a B2B seller, their customer base also includes grocery stores and pharmacies who are providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When these brick-and-mortar stores reached out to Nadia in hopes of sourcing personal protective equipment (PPE) to continue operating safely, she was quick to respond. Stepping outside the store’s usual cellphone product offerings, Nadia harnessed the power of her network to provide PPE solutions. “We contacted our suppliers and found that we were able to source products at a reasonable price, and we were happy to pass those savings along to our customers,” Nadia said.

Inspired by the success of this effort, Nadia wanted to extend her help to other types of essential businesses, so she partnered with eBay Canada to secure 23,000 pairs of gloves for Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, a facility desperately short in supply. For Nadia, the donation to Sunnybrook also meant helping her doctor and nurse friends working on the front lines. “Sunnybrook is one of the key hospitals in Toronto, and our friends at the hospital told us they were having major shortages,” Nadia said. “We were extremely happy to see the Protective Personal Equipment go where it was needed.”

Nadia and her husband started budget_electronics in 2014 as a hobby, selling cellphone accessories from home. That side gig quickly transformed into a multi-million dollar eBay business. In 2016, Nadia won eBay’s Omni-Channel Entrepreneur Award for her dual online and brick-and-mortar presence, gathering customer service feedback on eBay while using a custom CRM tool to service in-store and online buyers simultaneously.

Committed to a supportive store ideal, Nadia continues to use her network to serve others during these challenging times and believes that maintaining the health and safety of our communities is a collaborative effort.

“None of this would have been possible without the generous contributions of everyone involved in helping get this equipment delivered to our community,” Nadia said. “We are lucky to have had the opportunity to play a small part in this common struggle.” 

Since 1995, our purpose has been clear: to empower people and create economic opportunity. We’re committed to helping our sellers during this difficult time. 

For more eBay news and updates related to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit our seller community center. For information on government support for small businesses in the U.S. and abroad, visit eBay’s Government Relations site at