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.
In the case of eBay store QC Consigns, a thriving business was born from an ultimatum. Seven years ago, Carlo Lawrence turned to his wife, Quovardis, and said, “If you don’t get rid of the things we don’t use around here, I’m going to throw them all out,” she recalls with a laugh. The couple was downsizing into a condo from a much-bigger home in Florida at the time, and so turned to the eBay marketplace to sell unused household items. “That began our journey,” Quovardis said of the pair’s venture into online selling and entrepreneurship.
Within a week of starting to sell on eBay in early 2013, the Lawrences had already earned over a thousand dollars in sales, as they prepped and readied their extra items around their home for the online marketplace. The first sale the couple made on eBay was an unopened game their son hadn’t used. As their business grew, Quovardis said she remembers searching throughout their home, scouring for items that could be potentially sold on the marketplace.
“I sold any and everything that was not nailed down; the kids’ Wii games, Barbie dolls, cameras — you name it, I was selling it,” she said. Then “a few months into it, we looked at the numbers and our total was over $8,000,” Carlo said. “That’s when it became real for us.”
Knowing that other couples struggled with excess in their home and shared the Lawrence’s desire to downsize and become more minimalist by design, they opened QC Consigns on eBay as an actual store. “We realized that other people need the same thing we did, and they want people to come in and help them clear things out and clean things up as a way for them to earn extra income.”
“I love [selling on eBay], because it’s sustainable shopping,” Quovardis said. “I always say, ‘If someone bought it the first time, somebody will definitely buy it again.'”
Quovardis and Carlo Lawrence started their online business seven years ago, growing it into a thriving store in selling pre-owned quality goods.
Now based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the couple’s online store offerings run the full gamut of household items as a result. “We’ve sold everything from lightbulbs and toasters to electronics and even a $26,000 diamond ring,” Quovardis said. “Our customer has always been the everyday Joe and Jane, anybody who wanted to save a dollar and get a great quality item at a price point that they could afford.” Realizing that such a diverse range of products suited their customer audience, they’ve become adept at selling nearly any item on the marketplace; their store’s initials, QC Consigns, stand for where “quality and customer service meet.” “We’ve done a lot of research and homework, because you can’t sell things and not know about it, and we wanted to be jack of all trades,” Quovardis said.
The couple’s trademark? Care and presentation. “Good packaging makes such a difference,” Carlo said. “It makes sales feel new and fresh for the customer.” Every sale is elegantly hand-wrapped, and handwritten thank you cards are added to each package, tailored to the customer. Buyers appreciate those little touches in a big way. Quovardis remembers one woman, who was delighted at the deal she found on a pair of designer shoes. “She was so excited because she had been looking for these shoes all over the place,” she said. “But when she finally got her shoes, the letter she wrote us had more to do with how it was all packaged! And I just thought that was so awesome.”
Their shared sense of good humor, camaraderie and tenacity has served the couple over the years in growing their QC Consigns store into a thriving, resale goods business on eBay. Selling online also has enabled the Lawrences to become their own bosses and coworkers, where every day they trade inside jokes while keeping their business up and running. It’s also allowed them to spend more time together as a family, with their daughter also helping out with taking and editing photographs of inventory. “eBay was there when we needed eBay,” Quovardis said. “It gave us an opportunity to realize there was so much more to what we could do for our family and ourselves.”
Quovardis and Carlo, who have been together for 30 years, run their QC Consigns business out of their Charlotte, North Carolina, home. The secret to their store’s success? “Playing to each other’s strengths,” Quovardis said.
The recipe to their success as business partners is grounded in “playing to each other’s strengths,” Quovardis said. The couple divides and conquers in running their business, with Carlo leading inventory management and maintenance, and Quovardis taking the helm with customer acquisition and communications.
“We've learned to stay in our own lanes and really support one another and love each other,” Quovardis said, of the couple’s 30 years together. “That's what's the recipe for our marriage. And we brought that to the business.”
From seven in the morning well into the evening, Quovardis and Carlo work together to manage multiple aspects of their business, from shipping to listing to product photography. “Our motto is if you purchase it and pay for it before noon, we can get your stuff shipped out the same day,” Quovardis said. Within the past few years, the Lawrences decided to run their business full-time. Carlo has been full-time with QC Consigns for the last three years, and Quovardis said she went full-time in March of this year, after losing her corporate job in the garment industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Growing it is now mine and Carlo’s main focus,” she said.
Quovardis filming her weekly livestream called, “Wine Down Friday,” where she showcases her store’s inventory to help attract buyers.
Some of the inventory sold on Quovardis and Carlo’s store.
Their natural ebullience and enthusiasm for each other and for their business extends into their recreation time in developing a marketing strategy to attract buyers. Every Friday at 12 in the afternoon, they air a 30-60-minute segment in which they air on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, showcasing inventory from their store in an event they call Wine Down Friday, which involves a glass of wine and a whole lot of fun. Future plans include a YouTube series, called “How To with Q from QC Consigns” in which they intend to help others learn to sell on eBay, sharing their own experience and tips, as well as a newsletter blog planned for December, called “The QC Life”.
This media presence is a natural evolution from the connections the couple have continuously found through their store. The couple had started their own ecommerce site but turned more heavily into the marketplace, as a way to broaden their customer base. And, as an added advantage: “It’s broadened our circle of friends,” Carlo said.
Now, especially during this year’s global COVID-19 pandemic, their eBay marketplace has served a beacon of light — both for themselves, and for the community. As people have lost jobs through the pandemic, the Lawerences have received shipments of boxes upon boxes of items that others are hoping QC Consigns can sell to supplement incomes. “We've been a small refuge for quite a few people that have lost their jobs,” Quovardis said. “I am so happy and feel so blessed to have that opportunity to give back to the community in that way.”
As for their overall feelings about eBay, their energy has only grown over the years. “I am absolutely loving every single minute of it. And I swear if there was a ticker that gave how many hours per day someone stays on eBay, mine would be through the roof,” Quovardis said. “It’s flexibility and freedom of choice.”
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.