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How Many Shoes Are in This Man's Closet?

EBay's high-volume sellers, known as "power sellers," are a colorful lot.

Consider Edwin Dodson, who let out a belly shriek Tuesday when U.S. postmaster general John Potter announced that the Postal Service is releasing a new priority-mail shoebox available for free to eBay sellers.

EBay shoe vendor Edwin Dodson watches the Monkees' Davy Jones perform. (Leslie Walker-The Washington Post)

"Oh, break my heart, man!" Dodson cried, raising one fist in glee.

The Claysburg, Pa., resident (who goes by "edskis2" on eBay) sells shoes on eBay from his home -- hundreds of pairs each week. He still has a day job but is planning to make eBay a full-time gig when he retires. Dodson came to the convention and spent time hanging out with a new buddy he met on the eBay message boards a few months ago, Jason Smith of Tulsa.

"I'm a pretty happy eBay seller," said Smith, who earns a full-time living selling auto accessories on eBay under the name "chasnjason.'' He said he loves eBay partly because the sellers and buyers he meets are down to earth. "They all seem so genuine," he said, adding, "I came to the convention last year, too. This year I'm noticing there are lot more young people. ''

Then there was Cindy Sorley of Layton, Utah, who walked around the exhibit floor in a dazzling shawl a friend had knitted for her in eBay's colors of yellow, green, blue and red. Her selling ID is "bubbacandance"-- which has little to do with the needlepoint merchandise she sells.

Needlework seller Cindy Sorley. (Leslie Walker-The Washington Post)

Sorley seemed passionate about her eBay business, which she ramped up two years ago after closing her brick-and-mortar needlework shop. She said she likes the site, even though its tools are glitchy and don't always work for her.

"I am doing better financially now. Plus, I am home with my 4-year-old. It's great."

By Leslie Walker  |  June 14, 2006; 4:08 PM ET  | Category:  EBay Live , Leslie Walker
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I wish that you and other reporters would stop concentrating on the eccentric aspects of eBay sellers in your media coverage and instead concentrate on the fact that this juggernaut of an ecommerce site allows millions of people with an entrepreneurial spirit the chance to start their own business....all it takes is the vision, talent, and energy to make it happen. The biggest trend my husband and I see here at eBay Live this week (we are Gold Level Powersellers, user name Susiecraft) are the hundreds of baby boomers who are working hard to make their eBay businesses finance their coming retirement, either fully or partially. The vast majority of eBay Sellers here are serious, hardworking professionals from literally all walks of life. We are proud to be among their ranks.

Posted by: Susan Gearing | June 15, 2006 1:41 AM

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