One Woman’s Journey From Loss to Reselling

Nicole Grant Kriege, eBay News Team

Katie Murray, an Up & Running grantee, shares how the passing of her husband and a desire to spend time with her daughter led her to selling full-time on eBay.

This series features successful eBay sellers who are former Up & Running grantees. Apply by June 7 for a chance to be one of this year’s 50 grantees and receive $10,000 to grow your business.

When her husband unexpectedly passed away in 2018, Katie Murray’s daughter was only two-months old. Grieving and still learning how to parent, but knowing she had to earn an income to support her young child, Katie returned to her corporate job after her maternity leave came to an end.

Over time she was promoted, which meant even longer hours at the office. Wanting more flexibility to work from home and care for her daughter, she quit her job, deciding to instead sell on eBay full time.

For the last five years, eBay has provided Up & Running Grants, awarding 50 sellers with $10,000 each. In 2022, Katie applied and was chosen as one of the 50 grantees, gaining the safety net she needed to grow her business and support her family.

A love of reselling since childhood 

My passion for selling started when I was a kid. My grandparents were expert resellers. They would take me to yard sales and flea markets, and hold their own yard sales. So I learned early on how to get a good deal and the ins and outs of selling. I also learned what goods are popular — and not. As I got older, I’d sell items through my mom’s eBay shop for extra cash.

These days I mostly sell unique apparel through my store Legacy Sales VA, but I also love searching for and selling paper ephemera. You never know what you’re going to stumble across, and as a treasure hunter, you get a dopamine hit when you find something great. You could pull out ticket stubs from a football game in 1940, vintage art, or a manual for a Rolls Royce from the 1920s.

It’s fun to reconnect people with things from their past. I often receive messages from buyers saying, “Thank you, I can’t believe someone held onto this.” Once I got a message from a buyer who had purchased a manual from me from his own parents’ prior company. His father had written it himself, and he fondly remembered stapling the manuals together as a kid.

"Winning the grant allowed me to hire a freelancer." – Katie Murray, eBay seller

After tragic loss, a desire for family and flexibility

My husband passed away when my daughter was only two months old. She was born in 2017, and he died at the beginning of 2018. I was working full time for a construction consulting firm. Over time, I got promoted and the job became very demanding. I was dropping her off at 7am and picking her up at 6pm, and only spending two hours a day with her.

I started to think that maybe there was another way. I’d heard about full-time sellers making a living on eBay and watched a lot of YouTube videos and crunched the numbers to see if I could do the same. In 2020, I said, okay, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna make the leap. So I put in my notice at work, and I’ve never looked back.

It’s been a really big blessing for our family to have the flexibility and the time to spend with each other. I don't make nearly as much money as I did working in corporate, but it's a trade off that’s been worth it for the passion, the life balance, and the peace of mind. I’m able to be there for my daughter when she needs me. And now that I’m remarried to a loving and supportive husband, I’d like to do the same for my future kids.


How the eBay Up & Running grant bolstered her business

When I found out I’d won the grant, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude, and also validation. That was the moment I felt like I had made it as a seller.

The first thing I did with the grant money was purchase more inventory, especially higher-priced goods. Having more capital allowed me to buy more expensive items in the $500 range and let them sit for six months while I waited for the right buyer. I was able to turn a much larger profit that way versus flipping a bunch of lower-priced items.

The second thing I did was to hire freelancers to help with photography and listing. It’s been really helpful, because as a mom, time is my scarcest resource. So being able to outsource some of the more time-consuming tasks is great.

Lastly, I upgraded my storage system. With more shelves and bins, I could hold a lot more inventory and utilize more garage space without tripping over merchandise.

"Grant winners receive one-on-one help from a growth advisor." – Katie Murray, eBay seller

Her advice for sellers

I definitely recommend applying for the Up & Running Grant. You can't win if you don't apply. And even if you've applied before, this could be your year!

If you do win the grant, definitely utilize the opportunities offered to you by the Up & Running program. Winners receive one-on-one advice from an eBay Growth Advisor. Be sure to work with them; they can examine your store and your data and show you your biggest opportunities for growth. Fine-tuning your listings can make a big difference in sales.

Also, don't spend all of the grant money up front. Having a safety net for your business is so important because sales go up and down.

A newfound confidence through the highs and lows

Winning the grant has inspired me to keep pushing forward and growing my business. Because I won the grant, I have confidence. I believe in myself, and I know others believe in me. The grant has been a safety net on the good days and on the bad days. I'm gonna keep listing. I'm gonna keep sourcing. Because I know my business will grow over time.