How I learned about e-commerce: Growing up with eBay and Beanie Babies

Thanks to my sister Stacey, who's Christmas gift (a valuable Beanie Baby) led me to learn about "supply and demand", I started selling toys on eBay at the age of 12. This was during the well-known (and seemingly bizarre) toy frenzies of Beanie Babies, Furby and Tickle Me Elmo. The excitement of others definitely made it an interesting time to start selling online!

Unfortunately, at age 15 I abruptly stopped selling on eBay. This was primarily an emotional decision (I was a teenager after all), driven by an alleged copyright infringement relating to one of my listings (15-year-olds don't deal with stress well, especially when their eBay account is in their father's name!). But, I also started working part-time retail jobs that appeared to be more lucrative and quickly forgot about the joy of selling on eBay.

When I was 17-years-old, long before Amazon expanded beyond books, I decided to try again with eBay. This time I sold niche computer hardware and electronics, sourced from a few wholesalers who were willing to work with me. I quickly built a small business that followed me through college, but I never turned it into anything more than what people now call "a side hustle".

Soon, Paypal took off as the primary method of payment on eBay, but without any seller protections in place (I know, it's scary to think about how little we knew about online fraud back then). Before the age of 20, I grew tired of being defrauded by ill-intentioned buyers and their constant scam tactics, so I decided to stop selling on eBay once again. I found more part-time retail work ... and started a short-lived career in video production with a local company (ask me how many wedding videos I shot and edited).

Only a few years after graduating from Niagara College in film studies, I once again gravitated toward eBay. This time I started an online store to accompany my eBay sales, thinking that I could drive more interest in my items through various online marketing channels. I found a whitespace in the online marketplace and focused on selling Canadiana, including bottled maple syrup, small hand-made statues and locally-sourced skin care products (a far cry from film production).

Within a year, my attention and effort quickly wavered as I questioned if the people closest to me would perceive my online store as a legitimate career for an adult. And before long, with the help of Georgian College (and later Ryerson University), I pursued a career in research, analytics and data science ... a corporate career that I knew others would be proud of. 

My career in #research, #analytics and #datascience lasted me just over a decade. It was an amazing whirlwind of opportunities, where I had the privilege to work with and learn from some of the brightest business minds in Canada. I couldn't be more thankful to everyone who helped me along the way (I hope you all know who you are). However, I always knew that one day I would need to escape the corporate ladder and run my own company.

From my earliest memories, it's always been a dream of mine to run my own successful toy retail business. Toys have always had a special place in my heart (remember when I was 12-years-old?). Then, six months ago, I decided to start ... with something simple. First building out from a Shopify store, utilizing the pre-built sales channels of eBay and Amazon. The plan is to slowly build my e-commerce business into something I can truly be proud of, bring good people along with me when the timing is right, and eventually build and share an e-commerce platform that was purpose-built just for toys.

Today on October 1, 2020, I #celebrate a small success, as Goodfind Toys will be going into it's 6th month of successful operation, with nearly 500 orders fulfilled to people across the world who were just looking for that special toy to add to their collection.