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Aug 042016
 

Finally settling down after an incredible trifecta of conferences.

Last Friday (July 26, 2016) after work we drove to Minneapolis for Midwest Ecom 2016.  Bubblefast was proud to be a sponsor of this 2 day conference featuring some wonderful speakers.  Great combination of learning, socializing with new and old friends and getting a taste of the local flavor.  Outside of the conference highlights included a great dinner at the Mall of America, a visit to the Peeps store and a decidedly off-color game of Cards Against Humanity back at the hotel.  We drove home Friday night – a pretty excellent weekend.

midwestecom2016 peeps
bull mallofamerica
ChristmasInJuly

One ridiculously busy day at the office on Monday and then we were off again.

Tuesday morning we flew into Las Vegas for EBay Open 2016.

This was eBay giving its seller community an amazing opportunity to Learn, Network and Socialize.  And we certainly did all of those!  General sessions (for all 1200-ish attendees) featured eBay execs giving us an overview of where the company is and where we can expect to go together.  Very inspiring.   We were at the event as Community Sponsors.  We had a booth in the Expo Hall where we were able to share the Bubblefast love.  Gave out lots of swag and had the opportunity to chat with many attendees as well as eBay staff and fellow vendors.  And once again eBay proved  that they really know how to throw a party.  Unbelievable amounts of incredible food and drink, Happy Hour with eBay execs and one unbelievable blow-out party at the Brooklyn Bowl.  eBay rented out this unique facility for us and brought in the band, the Fray to entertain us as we ate, drank, bowled (with our complimentary eBay socks), posed for caricatures and partied with fellow attendees, eBay staff and execs.  You couldn’t experience this event and not feel privileged to be a part of this great community.  Again, we had some fun outside of the conference itself because- well, we were in Vegas.  We got together with friends and enjoyed the Donny and Marie show at the Flamingo.  (Totally loved it!).  Went with another group of friends to the Lisa Lampanelli show at the Venetian (big change of pace from Donny and Marie-didn’t totally love it but it was fun sharing it with friends).  We also had some fun in the casinos, having dinner with friends and checking out some of the piano bars.  Didn’t do much sleeping, but we did have a great time!

ebaybooth ebayselfie markbooth
hallawton paris dinner cupcakes
sorley betsyjon peggy
donnymarie lampanelli
2Robins fray champagne

The conference ended on Friday and Saturday began the next event.  We switched hotels and mindsets and headed to the convention center for the ASD show.  This is a sourcing show that Mark goes to twice a year.  I don’t usually attend, but since I was already in Vegas, it seemed like a golden opportunity for me to see what it was all about.  And all I can say is “wow”!  A seemingly endless supply of booths offering every imaginable product for sale.  Great way to walk off  the ridiculous amounts of food we had at the eBay event.  We made several purchases and ran into many friends.  Enjoyed a wonderful tapas dinner with some of our vendor friends.  So much to do and see and buy!   Another awesome event.  I wrapped up my trip on Sunday night and headed back to work on Monday.  Mark came home two days later.

asd
firefly
briangoodman

All of our business travel for the year packed into 10 whirlwind days.  Thanks go out to our staff at home and to the wonders of technology that allowed us to stay connected and keep our businesses running smoothly while we were away.  Looking forward to being back at work now and using the inspiration of the conferences to energize as we begin to  implement some of what we learned.

 Posted by at 8:37 am
Sep 202015
 

At the end of July we received an exciting e-mail. eBay was going to be hosting an event in San Jose. It was announced as a 20th Anniversary Celebration. Very few details were available. We didn’t really know what the event was going to be. But we knew one thing – we had to be there. Our business started with a single sale on eBay and we have been proud to serve and be part of the eBay community since 1999. There have been countless changes through the years – some good, some not so good. One thing that has never changed though is our love and appreciation for the fantastic people we have met on this journey. Some of them we only know through virtual contact. Others we have had the good fortune to meet through our local meet-up group and through earlier eBay events – the over-the-top amazingly awesome eBay Live events (the last one was in Chicago in 2008), the more toned down eBay on Locations and the even smaller but still fun and useful eBay In Person events where a couple of eBay employees were sent out to meet with local seller groups. Throughout the years we have attended many of these events all over the country. Each one was a chance to meet or re-connect with fellow sellers, new and potential customers and knowledgeable eBay staff.

It took about 10 minutes after we received the e-mail to make the decision. Ebay is having a celebration. We’re going to be there. Timing was not the best for us. September is when our business starts to ramp up every year. We would have to miss two days of work in a potentially very busy week that was already a shortened because of Labor Day. Even worse, the Thursday and Friday we would be away immediately preceded the Monday and Tuesday that we were going to be off for religious holidays. Oy! But somehow we knew we had to make it work. Before we had any idea of what exactly this event was going to be we purchased our tickets and made travel arrangements. With excitement we scouted out all of the familiar Facebook pages where our eCommerce friends hang out and kept refreshing to see who was going to be joining us.

We did as much pre-planning as we could, making sure we had staff available to ship in our absence, neighbors to help unload any trucks that arrived when our shipper was unavailable and working interfaces to connect us to our office computers while on the road. We spent almost all of the Labor Day weekend and Tuesday and Wednesday shipping out a huge number of items and pulling together as many loose ends as possible.

By the time we got on the plane on Wednesday night we were exhausted but so excited. We arrived in San Jose late Wednesday night, but not too late to catch the end of a great pre-event party sponsored by Worthpoint and organized by some of our friends. What a wonderful reunion. In honor of eBay’s 20th Anniversary, the party had a Roaring 20s theme. The guy in red and white (below) is Rich Siok, the head of our local Chicagoland seller’s meet-up . We donated Bubblefast gift certificates to be given as raffle prizes and along with Rich and his wife Nila, got the chance to sneak in a quick plug for eCom Chicago, our upcoming sellers conference

worthpointcontest                                     worthpointecomchicago

After the party ended we were too tired to trek back to the hotel so we had our first ever Uber experience. So easy, fast and inexpensive. Loved it!

Up bright and early Thursday morning for a VIP breakfast. Got to greet many friends/colleagues we had missed at the party. While enjoying our meal we had the opportunity to meet with several high ranking eBay execs. We learned a little about each of them and their position in the company, heard anecdotes about their latest personal eBay sales, and also got to introduce ourselves and ask questions.
ebay20vipbreakfast

Had time for a short break after breakfast to sneak up to our hotel room to do some actual Bubblefast work (trusty laptops connecting to the office computers to print the labels DaMori (our shipper) was waiting for).

Then – down for the main event. We joined around 2000 people in a large room in the San Jose Convention Center to hear highlights of the upcoming changes for Sellers. We were welcomed by eBay’s new CEO, Devin Wenig who outlined the new changes coming to the eBay site. (Click here) to hear the keynote and many of the other great speakers.)  All were very well received. With this new seller release many of what we saw as eBay “mis-steps” are being corrected. Highlights of the changes include a more streamlined, flexible returns process and a free one-stop shop Seller Hub for all seller activities including new access to valuable metrics and insights. Even more exciting, a reversal of many of the “punishments” sellers have had to endure for subjective feedback and a release from being held accountable for items outside of sellers’ control. All really good news.   With a new captain at the helm it definitely seems like waters will be less choppy for eBay sellers.

At the end of the presentations Devin Wenig came back to introduce a very special surprise guest – eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The highlight of the interview was the surprise Devin had for Pierre ( http://pages.ebay.com/weare20/video.html . eBay staff had managed to hunt down the very first item ever sold on eBay – Pierre’s broken laser pointer. We got to see a video of the retired Canadian gentleman who bought it, and hear his story. The punchline was that eBay had managed to re-purchase the laser pointer and planned to give it back to Pierre. Without that little broken laser pointer, none of us in the room would have gotten to the place we are today.  What a cool moment for us all to experience.
devinpierre                                     laserpointer

So, already pumped up from the positive announcements and the awesome moment with Pierre, we all left the room to a wonderful experience. A fabulous eBay tradition of eBay Lives of the past was recreated – the famous clapping tunnel. Our route to the party was lined by a two seemingly unending rows of eBay employees all giving us a standing ovation as we walked through the “human tunnel”. What an amazing feeling of being appreciated. Goosebumps, tears, delight. And confetti. Here’s a little taste of the experience.

And then the party. eBay knows how to throw a party. Tons of food stations, free bar, main stage music, strolling performing artists, sketch artists, eBay swag, more confetti – and a room packed full of some of our favorite e-Commerce friends. Just wow!!

ebay20party                                                     ebay20withfriends

 

After the party we hung out with friends for a while to unwind, then back to our room to do some more work until late into the night. (Not much sleep on these trips!)

Friday morning – day two of the conference. The day started with another VIP breakfast. After breakfast we had time to do a bit of work before the kick-off session. After a moment of silence to honor the memory of 9/11, we saw several great eBay videos. Here is one of the best ones: Our Story: We are eBay https://youtu.be/oFexG37TbU8

After the opening session the rest of the day was a day of learning. eBay staff and execs were available to answer questions. Workshops were available for those who wanted to delve into any particular aspect of the upcoming changes. Mark and I split up for most of these. Mark was asked to be in a video talking about our eBay experience. I was part of group called Co-create where a small group of sellers met with eBay designers to explore new possibilities for the future of the eBay Mobile app.

We checked out the main conference room to chat with execs and eBay staff and to network with fellow sellers we hadn’t yet had a chance to connect with.

ebayhallawtonandfriendsebaylaurachambersebayjordanlaurafriendsebayjasonsparents

 

 

 

 

After the workshops and meet and greet we headed back to our room to do some Bubblefast work. A short break because I had to get ready for my moment in the spotlight. I had the honor of being one of the guests on a Seller Panel. This was a great experience. I sat on a panel with 3 other awesome eBay sellers. We introduced ourselves and answered questions from the moderator and the audience. The workshop was standing room only and had great participation.

ebaysellerpanelleftebaysellerpanelright

 

After the seller panel wrapped up it was time to once again head to the main floor to meet with execs, enjoy more food and drink and hear Devin Wenig give the conference wrap-up.

What a fantastic event. An amazing inspirational super-energy charged couple of days. We left with very positive thoughts about the direction eBay is headed, pride in being part of this great community and great enthusiasm to get home and get back to listing and selling.

The event was over but our trip extended a bit longer. Friday night after finishing our work we headed down to the hotel bar where a group of our friends was unwinding with a raucous game of Cards Against Humanity (my first time playing-definitely not for the sqeamish). Yikes!

cardsagainsthumanity

After the game Mark and I headed outside (our first fresh air of the trip) to wander the streets of San Jose. We enjoyed a quiet dinner together which was a great time to reflect on the trip.

We stayed in town one extra day and had an actual extremely rare vacation day. Along with our friends Rich and Nila, we took the Caltrain to San Francisco and had photo opportunities at AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) and a beautiful day exploring Fisherman’s Wharf.

attparkwilliemaysbeer

 

 

 

 

markwharfsealionwharfrobinmark

 

 

 

 

Didn’t have a FitBit on but it felt like we did about a billion steps. Took Uber back to the train and ordered a pizza up to the room. Did more work. Sunday morning 4:15 AM wake up for our 5:15 limo.

Made it back home safe and sound – just in time to make holiday dinner before heading to religious services.
Whew! What a whirlwind. Thank you so much to eBay for creating the platform that enabled us to be part of this community, for inviting us to participate in and for putting together this wonderful event and to all of our wonderful seller friends who were able to share the experience with us.

Thoroughly exhausting – but can’t wait til the next one…………………

 Posted by at 3:41 am
Oct 062014
 

The time is finally here: it’s the second annual Bubbleween photo contest! We will award $100 Bubblefast gift certificates to the winners in three categories: adult costume, kid costume, and pet costume. All costumes must incorporate some type of shipping supplies — and if you don’t have any leftover supplies we can help you out. Enter Bubbleween at checkout on Bubblefast between now and October 31 to get 10% off your order!

Pics can be submitted any time from today until the Monday after Halloween to submit. Photos from any year are OK as long as you didn’t submit them last year. Voting will run for one week after Halloween until midnight CST on Friday, November 7, 2014, so winners will get their $100 Bubblefast gift certificate in plenty of time to prepare for cyber Monday and December shipping rushes! For many of our micro-business customers that would mean free shipping supplies and thus higher profit margins. And you can’t win if you don’t enter…

Last year’s winners brought their A-game, and we’re so excited to see this year’s submissions.

Bubbleween winners 2013

When you’re ready to submit your own  photo, go to the appropriate link below to submit your photo to one of our three categories today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult contest

Kid contest

Pet contest

Congrats again to to last year’s winners:

Pet costume category: Charlene Anderson

Kid costume category: Jennifer Russo

Adult costume category: Gladys Ramos

 

Jun 232014
 

Bubblefast

Last week UPS made the official announcement that they would follow FedEx in making a significant change to the way billable weight is determined for small (<3 cu feet) packages beginning in 2015.

Currently dimensional weight is a factor for large packages but is not a factor for packages measuring less than 3 cu feet (length x width x height < 5184 inches).

If a package measures 12” x 12” x 12”, for example, the “billable weight” (the number you have to look up on a rate chart to determine shipping fee) today is whatever the package weighs.  Easy to calculate.  A 6 pound package is billed as a 6 pound package.

Beginning on 1/1/15 for FedEx Ground and 12/29/14 for UPS Ground things get a lot more complicated and for many packages significantly more expensive.

Here is the new rule.   The SIZE of the package will be a factor in considering billable weight for ALL packages.

Billable weight for ANY package shipped by FedEx Ground or UPS Ground will now be the greater of actual weight or a number calculated by the following formula:
Package length x Package Width x Package Height / 166

Here is an example.  Let’s say you are shipping a large 5 pound teddy bear in a box that measures 18” x 18” x 12”.
Actual weight is 5 pounds.
Weight according to the formula is 18x18x12 / 166 = 23.4
The 5 pound package will now be billed as a 24 pound package.
With current rates a package shipping from Chicago to Los Angeles (without regard to fuel surcharge or any ancillary charges) would cost $10.21 today or $23.05 in 2015.  Huge increase!!!

The most significant change will be for relatively lightweight packages that are less than 3 cubic feet in volume (since dimensional weight is already a factor for larger packages).  Some examples of effected products are pillows, stuffed animals, lampshades, rolls of bubble wrap, diapers or floral arrangements.

So now you know the new rules.  WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO??

Here are our top 5 tips for dealing with the new billable weight factor.

  •  Educate Yourself – Now is the time.  Before the busy shipping season is upon us, take the time to familiarize yourself with the new rules.  Take a look at any package you currently ship via FedEx or UPS Ground and figure out what the shipping costs will look like with the new billing system.  If you are purchasing inventory for re-sale, make sure you take the possibility of dimensional weight shipping charges into consideration when calculating your potential margin. Be particularly careful when offering items for sale including “free shipping”.  For example, if you are selling that teddy bear referred to above and choose to offer FedEx Ground or UPS Ground as an option, make sure that your selling price can absorb the cost of shipping a 24 pound package across the country.
  •  Make sure that your box is not any larger than it needs to be.  Anything you can do to make your package smaller will decrease the billable weight of the package.  There are a couple of things you can do to your boxes to accomplish this.  Consider using multi-depth boxes.   These are boxes pre-scored to allow the sides of the box to easily (and neatly) be folded down to the appropriate height.  Purchasing multi-depth boxes allows you to purchase a bundle of one size box that you can use for various products without having expensive empty space at the top.  Another way to re-size any box is by purchasing an inexpensive box sizer tool.  This is a handy tool that will allow you to score the four sides of any box so that you can (again, easily and neatly) fold the sides down to create a more compact package.
  • Carefully evaluate what you are putting into your box.  If the contents of your package can in any way be safely flattened or deflated this will be to your advantage.  Definitely don’t scrimp on padding where it is needed, but try not to overpack.  If you are packing clothing don’t swaddle your item in layers of bubble wrap.  You have probably all received one of those packages containing a tiny item and a mountain of air pillows.  Don’t do that!!  If you are accustomed to filling your box with large air pillows, consider bubble wrap or some other less bulky void fill product.
  • Consider other shipping providers or services.  You may find that FedEx Ground or UPS Ground is no longer a viable option for your particular product.  There are other choices.  If you haven’t explored the options before, now is the time to look into various USPS options such as First Class Package, Regional or Flat Rate Priority Boxes, Parcel Select/Parcel Post.  Note that while dimensional weight is a factor for some Priority Mail packages, it is not a factor for Express Mail.  In some cases USPS Express Mail may be less expensive than FedEx or UPS Ground.  Both FedEx and UPS also offer hybrid services (FedEx SmartPost and UPS SurePost) where packages are picked up by FedEx or UPS but delivered by the Post Office.  These services are generally slower than regular Ground service but dimensional weight is NOT a factor and savings can be quite significant.  Local or regional carriers are also available in many areas and may not use dimensional weight billing.
  • Negotiate.  Don’t wait until December.  If you currently have a FedEx or UPS account or are considering having one in the near future, NOW is the time to get contact your representative and try to negotiate the best possible rates for your business.  You might want to contact both companies and see who is willing to provide the best rates for you.

These tips were compiled my Robin and Mark Le Vine, of Bubblefast, a family owned business providing shipping supplies to the online community since 1999.  Please feel free to contact us at robin@bubblefast.com or (877) 599-7447 if you have any questions or would like further clarification.

Oct 142013
 
Shipping supplies bring out the creative side in our shipping associate, John.

Shipping supplies bring out the creative side in our shipping associate, John.

The only four steps to enter Bubblefast’s BubbleWeen Costume Photo Contest:

1. Find or create a picture of you in a costume that includes shipping supplies (or a picture of another adult, child, or pet in a costume you made that includes shipping supplies). If 2013’s costume is still a secret feel free to submit qualifying pictures from prior Halloweens!

2. Review the rules and tell us about your photo at this quick form.

3. Email the actual pic to halloween@bubblefast.com. We will post it to our to the contest album.

4. Link your friends and family directly to the album so they can vote for you by liking your pic!

 

Remember, there will three winners (one in each category: adult, child, pet). The earlier you enter the better chance to build up your likes and win one of those prized $100 Bubblefast gift certificates!

Oct 082013
 

The commercials are already starting on TV.  Holiday mailings and catalogs are filling up our mailboxes and computer screens.  The holiday season seems to be starting earlier and earlier.  You might not be quite ready to put up the tree or polish the menorah, but if you are a seller, it is NOT too early to start planning for the holiday shipping season.  The more advance research and planning you are able to do, the less stressful the season can be.  Here are some of our top tips for preparing yourself for the “holiday hustle”.

We helped wrap these dudes to ship, but they seem pretty helpful too.

  1. Familiarize yourself with all of the carriers and shipping options available. Things to consider:

  • Learn about Priority Mail Flat Rate and Regional Rate packaging.  These can be huge money savers.  This useful guide from Stamps.com will help you determine which USPS option is best for your particular package.
    http://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/priority-mail-rate-guide.pdf

  • Find out which carriers charge “dimensional weight” or “balloon weight” for large packages.  Don’t be surprised when your large 5 pound box is charged as if it weighs 45 pounds.  Know the rules in advance so you can charge your customer appropriately and/or choose the right service.

  • Know in advance what the shipping deadlines are for each carrier and service.  eBay provides a convenient place to see the deadlines for all of the major carriers.

  • Find out if there are economical Regional Carriers serving your  area.  On-Trac in the Western U.S,  Spee-Dee Delivery in the Midwest and Eastern Connection in the northeast  are examples of this type of carrier that can offer fast, affordable shipping to certain locations.

 

  1. If you are not already doing it, consider taking the time now to revise your listings to offer Free Shipping and also Expedited Shipping Options.   If you don’t offer these you risk losing customers to those sellers who do.  If you decide to offer Free Shipping make sure that your selling price can absorb shipping to distant zones.  Do the research in advance so you don’t find yourself actually losing money.

 

  1. Stock up on shipping supplies now.  Don’t put yourself in the stressful situation of having packages ready to ship to your customers and no boxes, bubble wrap, mailers, packing peanuts and whatever other supplies you need to send them on their way.  Make sure you also have a good supply of mailing labels, tape and Fragile Stickers if necessary.  If you use Priority Mail supplies make sure to order these in advance.  Don’t count on your local Post Office to have the supplies you need in stock.  Order directly from USPS and have free supplies delivered to your home or office so you know they’ll be there when you need them .

https://store.usps.com/store/browse/category.jsp?categoryId=catGetMailingShippingSupplies&categoryNavIds=catGetMailingShippingSupplies

 

  1. Consider hiring extra help for the holidays.  If you start looking for help now you can have them up to speed by the holidays.  Having extra sets of knowledgeable hands in your shipping room can relieve some of the stress of a hectic holiday shipping season.

 

  1. Show appreciation to your drivers/postal carriers.  Remember that these are your partners in getting your packages safely to your customers.   Realize that they are working long hard hours.    Building up a little good will might help when you need them to wait an extra minute for you to finish up that last package.

 

Best wishes for a peaceful, profitable holiday season.

Sep 242013
 
From time to time we like to highlight Bubblefast customers doing cool stuff with our products.  If you do something cool with shipping supplies we’d love to hear about it and (with your permission) share it with our readers!
Speech Therapist Shani Speech Bubble Fun!

Speech & Language Pathologist Shani recently bought some bubbles from Bubblefast to use as an therapeutic tool for her K-5th grade clients.

Shani got the idea of bubble wrap as a speech therapy tool when she saw a pin on Pinterest suggesting that parents or teachers use bubble wrap for site-word drills for beginning readers. She immediately thought of modifying the technique for use with her speech therapy clients. Her first plan is to use bubble wrap with an 11-year old girl who struggles with leaving syllables out of words. Shani plans to write each syllable of some practice word onto a separate bubble, so her client will get to POP a bubble to celebrate each syllable she pronounces.
We love to hear about creative uses of Bubblefast’s shipping supplies – especially when they’re helping kids! Thanks for the story, Shani!
Sep 172013
 

Robin and Mark know that Bubblefast’s products are a serious and critical tool in keeping our customer’s shipments safe every day of the year, but we also know that leftover shipping supplies can be fun and useful around the house. When the “Bubble Kids” were younger Robin and Mark used whatever they had on hand to make creative Halloween costumes every year. The kids are grown up now, but fun never goes out of style at Bubblefast. We know our customers are a creative and resourceful bunch, and this Halloween season we want to reward that ingenuity with some Bubblefast gift certificates!

BTW, this post is the first by grownup “Bubblefast Kid” Michelle Mann. My mom, Bubblefast co-owner Robin Le Vine, made the lunchbox costume pictured below when I was slightly too young to blog. Even in the pre-Bubblefast days she was putting cardboard boxes and foam box fillers to great use! Can you beat her? (Yes, I am so committed to the family business’s customers that I am posting a picture of myself dressed as a Mr. Potatohead lunchbox to the whole internet.).

This is me, Michelle, dressed up as a lunch box complete with a juice box. Thanks, Mom.

So here’s the deal.  Use shipping supplies (boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, tape, air pillows or whatever else you can think of) to create a unique costume for yourself, your child or your pet.    We’ll post your pictures on our Facebook page and let the Bubblefast Facebook community vote for their favorites.  If your creation is chosen you will win a $100 gift certificate for Bubblefast shipping supplies!

If you need some supplies to get started, here is a www.Bubblefast.com coupon code for 10% off!

Code: “BubbleWeen” (This discount expires October 1st, so hurry!)

Submit pictures of your costumes to Bubblefast through our official entry form by October 27th, and then get your family and friends to vote through Facebook “Likes” by October 31st.  The link to the entry form is on our Facebook page. The winner for the most “Liked” photo in each category will win $100 worth of Bubblefast shipping supplies (3 prizes in total).

Remember, the earlier you enter the more time people will have to vote for you! Have fun!

Click here to get the details and official contest rules. If you haven’t already liked the Bubblefast page, now is the perfect time for that too — and it’s the only way to find the official entry form.

Oct 232011
 

Bids are now being accepted on eBay for the one-of-a-kind ”World Series Sports Bra” created by Gurnee businessman Mark Le Vine of Bubblefast, LLC.  For the third year in a row Le Vine has created a sports-themed bra and offered it for sale as part of the “Bling My Bra” Breast Cancer charity auction campaign being held through the month of October on eBay.

The Bling My Bra campaign was created on eBay in 2009 by eBay seller Beth Cherkowsky of Langhorne, PA.  Her idea was to solicit donations of handcrafted themed art bras to auction off on eBay, through eBay’s Giving Works, charity division.  One hundred percent of the funds raised through the Bling My Bra campaign are donated to the National Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization (http://www.komen.org/)  Susan G. Komen spends 84 cents of every dollar donated directly on education and research.  The campaign, which this year is being spearheaded by eBay seller and e-commerce podcaster Kat Simpson and her committee, has grown each year and has raised thousands of dollars and harnessed the creative energies of hundreds of eBay’s sellers.

Gurnee residents Mark and Robin Le Vine own and operate Bubblefast, a Gurnee company offering shipping supplies to the eBay community since 1999.  Bubblefast joined the fun in 2009 when Mark was solicited by friends to create his first art bra.  Le Vine, who doesn’t know a lot about bras or art, but does know a bit about sports, created a sartorial tribute to the Cubs/Sox rivalry.  The bra sold and “blinging sports bras” became an annual Bubblefast tradition.  In 2010 Le Vine turned to football with the creation of a Bears/Packers bra.  This year Le Vine returned to the baseball theme with his Texas Rangers/Saint Louis Cardinals World Series Bra.  Here is a link to a picture gallery of all three Bubblefast Bling My Bras

“I didn’t have a lot of time to create this year’s bra,” said Le Vine.  “I had to wait until the League championships were decided, then gather materials and whip up my new creation in a hurry.”  This year several eBay sellers of sports memorabilia helped by donating and quickly shipping contributions to the effort.  Bubblefast would like to thank KoozeeKingdom, Major League Pins, and Patch Collection for their generous donations to this year’s Bling My Bra campaign.

“ I’d like to challenge Rangers fans and Cardinals fans to join the bidding to own this unique memory of the 2011 World Series. Whether you root for the National League or the American League, we can all root together to fight Breast Cancer.”

Blinged Bras of all varieties are being offered all month on eBay.  To see and/or bid on any of the unique donations visit the Bling My Bra eBay store or follow the campaign at www.Facebook.com/blingmybra.

Aug 172011
 

Atlanta, GA – Aug. 17, 2011 – Kabbage, Inc., a provider of working capital for online merchants, today announced it has secured $17 million in Series B funding, led by Mohr Davidow Ventures. Existing investors participating in the round include BlueRun Ventures, David Bonderman, founder of TPG Capital, Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc., and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. Several individuals also participated in the round including Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square. Kabbage will use this funding to pursue additional marketplaces, distribution relationships, new financial products and international expansion.

“Thousands of online merchants have obtained working capital and grown their businesses since our push into the market in April 2011,” said Rob Frohwein, Kabbage Founder and CEO. “Although small business fuels the majority of growth in the U.S., it is extremely difficult and time consuming for these businesses to apply for and actually receive financing from a traditional bank. Kabbage fills this need by providing money to these businesses in a quick, easy and painless way, helping them to further grow their businesses and boost the economy.”

Kabbage currently supports merchants operating on eBay®, Amazon® and Yahoo!® platforms and over the next six months will add support for merchants operating on or through a variety of other channels including Facebook®, Etsy®, Shopify® and Marketplace at Sears.com™. Kabbage uses automated data sources to analyze the health of an online merchant’s business including transaction history, customer traffic and reviews, and products to deliver working capital within seconds of the merchant’s completed application. With Kabbage’s release of profile building in May, merchants can now proactively add information to their Kabbage account to immediately increase their access to capital.

“Small and medium businesses are the growth engine of the economy and more and more of these businesses are operating online,” said Bryan Stolle, General Partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures. “By using rich, multi-source data and advanced analytics to more fairly and accurately assess business performance, we believe Kabbage’s financial products will enable more businesses to expand inventory, hire new employees, and grow, thereby helping the economy get back on track.”

“There is a rapidly growing delta between small-to-medium businesses’ need for working capital and its availability from traditional sources. The knowledge gained from working with companies like Kabbage helps UPS refine its strategy of enabling global commerce,” said Joe Guerrisi, VP of Corporate Marketing at UPS.

In addition to the funding news, the United States Patent & Trademark Office recently granted U.S. Patent No. 7,983,951 to Kabbage, entitled “Apparatus to provide liquid funds in the online auction and marketplace environment.”  [Please see today’s announcement “Kabbage Issued U.S. Patent”.]

About Kabbage, Inc.
Kabbage, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is pioneering the first financial services data, technology and marketing platform just for online merchants, supporting millions of small and medium businesses that make a living selling online. Kabbage leverages data generated through merchant activity across various marketplaces and channels to understand business performance and craft financing options that meet their needs. Kabbage is venture funded and backed by Mohr Davidow Ventures and BlueRun Ventures, with additional investors including: David Bonderman, founder of TPG Capital, Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc., and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. For more information, please visit www.kabbage.com