A Jewelry Shop With a Mission
While Whiskers Rescue was incorporated in 2005 I have been working for many more years to reduce the number of feral cats through TNR. I have been trapping cats for over 25 years at this point. (suddenly I feel old) The first colonies I ever trapped I paid for on my own. I worked extra hours and ate a lot of pasta, but it got done. As word spread that I knew how to trap the number of requests for help started to roll in. In some cases, the people who asked were able to fund their own vet bills but were unable or unwilling to do the work of trapping. In time I ended up incorporating as a non-profit. Despite the ability to legally ask for donations it became apparent that direct donations were never going to cover the vet bills for all of the cats I wanted to trap. It is very difficult to find independent minded volunteers willing to run fundraisers which meant I needed to find some way of raising funds. The easiest thing to accomplish was having annual yard sales.
At one sale a nice woman asked if we could use jewelry to sell at our sales. Of course, I said yes! Whatever we could sell could go toward vet bills. A few days later I asked my husband to pick up jewelry as the woman lived in the same town, he worked in. Of course, I expected a small bag of goodies. He called me on the way home and asked me to meet him outside. What I witnessed was beyond comprehension! She had filled an entire Jetta with plastic costume jewelry! Please understand I mean FILLED. The trunk, back seat and passenger seat were stacked with boxes!!! All I could think was I need a new plan!
I was still young and as I always have been not the most tech literate person. I did notice my husband was selling off old collectibles he owned on ebay. With so much jewelry to sort through and turn into funds for the vet I decided to open our own ebay store. The first items I listed were fun costume pieces I sold for very little money. With a Jetta full of jewelry though that added up! Since then, I have spent almost 20 years raising funds on ebay and finding new sources of jewelry. Some of it is purchased as flea markets and some is donated by our incredible donors. Our jewelry donations come from all over the world! I now have over 7000 pieces listed! There are pieces of jewelry ranging from $10 to $1000 and everything in between!
Over time I met Carol who is far more talented than I am. She started to make us handmade, cat themed lap quilts and adorable beaded cat jewelry. I have sold thousands of her creations in our store to raise funds to help more cats.
While I never intended to spend 50 + hours a week working on an ebay store as part of helping with TNR it has turned out to be an incredible way to raise funds. You can be a part of this effort by stopping in to shop, donating jewelry or scrap you no longer wear and always being sure to share our posts on facebook. Ebay provides us with approximately half of our annual budget some years.