About 13 years ago, the founder of eDrop-Off Corri McFadden was in her last year of college when she had an ingenious idea for her senior project: an eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) store for gently-used luxury goods. Since then, McFadden has grown her business to a multi-million dollar company with 37 employees.
So how did she do it?
Her eBay Success Story
From the beginning, McFadden had a business plan that was solid enough to convince Chase Bank to give her a line of credit that she would partly use to rent a 600-square-foot store in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.
Far from the Balenciaga bags and Burberry coats that she sells today, McFadden’s first box of inventory consisted of fly fishing equipment, Beanie Babies and roller blades, but as her clientele grew she realized that she would make much more selling designer clothing and so she shifted her attention to ladies with superfluous high-end fashion.
She also rebranded her business to cater to women who found the consignment concept unappealing. Since 2006, EDrop-Off has been offering “closet consultations.” A staff member will go to customers’ homes and help them with wardrobe arrangements and offer quotes for items that they would like to sell. eDrop-Off then sells the discarded items on behalf of the customer.
Today, eDrop-Off sells about 1,500 items every week, charging 40 percent commission off the selling price for each item. About 20 percent of McFadden’s listings are available for immediate purchase using eBay’s ‘Buy It Now’ option and the rest (80 percent) of her listings are available through auctions.
Two lessons potential eBay entrepreneurs can take from McFadden’s experience are these. First, it is important to create your own niche and own it. Second, eBay businesses can be much more than just a source of extra money gathered from selling stuff in your attic.