Today’s story is part of the eBay Thanks You campaign, profiling members of the large (and growing!) eBay community.
We have over 105,000,000 stories and counting – that’s how large the eBay community has grown, and with each member comes an inspiring story.
To show our appreciation, we will be featuring some of our members’ experiences and stories here on the eBay stories blog, posts that demonstrate what makes eBay such a unique place. We couldn’t do it without you!
In the next few weeks, you’ll find more stories here on eBay stories, and take a look at the eBay YouTube channel for some video stories.
And now, in his own words, here is Michael Malouf:
In the mid-1990s, I was a buyer for a major national rock n’ roll memorabilia print catalog. It was the first time working for someone else, as I had been self-employed most of my life, but I could not pass up the opportunity to work with artist/merchandise management for the likes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and KISS, among many other national artists.
After several years, I was yearning to work for myself again. I was also going through a divorce, and my then 12-year-old daughter was living with me, so I wanted to find a way to make a living on my own terms. I had had two brick and mortar Japanese toy stores, importing toys from Japan that no one in the States had ever seen before. This pre-dated the Transformers toys craze. I was also very active in coaching and in all of my daughter’s other school activities and did not want to give that up. So, my next profession had to be something that did not tie me down to a set schedule, and something that I would not need a large storage space for inventory. A friend of mine, who was an inveterate collector, told me he had bought some items inexpensively at a flea market and did quite well posting them on eBay. This was 1998, I believe. I’m talking dial-up internet connections. EBay wasn’t really the venue to maintain a full-time business. At that time, it was a cool place to sell some collectibles now and then. The idea of making a living on eBay had not occurred to me yet.
I started slowly, becoming an eBay member in February 1999. I began to source music memorabilia discovered in places around the world, posting them on eBay a little at a time while I was looking for other entrepreneurial opportunities. Well, the sales seemed to grow and grow, and began to take up more of my time. So I began paying more attention to what and how to establish a full-time business, and kept sourcing more memorabilia. Within a year, it was a full-time business! I currently have around 10,000 items in my website store, about 3,700 of which are currently featured on eBay.
What eBay did for me is allow me to express my entrepreneurial spirit in an online business, which allowed me a flexible schedule, freed me up from having to work for someone else, or to have a brick and mortar store with all its encumbrances. Most of all, however, doing business on eBay allowed me to participate in my daughter’s life in a substantial way. We all know how fast children grow up. She is now a young teacher, working with 2-year-old’s in Salt Lake City, so I am eternally grateful to eBay for allowing me the joy and closeness I got to experience with my daughter while she still lived at home.
EBay has also enriched my personal friendships, with the ability to socialize in a more meaningful way with friends and family. I will also add that being chosen to participate in the eBay Voices program has expanded my world in seeing the greater potential of eBay to change lives, and the added networking with other Voices members and the Voices program has increased my abilities to do business exponentially again. I have made many new friends through eBay, which all the more speaks to the company being more than a business enterprise, but a social one!
What does eBay mean to you?
eBay means freedom, personal empowerment and control over my own life. EBay is not merely about selling things, it’s about being able to create a life and prioritize one’s personal relationships and work in the a healthier way. It’s about creating a new frontier for lifestyles.
You can see all the video stories of the eBay Thanks You campaign here. Also, we’ll be featuring more of people’s singular experiences on the eBay Stories blog over the course of the next few weeks, each tagged with “eBay Thanks You.” If you want to see all the written stories to date, just click here.
To celebrate this new feature and recognize the contributions of our eBay community, we’ll be offering great deals and prizes for the rest of the month, plus the opportunity to pay it forward by helping us support one of three charities. Take a look here for all the details, or click on the banner, below.
And thank you for being part of the eBay community!