This National Small Business Week, and every week, we are proud to support the owners of small businesses who use our platform to reach for their dreams. Enabling businesses to access economic opportunity on a global scale sits at the core of our mission at eBay. Every day, we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of entrepreneurs everywhere by providing specialized resources, tools and programs to help them flourish in ecommerce.
Over the past year, we invested more than $100 million in small businesses through global programs like Up & Running and established a new grants program, awarding $500,000 in grants to select sellers to help them sustain their future. We also launched a new virtual learning platform, Seller School, which offers on-demand lessons, tools and videos for new and seasoned sellers looking to build or scale their online businesses.
Inclusive entrepreneurship sits at the very heart of our founding purpose, and recently, we invested $25 million in the Clear Vision Impact Fund by Siebert Williams Shank & Co. The fund will provide access to financial loans and aid minority-owned small businesses that are based in or serve underserved communities. Partnerships like these allow us to amplify the critical work being done by organizations to lift up underrepresented communities.
Our success as a global marketplace is fueled by the passionate, driven and unique sellers that make their livelihoods on our platform. Below are four small business sellers and Up & Running Grants recipients whose stories capture the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of our global seller community emerging from a challenging year.
Turning a Love for Fashion into a Flourishing Ecommerce Business
Yinka Ogunsunlade’s earliest memory of eBay dates back to his high school years selling secondhand items on the ecommerce platform. Delighted by his early profits, Yinka started selling his surplus of sneakers online for supplemental income throughout law school and his adult years.
Today, Yinka manages a thriving ecommerce business selling shoes and clothing through his eBay store, fashionablylegal. As a full-time attorney during the day, Yinka dedicates his free time to running his eBay sneaker business, sourcing inventory from local stores and reselling for profit online. “The front door will sometimes be stacked to the ceiling with boxes of shoes I’ve purchased,” he laughed. “I’ve really seen that through eBay, the more effort and time I put into sourcing, and the more items that I list, the bigger my return is going to be.”
His work ethic, combined with his ability to pivot and adapt, ultimately prepared him for the turbulence brought on by the global pandemic. When demand for business clothing waned as people began working remotely, Yinka promptly expanded his inventory to include fitness attire and equipment to meet the changing needs of his customers. Sourcing inventory also became increasingly difficult during the shutdown, and he plans to use his eBay grant to address the issue.
Paying it Forward Through Customer Service
Sarah built her business and eBay store, alliswellperiod, from the ground up following a serious illness. Running her eBay business from her bedroom, Sarah started with an initial investment of only $300 and eventually began selling her personal items online to climb out of debt and provide for her son.
Today, her thriving ecommerce business is geared toward offering free healing services — such as energy work, guidance and tips — as well as metaphysical healing items, including crystals and stones. Her goal is to give back what others have done for her on her own difficult journey. “I want to help people find their true power again within themselves,” she said. “My business is a true community full of love.”
When the pandemic disrupted her supply chain, her business inevitably took a hit, and Sarah is relying on the eBay grant to keep her business afloat in the near term. With hope on the horizon, Sarah continues to derive her passion from her daily work communicating with customers who are experiencing hardship and providing them with the tools and resources to get back on their feet. “I want to show other people — especially single mothers who have the odds stacked against them — that they can survive,” she said. “No matter what happens to them and what others do, they can come back stronger than before, and they can do it all by themselves and create something amazing out of nothing — as long as they believe in themselves.”
Simplifying Homebrewing as a Lifelong Inventor
eBay seller Trong Nguyen has dedicated his life to testing and learning, providing him deep insight to customer needs and behavior along the way. A former research scientist turned professional French baker, Trong is spending his retirement as an inventor whose homebrew tools have revolutionized how people around the world make beer. And his gadgets are sold exclusively on eBay.
Trong’s problem-solving skills paired with his methodical approach to business have fueled his success in his latest line of work. ”eBay has catered to people who were making and doing things — the makers,” he said. “There’s some sense of discovery, only on eBay.”
Based in his Sacramento, California home, Trong’s business Homebrewer LAB specializes in homebrewing tools, renowned among the global brewing community. Ranging from Swiss army spunding valves to floating dip tools, his inventions aim to solve customer problems around the beer fermenting process. Trong draws his inspiration from people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who “had a vision of a product that they built from scratch, and made it into a big thing,” he said.
Promoting Health and Wellness Through Herbal Remedies
Sandra Gustard grew a passion for herbal medicine following a car accident in her early adult years. When she discovered the healing properties of castor oil and pimento leaves, Sandra began sourcing these materials on her own to create pain relief remedies for herself. When her friends raved about their own results using her products, a business was born.
Today, Sandra’s thriving eBay business, fountainpimentooil, offers everything from herbal pain relief to natural skin and hair care products — all made from clean, organic ingredients. Her primary ingredients range from pimento and fever grass to peppermint leaves and pimento berries, which she stores in cooling freezers throughout her basement.
For Sandra, her goal is to provide her customers with quality products that leave them feeling rejuvenated and their skin replenished. “I know that the best way to sell something to somebody is to use it yourself to show what it’s done for you,” she said. “That is the best way to convey your message. It’s my superpower. Because the proof is always in the pudding.”
When the pandemic forced her to discontinue selling at in-person events and festivals, Sandra relied on her eBay business and website to make up the sales. Sandra now plans to use the grant money to expand her product line and build a full team of employees in the near future.
Head to ebay.com/smallbusiness to find out more about starting or growing your own eBay business.