Personal tragedy leads mother to successful eBay purse business

Lisa Athey’s got bargains in the bag – or make that purses – as in Coach, Fossil or Kate Spade, to name just a few. And they’re all for sale on her eBay Web page, Perfectly Purses and More.

Lisa Athey shows just a sampling of the handbags she offers through Perfectly Purses and More.

Lisa Athey’s got bargains in the bag – or make that purses – as in Coach, Fossil or Kate Spade, to name just a few. And they’re all for sale on her eBay Web page, Perfectly Purses and More.

Athey is a 46-year-old wife and mother of six children, ages 11 to 26, who rose above the ashes of personal tragedy to launch a successful eBay business selling purses and handbags.

It started in 2005 after daughters Amanda, then 20 and Lydia, 15, were victims of a head-on accident on South Prairie Road in Bonney Lake, just down the road from their house.

“(They) were hit by a drunk driver,” she said.

The good news: they survived. The bad news: – an uncertain future filled with severe pain, extensive medical care and, eventually, 13 surgeries.

Athey quit her job at a dollar store to care for them at home.

“I spent an unbelievable number of hours taking them to and from doctors’ appointments,” she explained. “I’d have rare moments where I could zip in and out of thrift stores. It was a release and a way to let my mind go somewhere else.”

Her bargain hunting led to the discovery of designer handbags sold at affordable prices.

“I began looking for purses for a friend’s daughter,” she said. “She loves purses and she’s also from a family on a tight budget.”

With a keen eye for quality, Athey found great deals on beautiful handbags. She stored them away until Christmas, she said. Then, an idea hit.

“One day, I pondered the idea of trying my hand at eBay as a way to make a little extra – in my house, we call that a ‘God Thing,’” she said. “Thus began my purse business.”

She launched Perfectly Purses and More, an eBay store that offers both polished and cleaned pre-owned handbags, vintage purses and new designer brands like DKNY, Relic, Liz Claiborne and Kenneth Cole – many with the original store tags still attached.

She inspects each bag to guard against purchasing counterfeits.

She uploads pictures weekly of her extended collection and also hosts purse parties several times a year, she said.

With such a vast supply of handbags, is it hard to decide which ones to keep?

“No,” she said with a chuckle. “It helps that I don’t really have a thing for purses. I’m able to sell great purses at amazing prices. I love to be able to pass on the savings to others.”

The eBay business has enabled her to successfully stretch her family’s budget while accomplishing what she set out to do in 2005 – nurture her daughters through a long and painful healing process and enjoy every minute with them that she can.

“I don’t take anything for granted,” she said.

For information on hosting a purse party or to check out Athey’s weekly eBay updates, visit http://stores.shop.ebay.com/perfectly-purses-and-more_W0QQ_armrsZ1.

To comment on this story view it online at www.blscourierherald. Reach Judy Halone at jhalone@courierherald.com or 360-802-8210.

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