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2019 eBay for Business Award Winners
Last night, eleven small and medium-sized businesses from across the UK were crowned winners at the 2019 eBay for Business Award ceremony at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. The awards recognise and celebrate the most inspiring sellers among eBay UK’s community of 300,000 small and medium-sized businesses.
“Both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs, so I fully appreciate the hard work and determination that goes into making a small business a success. It takes someone who’s not afraid of risk, who is open to innovate and who is prepared to challenge the way things have previously been done.
The eBay for Business awards showcased these three skills in masses. I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to meet and celebrate the very best and brightest ofthe small British businesses selling on our platform. It’s been inspiring to hear each of their unique stories and I feel privileged to celebrate with them.”
– Rob Hattrell, Vice President, eBay UK
Special guest and former Dragon from BBC series Dragon’s Den Jenny Campbell, who was also in attendance to compere the awards, offered her advice as a serial entrepreneur to the eleven SMEs.
“I have no doubt that all eleven of tonight’s award winners will be the bright sparks of British business for years to come. Each and every eBay entrepreneur has shown bags of resilience, determination and creativity – the makings of a true gamechanger. Their future is certainly bright and I can’t wait to see how their businesses grow and what they’ll do next!”
– Jenny Campbell
2019 eBay for Business Award Winners
The Innovation Award
I really loved this business, Editors Keys as it’s a genuine example of spotting a gap in the market and then creating and manufacturing a product to fit the need. Mark Brown couldn’t justify the high cost of an editing keyboard for video production, so he created an overlay for a Mac or PC keyboard that would transform it into a much more expensive bit of kit.
Having ordered 100 units of his £8.99 product and keeping the one he wanted for himself, he listed the rest on eBay and was astounded when they sold out within a day. His initial £100 investment turned into a business expecting to turn over £750,000 this year!
The Sustainability Seller Award
Sean and Liam Sheahan had left their jobs to go travelling when their father died and suddenly needed a new venture in life. With some used clothes they opened an eBay store and started trading full time in sourcing trending used fashion from all over the world. Fashion often viewed as an environmental disaster with clothes often consigned to landfill, but with a focus on recycling fashion and putting used items back into the market Sheanies Vintage aims to satisfy fashionistas who have an eco-conscience
Having cut their teeth on eBay, they’ve opened a physical store in Selly Oak and their story is one that will resonate with many Tamebay readers who source used goods to resell.
The ‘Be Your Own Boss Seller’ Award
Victoria needed a job that she could do from home, but when wondering if it could replace maternity pay, little did she expect to suddenly turn over £8,000 a single month. Having qualified as a wedding planner and most obviously a lover of art, she started to design wedding invitations in mid 2012. With her own unique style (which apparently her husband wasn’t always particularly impressed with) her eBay business literally exploded in January 2013 and she hasn’t looked back since.
Today the Pegs and Pearls range has expanded to a whole range of invitations from birthdays, party invites and thank you cards (and yes you can get a matching set) and Victoria still draws on her love of art with the latest trends and styles for her new designs.
The Large Seller of the Year Award
For many on eBay the light bulb moment comes when they sell something on eBay and realise “I could sell more of this”. That’s what happened to a then 21 year old Andrew who helped a friend flog some refurbished kitchen items on eBay and started selling refund and graded products. Now after 10 years he’s not only selling brand new kit but he’s created his own range which is manufactured under the Cookology brand.
Today the business is massive selling everything from Cooker Hoods to Wine Coolers and Ovens to Dishwashers, all under the Cookology brand and is on track to turnover more than £14 million this year alone.
Charity of the Year Award
The Local Aid Charity that won this year’s award is multi-faceted Local Aid Wales. With the aim to support young people with special needs, the charity offers 12 week placements where pupils get involved with all aspects of running the shop and eBay business. Doing everything from upcycling donations ready for sale to serving in the shop and handling cash and of course selecting items they believe will sell well on eBay and listing them on the marketplace.
Not only does this make a difference to pupils lives giving them real world experience, but they learn how to run an eBay business and at the same time raise funds to support the charity. Some have even gone on to stay full time with the Charity and now help new pupils learn and develop.
The Green Shoots Seller Award
Adam has a sone, parents and and older brother to care for and that precludes the possibility of a full time job. Selling some of his own collection of Star Wars Figures on eBay, when he saw the sales starting to come in he scoured local charity shops for other figures to add to his inventory and started to build a business.
Today he’s added a range of popular brands and franchises as well as creating his own product – a Star Wars Poster doubling up as an Action Figures checklist for avid collectors.
Adam was chosen by his peers and award attendees as the 2019 eBay for Business Award Grand Prize Winner.
The eBay Bright Future Award
Jaali didn’t have a great start to adulthood. Having been kicked out of school, abused drugs and hospitalised multiple times he reached the depths of depression before, knowing he needed to change his like, he reached out to his father. His father had a trade of selling antiques and jewellery on eBay and Jaali started to learn the craft of selling on eBay until in March 2019 he set up his own eBay business as Gates Enterpises.
Over time Jaali built his way back to a fulfilling life and achieved what many of us take for granted, started to pay for his own food, pay for his own mobile contract and now has his own flat. Jaali is an inspiration to anyone, it’s arguable that he started with less than nothing. As he said himself at the awards, with his history no employer was going to consider him as a top pick but eBay doesn’t discriminate and the ability to build a business is open to everyone who wants a bright future and is willing to work.
The Retail Revival Seller Award
Starting out selling at markets and fairs and then opening her own shop, Jeanette didn’t hesitate to sign up when eBay launched the UK’s first Retail Revival in the City of Wolverhampton. Opening an eBay shop was a no brainer as competition on the high street increased and the Retail Revival programme had just such businesses in mind to help them sell to the entire world rather than rely on local footfall on the high street.
Since signing up, Jeanette’s Just Because business has seen 40% sales growth over the past year and Jeanette thanked eBay’s Bert Basset and Tamebay contributor Jane Bell for their guidance and support.
The Specialist Seller Award
Facing the closure of the family shop after 30 years of running a small plant nursery, Shaun turned to eBay and discovered that yes you can sell plants on the marketplace. Along with his wife Karina they sold their first plant and then realised they didn’t have a clue how to package it for shipping.
Fast forward and now far from the then imminent danger of becoming homeless, Direct Plants have now taken on ten employees to handle up to 500 orders a day and grown the business to five acres and at the same time are secure in the family farm house.
In 2019 the business will turn over £1.5 million with almost three quarters of sales going through their eBay store.
The Family Business Award
Every one that sells on eBay will be familiar with the dreaded return, but for bothers Michael and Chris of Genuine Parts UK (NI) it was their very first sale that came winging it’s way back for a refund. Not an auspicious start, but it didn’t deter them from selling the rest of their first job lot of car parts (bought and then resold on eBay) and they wen out to local car manufacturers building relationships and were soon inundated with offers of stock to buy.
Having worked part time in the evenings packing on their parents dining room table, they move to renting an office and storage facility and have now grown the business so much they’re about to move to an even bigger facility. Shipping globally, this family business now has a turnover in excess of £100,000.
The Prince’s Trust Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Jake Harris both thanked and apologised to his girl friend for being a typical young entrepreneur and working every hour of the day and night on his business. Into Music not only sources, refurbishes and sells quality music equipment on eBay, but also teaches students how to play.
The business all came about from Jake’s student days when he couldn’t afford brand new instruments so shopped on eBay to purchase more affordable used items. Spending his college weekends hunting at car boots for instruments to reoar and refurb, he started to generate profits while learning his way in the business world.
What started as a hobby now sources stock from all over the UK and is on course to turn over a quarter of a million pounds in his second year of trading on eBay.
Interesting to note that eBay is still trying to shout about it’s small business successes when it’s pushed small businesses to the point of extinction in its misguided pursuit of mimicking Amazon.
Still, great exposure for these guys who win the awards. Perhaps we’ll have to apply next year.
You should apply, it really is so worthwhile