We are an eBay Family
By: Scott Henshaw
It was the summer of 2002, and like so many, I had caught the eBay bug. I had begun selling in the late 90s as a hobby, but after realizing the limitless potential, it had become my main source of income: my career. It was a career that had propelled me to an exciting milestone earlier than I had anticipated, the purchase of my first home. Naturally, I turned to eBay as I set out to furnish and decorate my new abode, and the first item on my list was curtains. I wanted my home to be unique, smart, and warm. I wanted it to be a reflection of myself. I pondered this for a moment, then typed, “vintage fabric” in the search box.
I scrolled through page after page of floral prints, calico weaves, and bold plaids, intrigued, but not finding quite what I was after. Then, from the bottom of my screen, up came exactly what I wanted, a blue vintage print. Initially it was the shirt she was selling that caught my eye. An unusual short sleeved button down with images of vintage portraits on it. Obviously this girl was not only beautiful, she knew how to sell! I placed my bid and won the auction. Shortly after, I wrote a quick note asking if I could pay for and pick the shirt up in person since the zip code listed for the seller was right down the road from me. In her reply, she apologetically explained that a U.S. zip code was required to open her eBay account and that she had chosen the one listed on her profile at random. She actually lived in the Philippines. Her story seemed feasible, so I asked if we could speak on the phone to work it out.
She sent me her contact information the next day, and I laughed at myself for feeling slightly nervous dialing the number. We spoke about the shirt, and the Philippines, and a bit about ourselves; me mesmerized the entire time by her accent and charmingly curious use of the English vernacular. I agreed to wire her the payment via Western Union and told her I would call the next day with more information. Over the course of the next week I called her everyday under the guise of working out payment and shipping plans, until one day there was nothing left to say about the shirt. She had received my payment, and I had received the item, and we were both happy with the transaction. I found myself reluctant to hang up as what was sure to be our last phone call was nearing an end, but I didn’t know what to say. Then she said it, “will you call me tomorrow?”
For close to a year we spoke on the phone almost everyday, sometimes for hours at a time. We learned everything about each other, shared our life stories, our dreams, our passions, and our eBay ups and downs. The next step was inevitable, we had to meet each other, so I bought a plane ticket to the Philippines. Upon seeing each other in person the feelings we had nurtured over the phone were solidified and magnified. By the end of my short stay we were engaged, and after some hoop jumping and paper filing to please the bureaucracy of our countries we were married and happily settled down in Seattle, Washington.
But that’s not the end of our story! Several years passed, we celebrated the birth of our beautiful son, and successfully pursued careers outside of the exciting world of online auctions. Then, in 2009, on the same day, Nanette and I both became yet more victims of the dastardly economic meltdown. We were laid off from our jobs. After a brief bought of self pity and panic, we sat down to ruminate on our options. We had a mortgage, a child, bills. We needed money, but we knew job hunting would prove fruitless. Everyone in Seattle was looking for work, and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Then Nanette, in a flash of genius, mouthed that magic word, “eBay.” Recounting to me our love story, she made the spectacular revelation that we had provided for ourselves back then through online auctioning, why not now?
Why not now? I couldn’t think of a reason. It was a great idea, and frankly the only idea we had at the time. We found a local storage auction, purchased a pallet of office telephones for $5, put them up on eBay, and within the week had turned a profit of roughly $900. It had worked, Nanettestore was up and running. But eBay had changed. There was so much more than before, so many great options, and partners, and opportunities. As we grew our business and built our eBay presence, we became more and more interested in and involved with the inner workings, eventually becoming trading assistants and Education Specialists trained by eBay. We began to meet other successful eBay entrepreneurs. Cindy Sorely, eBay user Bubbacandance, in all of her warmth and kindness, reached out to us through Facebook and invited us to join other eBay communities where we were made aware of, and invited to eBay industry get-togethers like the Las Vegas eBay On Location event and the eBay Radio Party.
Over the years, through many online endeavors I have found love, created successful careers, gained invaluable experience and knowledge, and made lasting friendships and business relations. I am continually amazed by the vastness and diversity of eBay’s reach both online and in the material world, and I am eternally grateful and delighted to be a part of such a wonderful community.