115: eBay Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Ciara Brown

Ciara Brown is 22 years old and was recently nominated as eBay's Young Entrepreneur of the year. Her business is called The Diamond Hanger. They sell new, used and vintage designer clothing up to 70% off retail price. They have a 1,000 square foot soft warehouse located in San Diego, CA. She started her business almost 2 years ago and now has 2 employees. On eBay, The Diamond Hanger has performed thousands of successful transactions and they look forward to many, many more 🙂

Interesting Notes

Ciara is the eBay SHINE Awards Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

  • At a very young age, Ciara and her sister had to learn how to resell. Raised by a single mom, her mother taught her how to have a garage sale and do anything she can to make extra cash on the side.
  • Every time Ciara got home from college, her mom would often ask her to get rid some of her stuff by selling it online. She tried to list some used jeans on eBay and ended up making $20 more. On that same day, she took pictures using her laptop and listed everything in her closet on eBay. Since then, she got hooked!
  • She first started in her room that looked like a thrift store. She had brown boxes scattered all over the floor of her room. Everything is here and there, like how anybody would start. Then, she started to get plastic jars and started labeling them per brand. Later, she had bins stacked up on top of each other which fills all the walls of her bedroom.
  • She juggled her time as a full-time college student, a Volleyball player, and running her eBay store.
  • Last year, while finishing her degree at San Diego State, she also dedicated herself to her store. She started to realize the potential that she can have a full-time income doing eBay. That she can do better than a lot of people who are having a regular full-time job.
  • She disciplined herself to do research. Every day and every night, she did as much research as she could on every single item and every single brand. Now, she can look at a rack and know exactly what brand the dress is before she pulls it out.
  • Today, Ciara has a photo box that allows her to have a very good lighting. There is a light all the way around the inside of the box. She makes sure that every corner of the item is well lit to make it looks professional.
  • She uses a software that is hooked to her computer. It pre-crops the images for her.
  • She has 3 people listing at the same time. One person grabs the item. Another takes the picture of the price tag. The other one dresses the mannequin. When everything is ready, Ciara takes pictures with the software. The whole process only takes less than 2 minutes for each dress.
  • They would list a couple of hundred of new items a week. They only spend 2 days for that. Doing so has allowed her to have more time to source her items.
  • On the days that they are not listing, Ciara is out trying to find the best stuff she can find for the lowest price she can get.
  • She sources her items from California. She buys designer clothes from a lot of people. She makes sure that the items are in great condition.
  • There are people who contact her to sell their stuff. Some are coming to her warehouse to sell their items. A day before this interview, an old gorgeous lady came in bringing clothes. The old lady does not wear anymore the clothes and sells it to Ciara.
  • She started to do consignment. She branches out to different areas to source items. She thinks that it is important to her long term plans with the number of items she wants to bring every week.
  • Ciara sells everything in her store. She wants her store to grow. She thinks it is best to reinvest her money and that is what she does now.
  • She sees reselling as a valuable thing. She does not want to start her own brand. After going to the Magic Show, she thinks she is doing better. She noticed that a lot of the brand is doing well. Some of the eBay sellers are even reselling those designer brands.
  • She first had one employee before she got the warehouse. Then when she got the warehouse, she hired the second employee. Now, she has another one who helped them in their online presence and in keeping their inventory up to date.
  • Ciara used to work at their 3 car garage. She used her parking space for the set up of her backdrop and put her new clothes on the rack. She also had a 300 sq. ft. storage unit down the streets. When they are done with the pictures, they would drive down the streets. They were checking inventory out of the storage unit. The clothing racks were so tight together because everything is squeezed. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. Ciara would never trade those experiences for anything.
  • Today, Ciara runs her eBay store on a 1,000 square foot warehouse with 2 employees.
  • They have different clothing racks in their warehouse. There are labels of the brand at the end of each rack. They arrange the labels from A to Z alphabetical order. They hang the clothes according to the size and brands using colored hangers. Everyone knows exactly where everything is, all the time. They keep themselves organized because they don't want to cancel orders.
  • To find the items to ship, Ciara numbers the shipping list alphabetically. She labels the A brands as number 1, the B brands as number 2 and so on. These keep them going in random and less time going in circles.
  • She has a method for everything. She wants to cut down time because time is money. She wants to spend time shopping because she loves shopping.
  • Ciara finds it awesome and cool to see the evolution, from her bedroom to the garage to the storage unit to the warehouse. All her hard work showed during the eBay's Young Entrepreneur Award. She is grateful for it. It was 2 years of selling on eBay and it changed her life and how it helped the people around her.
  • She had an argument with herself about applying in the Shine Awards. They were driving up North for some inventory. Caught in a traffic on their way, Ciara she wrote her full story and submitted it.
  • Her jaw dropping moment happened a few days after she moved into her warehouse. She got a call from eBay saying that she was selected as a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur category. She cried in happiness.
  • Ciara had no idea what eBay community is about until she went to eBay Open. Everyone there is so genuine, so nice, and so willing to help each other. She had dinner with Devin Wenig, eBay's CEO. She described Devin as down to earth and so eager to hear her suggestions. She brought her sister with her, and eBay paid for their entire trip.
  • She made new friends at the eBay Open. Some groups in San Diego reached out to her for some eBay meet ups and gathering where they can help each other out.
  • The whole eBay Open was a fun and an awesome experience to Ciara.
  • Ciara realized that there is a shortage of dresses over the demand that eBay has. She thinks that eBay has a lot of customers that are looking for a lot of things. One only has to have as many as possible to keep up with the demands.
  • Ciara plans to maximize the use of her warehouse. She wants to fill it with items. She plans to get industrial clothing racks so that they can stack clothes up to two levels. She also wants to have a warehouse in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • But her ultimate goal is to spread all over the US.

Advice, Tips, and Tricks

  • Have a strategy in a way that you know where your stuff is all the time.
  • Put a system in place where other people are able to know where your stuff is. This way, when you need some help other people will know where to locate your items.
  • Take your time to research whatever it is that you love.
  • Find something that fits your niche, like products that you want to sell. Dedicate your time to researching everything there is to know about the product.
  • Stick to what you do and don't give up. Things can get tough. Don't give up on yourself.
  • Be disciplined and take the time to reinvest their money. Don't spend the money that you can make money with. In the long run, you can be very successful at anything.
  • Spend a little bit more time to source and find the best product. It depends on how much inventory you are bringing in. When you are spending so much time listing and you are not spending as much time finding the best product you can possibly find, it's kind of off-balance a little bit.

Quotes

  • “There's a lot of great places to go!”
  • “Reselling right now is such a valuable thing.”
  • “You have to start at somewhere.”
  • “It was a lot of work, but it is what I love to do.”
  • “It is awesome to be surrounded by great people.”
  • “Everyone needs a little bit more time to source and find the best products.”
  • “Time is money.”
  • “As long as you are disciplined and do your research, anyone can be successful on eBay.”

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