By Diane Mastrull
The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Her arms draped in Hermes Birkin handbags that retail for $13,000 each, a laughing Linda Lightman had to confess: She doesn’t own a single one herself.
“But they’re coveted by many,” she added with considerable appreciation.
Such longing will translate into $25 million in sales this year for Linda’s Stuff, the online luxury-consignment business Lightman started 15 years ago.
At eBay, where a projected $83 billion in gross merchandise value was transacted last year, Linda’s Stuff is considered a superstar. It lists about 140,000 unique items daily, the best of which are also offered at shoplindasstuff.com.
“Their business has basically grown up on eBay,” said Jon Kuhlmann, enterprise and strategic account manager for the online-shopping kingdom. “Their dedication to customers and the selection they offer is tremendous.”
The family company, Lightman’s husband, Fred, is president, and the older of their two sons, Max, is vice president of business development, has a workforce of 110 (average age 25, starting at $10 an hour). After five expansions since 2007, Linda’s Stuff now occupies 93,000 square feet at its Philadelphia-area base.
Highly organized hoarding: That was my initial reaction once inside. Rows of stacked blue-plastic Sterilite storage bins containing pre-owned handbags, clothing and jewelry, and some home decor, seemed to go on forever. What wasn’t in bins was in cardboard boxes or on hanging racks and shelves. There was a photography area, and spots for appraisals, listings and returns.
About 2,000 items are shipped to buyers daily. UPS delivers hundreds of boxes a day from the 22,000 consignors who sell through Linda’s Stuff. Sophisticated software enables them to track their goods, for which they receive 62 percent of sales under $1,000, 75 percent for sales up to $5,000, and 80 percent for anything above that.