Last week, we held our annual seller celebration, eBay Open, in Las Vegas. We gathered over 1,500 eBay sellers from across the country to talk about where we are heading as a company – and more importantly, what it takes to successfully build and expand a business on eBay.
Our seller community, made up of millions of entrepreneurs, is what makes eBay the most unique marketplace in the world. This was evident in our SHINE Awards for Small Business program, where we received over 2,400 submissions from sellers across the U.S. I was extremely inspired reading through the submissions. Whether it was a single mom turning to eBay to create a business that would support her family, or an immigrant from Colombia pursuing the American Dream, or a brick and mortar store in rural Vermont going online to expand their business globally, these people are eBay’s heart and soul, representing what we’re all about as a company.
That’s what makes me so proud to announce our 2017 SHINE Awards for Small Business winners.
Whittling so many submissions down to just 15 finalists in five categories wasn’t easy. And then, we turned to the eBay community for an even tougher job – picking just one winner in each category. Our finalists turned to their friends, families, communities, and even their eBay customers to spread the word about why they deserved to win. Their call was answered – in just a few short weeks, we received nearly 30,000 votes.
While the community was voting, we selected our 2017 Small Business of the Year from among our 15 fantastic finalists. It was a privilege to serve on the judging panel alongside Brent Bellm, CEO of BigCommerce; Anita Campbell, Founder of Small Business Trends; John Henry, host of the eBay Open for Business podcast; and last but certainly not least, Laurie Wong, Owner, Reflections of Trinity and our 2016 Small Business of the Year.
My esteemed judges and I had the great pleasure of honoring our 2017 Small Business of the Year Award to Angie Cardona-Nelson.
Angie owns eWaste Direct, an eco-friendly business that recycles and refurbishes used electronics. In the past nine years, her company has diverted over seven million pounds of e-waste from landfills and has gone from a revenue ratio of 80% recycling to over 80% resale today. In addition to having an incredible personal story, Angie and her husband built their business on a principle we strongly believe in – giving products the chance to have many lives and benefit many people.
We are also proud to recognize our category winners selected by community voting. Our congratulations go to:
Rising Star: Katy Zilverberg, A Boutique for Him.
Katy left her traditional 9-to-5 job to pursue a career in small business consulting. It wasn't long before she realized selling on eBay was her true calling – and she went all in, growing her sales at a staggering rate. Specializing in men’s clothing, A Boutique for Him is Katy’s full-time job.
(We asked Katy what winning this award means to her.)
Global Business: Denise Martell, Al's Snowmobile Parts Warehouse.
As the owner of a snowmobile business based in rural Vermont, Denise was looking for a way to expand and source additional off-season cashflow. She started selling on eBay – and never looked back. Today, Denise exports between 30-40% of her products to countries all over the world.
Minority or Woman-Owned Business: Melissa Crook, Sticky Fingers Vinyl.
A single mother with four children, Melissa knew she needed a way to support her family. She found a niche in the online craft market and now has a thriving business selling vinyl decals and stickers to crafting professionals. Sticky Fingers soon expanded to a 11,000+ sq. ft. warehouse with six employees.
Charitable Business: Nancy Meyer, Community Forklift.
Nancy founded Community Forklift to "lift up the community" by recycling and reselling unwanted and salvaged building materials throughout the metro DC region. To raise even more funds, the organization leverages our eBay for Charity program. Since 2011, Community Forklift has also provided $250,000 worth of materials to neighbors in need.
Young Entrepreneur: Ciara Brown, The Diamond Hanger.
With an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for finding that “diamond in the rough,” Ciara created a flourishing clothing business out of her college dorm room. She balances selling with studying full time and competing as a Division I athlete.
We encourage you to learn more about our inspiring class of 2017 winners. Please join us in congratulating each of our winners and finalists. And, we look forward to reading even more shining examples of our eBay community during next year’s SHINE Awards!
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