Charitable Business CHARITABLE BUSINESS WINNER

LAURALEE LINDHOLM

heartforethiopia

10 YEARS SELLING ON EBAY

Here's my eBay small business success story

They say it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of Heart for Ethiopia, it takes a dedicated team of volunteers—and the eBay marketplace—to raise the funds that are helping young children attend school and entrepreneurs start their own businesses in rural Ethiopia. Some volunteers collect and sort donations, others list and sell on eBay, and still others package and ship orders out. Together, they’re netting more than $1,000 a week for the programs and projects Heart for Ethiopia supports. Owner Lauralee Lindholm says it’s eBay’s easy-to-navigate platform and the inexpensive access it offers to a global resale market that makes it all possible.

Why do you deserve this award? Our business, Heart for Ethiopia, benefits everybody. The person who donates something feels good. The volunteers in the bookstore know they are doing something worthwhile. The people who buy something are glad their money is going to a good cause. The children in our kindergartens and the adults in literacy classes in Ethiopia are thankful that we have made education available to them.

Share a fun fact about yourself/your business. We live in a library: the bookstore is in our house with windows looking out onto a beautiful yard. Volunteers come every day and we all have fun while we work.

How has selling on eBay contributed to your success? Our success is almost entirely attributed to eBay. Revenue from sales of donated books and magazines has grown to about $1,000 a week.

What is your proudest selling moment on eBay? When we can help a buyer find the thing they have been searching for: a picture of their mom working in a war plant, their baby's photo on a cover, a family sports champion, or a famous autograph.

What advice would you give to other sellers? Be prompt about answering emails and shipping. Be honest about your product and give your buyer a very clear picture of exactly what they will be getting.