Colombian born Angie Cardona-Nelson came to the US as an au pair in pursuit of the “American Dream.” Years later, a chance visit to an auction with her husband set her on the path to achieving it. At the auction, Angie and her husband purchased nearly 80% of a company’s electronic assets, and on Earth Day in April 2008, they started an electronics recycling company out of their garage. eWaste Direct now sells electronic equipment around the world and employs a staff of nearly a dozen. It also does good for the planet. In the past nine years, eWaste Direct has kept more than seven million pounds of electronic waste from landfills.
Out of 2,400 submissions and 15 finalists, Angie was selected as the winner of the 2017 SHINE Awards for Small Business. We caught up with her to find out what made her application stand out, what other sellers can learn from her success, and how her life has changed since her big win.
What inspired you to submit your story for the SHINE Awards?
The SHINE Awards are a great opportunity for eBay to showcase its diverse community of sellers. I was inspired to submit my story while I was in Washington, DC with 21 other dynamic eBay sellers making our voices heard regarding critical internet sales tax legislation. It was there I realized there was a platform to tell my story.
Why do you think you were selected as a finalist?
I thought my application—a minority woman with zero experience owning a business in the male-dominated electronics recycling industry—would stand out. We have been in business for over nine years, surviving recent declines in commodity pricing and thriving on eBay selling marketable used electronics. We thought this would set us apart, and we were right!
How did you campaign for votes during the public voting phase?
We started a campaign on our social media outlets. We would update them daily with fun facts and accomplishments. We reached out to groups and organizations that have promoted us previously and asked for them to spread the word for our support. I also had my family and friends in my home country of Colombia spreading the word about my story.
As a finalist, you received a VIP experience at eBay Open. What was your favorite part about being a SHINE finalist at eBay Open?
My favorite part was seeing my story on the big screen and the reaction from fellow sellers and the eBay executive team. It was the first time I got to step back and see what I have actually accomplished over the years. It fueled my passion to pave the way for other women and minorities to pursue their dreams.
Why would you recommend other sellers attend eBay Open?
Technology and trends are constantly changing and evolving, so I would highly recommend that all sellers attend eBay Open. The experts, vendors, staff, and other sellers help you stay fresh on all the things you need to do to be successful. They’ll tell you how to avoid many pitfalls that are out there, too.
What are you going to do with the prize money?
We plan on sharing some of the prize money with our staff to show our appreciation for their hard work and dedication. We are also going to use it for working capital and the purchase of a new company truck.
What eBay tool/tools do you make use of most and what benefits have you seen from utilizing these tools?
The tools that I use the most are eBay labels and Seller Hub. I use Seller Hub on a daily basis, because of the efficiency of automatization and the data that it has to offer. Also, all my items are listed with the eBay Global Shipping Program; since I started offering international shipping, my sales have grown about 10%. It took a load off my shoulders since I don’t have to worry about paperwork, customs fees, and international carriers. I also use the Markdown Manager twice a month. I plan to utilize Promotions Manager and promoted listings more. Today’s buyers do not want to pay full price for items; they want to feel that they are getting a deal.
What motivates you to keep selling on eBay?
eBay’s Fill Your Cart With Color marketing campaign is spreading the message that eBay will be where the world shops first. At eBay Open, eBay shared what the future looks like with new technology, tools, and artificial intelligence, and how it is shaping the 21st-century global retail market. This positions our mission to extend the life of electronics more than ever. We are very excited about the future, and eBay will allow us to grow our business, hire more employees, and promote our sustainable cause.
Listen to Angie on eBay radio here. And, save the date: eBay Open 2018 will take place July 24-28 and SHINE applications will open in Spring 2018.
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