From hobbies to full-time careers: eBay celebrates Canadian e-commerce with ninth annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

New Home-preneur of the Year announced for 2013 along with winners for Young-preneur and esteemed Entrepreneur of the Year

TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - eBay Canada is thrilled to announce Farishta Zarify of London, Ontario as the 2013 winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, a distinction that honours successful and innovative e-commerce in Canada.  For the ninth year in a row, eBay Canada recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs who have seized the opportunities of online commerce to develop strong, successful businesses.

As the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year, Zarify has leveraged her passion for fashion to create a full-time career. Zarify launched her business, Designer Luxury Gowns, in January and quickly tapped into the high-end fashion market on eBay.  Specializing in designer and luxury evening gowns, Zarify sold in excess of $20,000 worth of luxury clothing within the first six months of launching, including her most notable sale to-date, an $11,000 gown by designer John Galliano.  Zarify takes full advantage of eBay's mobile apps to meet the needs of her business and her discerning customers: she is able to research prices, post listings and respond to customer inquiries - anytime, anywhere.

Home-preneur & Young-preneur of the Year
In addition to the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, eBay Canada also celebrates winners in two additional categories this year: Home-preneur of the Year, new for 2013 and honouring a seller who operates an eBay business from the comfort of their home; and the return of Young-preneur of the Year, for an entrepreneurially-spirited seller under the age of 29.

Richard Kalpakian of Toronto, Ontario has been named the first ever eBay Canada Home-preneur of the Year.  Kalpakian turned his lifelong love of comic books into a lucrative online business with an impressive inventory of nearly 250,000 titles.  With the support of his wife, Kalpakian operates all aspects of his business from the family home, and houses his inventory in meticulously organized, temperature controlled storage units. Since launching in 2004, Kalpakian's sales have increased six fold, making him the fourth largest comic book seller globally on eBay.

Adrien Lavoie of Gatineau, Quebec is eBay Canada's 2013 Young-preneur of the Year.  An employee and protégé of 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year, Jean-Francois Lapointe, Lavoie was inspired to establish his own eBay business offering sports products including longboards, shoes, sunglasses, and other accessories.  Since starting his business over two years ago, Lavoie has seen tremendous growth and earlier this year was able to open a 2,100 ft2 brick-and-mortar store,, as a result of the success of his eBay store.

"Entrepreneurial spirit abounds in Canada," said Andrea Stairs, country manager of eBay Canada, "and eBay is proud to provide a platform for the development of so many successful Canadian businesses. Since the inception of the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards nine years ago, we have heard thousands of stories of Canadians who have taken advantage of e-commerce to follow their dreams and passions - this year's winners are no different, they are three examples of the power and possibility of online commerce in Canada."

Almost 150 eBay sellers entered this year's competition. Along with bragging rights and promotion of their eBay business to more than two million online buyers, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner will receive $3,000, and the Home-preneur and Young-preneur of the Year will each receive $2,000.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards program was announced earlier this year and was open to full- and part-time eBay sellers aged 18 years and older. All entrants were considered for the Young-preneur of the Year and the Home-preneur of the Year categories, if applicable.

About the 2013 Winners!

eBay Canada's 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year: Farishta Zarify, London, ON (eBay ID:  luxurydesignergowns)
A frequent guest at weddings and formal events, Farishta Zarify quickly developed a love for fashion and was inspired to turn her passion into profit when she found a gap in the online luxury gown market. Creating her eBay business in early 2013, Zarify sells a selection of new and pre-owned gowns, at fixed prices, from renowned fashion houses such as Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Marchesa. While competition amongst fashion retailers is fierce, Zarify uses social media tools, like Facebook, to market her business, and further sets herself apart by adding a personal touch to each sale. With an average selling price of $1,500 to $2,000, Zarify takes time to get to know each buyer and ensure every gown purchased is a perfect fit. Having seen such tremendous success in just eight months, Zarify has quit her job to focus on her business, full-time, and aspires to travel the world to expand her inventory.

eBay Canada's 2013 Home-preneur of the Year: Richard Kalpakian, Toronto, ON (eBay ID: armbo_comics)
A comic book collector since childhood, Richard Kalpakian witnessed a growing demand for his books worldwide and began selling his personal collection on eBay in 2004.  In less than a year, Kalpakian's eBay store Armbo Comics - which features a breadth of new and used comic books as well as other collectibles, cards and figurines - was so profitable that he quit his job to focus on his home business and make it a full-time career.  To further supply his growing stock of almost 250,000 comic books, Kalpakian uses online resources like Kijiji as well as comic stores to curate an assortment of titles - including his most notable sale, a first edition X-Men comic book which he sold for $1000; 20 times what he originally paid.  The Home-preneur winner uses his home office as his main sales and distribution centre, and houses his inventory in temperature-controlled storage units. Since starting his business, Kalpakian's store has become the world's fourth largest eBay comic store, and hopes to one day open his own brick-and-mortar location.

eBay Canada's 2013 Young-preneur of the Year: Adrien Lavoie, Gatineau, QC (eBay ID: boardshopw)
Twenty-four-year-old Young-preneur of the Year Adrien Lavoie was introduced to eBay during his employment with BDH Bikes in Gatineau, Quebec, while working alongside business owner and 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year, Jean-Francois Lapointe.  The store owned by Lapointe gave Lavoie the experience that undoubtedly helped and motivated him to create an eBay business of his own that ultimately became his full-time career.  By generating over $200,000 in sales since launching his store in 2011, Lavoie was able to fund a recently opened brick-and-mortar location, A 2.0 version of his eBay store, Lavoie offers similar inventory online and offline, including longboards, shoes, sunglasses, shirts, and accessories.

About eBay Canada
Founded in 1995 in San Jose, Calif., eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) is a global commerce platform and payments leader connecting millions of buyers and sellers. We do so through eBay, the world's largest online marketplace, which allows users to buy and sell in nearly every country on earth; through PayPal, which enables individuals and businesses to securely, easily and quickly send and receive digital payments; and through GSI, which facilitates ecommerce, multichannel retailing and digital marketing for global enterprises. We also reach millions through specialized marketplaces such as StubHub, the world's largest ticket marketplace, and eBay classifieds sites, which together have a presence in more than 1,000 cities around the world. In Canada, eBay was visited by more than 8 million Canadians in July 2013 (comScore Media Metrix).

SOURCE: eBay Canada

For further information:

Megan Vickell
eBay Canada

Rosie Shipton
Edelman (on behalf of eBay Canada)

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