BusinessWeek has an article in the June 7th edition entitled The Rise of the Momprenueurs (subcription req’d) about former working moms who are turning to eBay as a way of making money while raising kids.
“Now, with the help of wireless technology, digital photography, and friendly postmen, eBay is becoming a hot new career for managerial-class moms…
Today, upwards of 430,000 people in the U.S. alone — more than are employed worldwide by General Electric Co. (GE ) and Procter & Gamble combined — earn a full- or part-time living on eBay selling everything from fashion to farm equipment, with the highest-sellers grossing up to $1 million a month. Of the estimated 48% of these sellers who are women, many are “mompreneurs” — corporate stopouts who have found in eBay a way to tap into an international marketplace from their kitchen tables and finesse a saner work-life balance at the same time. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the eBay mompreneurs comes as more highly educated women are choosing to stay at home with young children. The percentage of working women with children under the age of one dropped from a record 59% in 1998 to 55% in 2002, after rising steadily for 30 years. Some see the decrease as a referendum on the work-life balance. As in, it doesn’t exist.
The article also profiles a woman who used to be an attorney at a well-appointed Texas law firm:
Ann Whitley Wood, a Stanford University grad who has a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin, quit her job as an appellate attorney at Dallas blue-chip firm Haynes and Boone in 2000 after her second of three children was born. She simply couldn’t figure out a way to make the job work part-time. Yet as a buyer on eBay, she was dumbfounded by the volume sellers were doing. So she started experimenting. (Her first sale: an old evening gown hanging in her closet, $400). In 2002, she got more professional, scouring last-call sales for Lilly Pulitzer dresses and Kate Spade handbags. She now makes a decent part-time income.
Obviously, selling on eBay isn’t going to make too many people rich, but it’s nice to see that it provides an alternative way of earning income for those who need it. And, let’s not forget that it is a great way of getting the best price for stuff you want to get rid of that is just cluttering your closets.